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Embarcadero’s cross-platform XE8 RAD Studio targets iOS 8, IoT

Delphi lives, but full Windows 10 support looks doubtful

No Metro here

John Thomas, Embarcadero’s director of development products, told me that “we don’t tend to support platforms in beta. We wait for them to be generally available”. However, the signs are that while RAD Studio will support desktop Windows 10 development, support for universal apps is not a priority.

“The WinRT runtime had limitations with regard to how we could support it. Generally speaking, we didn’t need to. I don’t think that is going to change in the early stages of Windows 10," Thomas said.

This is not because of any lack of third-party support from Microsoft, though there are “technical challenges” to supporting WinRT applications. “It’s an investment, and we have to make sure that the market is there,” he said.

It is a testament to the productivity of Delphi and C++ Builder – and the loyalty of their users – that both tools are still around, reinvigorated by cross-platform support. Are they a good choice for new developers? They are worth a look for sure, though whereas Delphi was very much the smart choice for Windows back in the 1990s, the current product is a less obvious selection.

There is competition from Xamarin, which targets the same platforms but with the C# language and true native controls throughout, and a host of other options for cross-platform mobile development.

That said, RAD Studio still has a great two-way form designer – meaning instant switch between visual or code views – and for those with existing Object Pascal code or libraries the ability to post to Mac, iOS and Android is an advantage.

The RAD Studio XE8 IDE

The RAD Studio XE8 IDE

I ran up the RAD Studio XE8 IDE and one obvious benefit is the speed and responsiveness of the IDE compared to Visual Studio.

However, RAD Studio XE8 has become somewhat expensive. It comes in four editions: Professional at $1,954, Enterprise at $3,244, Ultimate at $4,325 and Architect at $4,866.

Upgrade pricing is available, but with the 6-monthly upgrade cycle spending extra on a subscription probably makes sense. You can also save by buying only Delphi or C++ Builder, rather than the entire suite. ®

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