Moving to .NET platform, A difficult choice?

Wed, 25 Jul 2007

I am working on a product which is developed using Delphi for Win32. Originally Delphi 7 was used and we then moved to Delphi 9 (Delphi 2005) and are now planning to move to Delphi 10 (Delphi 2006). I have to admit that despite the originally reluctance in accepting the Delphi as the long term development technology, I have now grown to simply love it. You know what I like about Delphi most? The fact that it solves the real world problems!
You know there is lot of technology talk always going on. Every second day you hear the announcement of a new language, new database technology, new framework which would just magically solve all your problems. But if you have worked even for few months in software industry (as I have), you will realize there is no such thing which can solve all our problems magically. Language, framework and components just assists you do your job and *nothing* can replace a good programmer. Still Delphi provides the simple to understand and simple to use framework which suits most developers. This is because real developers like to find the “most appropriate way” to solve a problem in given time and resources and not essentially the “best way”. Lengthy and exhaustive time, performance, use analysis is luxury of few developers, who program in a garage and for fun.

Everything was working fine until my organization had to think “What to do about .NET platform? Do we need to go for it?”

After thinking for sometime, I concluded couple of points:

  1. Developers (who actually get to work on product) like to work on a technology which is popular in market. Perhaps it makes them feel safer that it will not be too difficult to find another job, just in case. If you ask “Why you like to work on .NET?” it would be difficult for them to answer. Perhaps the only answer is “because every second person seems to talk about .NET”.
  2. It doesn’t matter to the organization whether its developers are using .NET or Java or Delphi; it wants to deliver the right solutions to customer at right time.

During my initial couple of months in software development, I used to find so many problems with existing code/structure/design etc. Even a stupidly named variable would drive me nuts. It’s not that now I don’t care about how variable are named but you just can’t make everyone to name variables like you. You have to adjust somewhat somewhere. I always liked to do things the perfect way and I still do, but now I also think “what is more important? Renaming the variable to my taste in 20 odd units or shipping the product to customer next week?” Don’t take me wrong, I am a real nasty person in this regard; I would still rename the variable in 20 odd units but only in next planned release!

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2 Responses to “Moving to .NET platform, A difficult choice?”

  1. Guru Says:

    This is good honest feedback from a developer. I do not necessarily agree to point 2, but then in the overall theme, it makes sense. I would highly recommend not to lose that ‘perfectionist’ approach… Keep it up.

  2. Kangkan Says:

    I wont like to create a debate for Delphi versus .NET here. Both are good and strong platforms. Now even Delphi is supported in dot NET.

    Probably what I shall like to put light on is the lack in our organisations in propagating knowledge. Selecting a particular platform (say dot NET) for the organisation is not by accident or personal choice of some body at the top. This is always a group effort and accountability is always there. But probably the rationale for choosing a particular platform does not flow downward most of the time. This makes the points confusing.

    I won’t deny developers want to keep them on the cutting edge of technology as far as possible. So we should also not deny the wish of the organisation to keep itself at the cutting edge.

    What I feel is that we need to propagate the rationales down the line for making people aware of the same.

    The other point is people centric coding pattern. For the sake of organisational benefit, we should STOP IT ASAP. We should insist on organisation wide coding guidelines and checklist along with an effective review process. Or we should look for some automated tool to do the same. For dot NET we can think of FxCop. So there is no need of becoming NASTY for the sake of personal preferences. Let the organisational preference prevail.


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