Although the last version of this product I acquired was Delphi 5 Enterprise, I started using Delphi when the second version was released during 1996. It has played such a pivotal role in my computing life and opened the door to so many new things, that it's just screaming for a review. Be warned however, I intend to review the standard edition in order to summarise the usefulness of the product as opposed to specific features (of which there are so many); but then, the other reviews cover that side of things. I also intend to write a little about the Sams "Teach Yourself" book that comes with all versions of Delphi Standard when acquired from Borland UK. When choosing a first computing language to study, Object Pascal (the language at the core of Delphi) is a good choice for numerious reasons. As an object oriented programming (OOP) language, it offers huge advantages over the competition because its principles and structure are invaluable; certainly if you later wish to learn other OOP languages such as Java, C++, etc., and even scripting languages like PHP. Basic IDE's don't offer the same insight at all and can't perform many low-level tasks which Object Pascal and C++ are capable of. For example, without the aid of OLE controls written by C++ (or Delphi) programmers, Visual Basic can't go as deep as programming BIOS registers. C++ can perform such a trivial task from within the confines of it's own structure, Object Pascal can utilise asm blocks (yes assembly language) where it's own confines fall short. So, if you narrow yourself down to a choice between Delphi and Visual Basic, consider this: do you ultimately want to end up with low-level powerful programming potential (with Delphi)? Or do you intend to buy OLE controls when you find that VB isn't capable of doing certain things without help from third parties? It is also worth noting that Delphi has a sister IDE available for Linux (Kylix)
, allowing programmers to write cross-platform applications in C++ and/or Object Pascal. Thereby raising another point in Delphi's favour: you will not be restricted to a single platform (Windows) - something which expands the marketing potential of your applications. The accompanying literature, Teach Yourself Delphi 5 by Sams Press, is aimed at the absolute beginner. The brilliance of the authors in teaching the basic (no pun intended) concepts should be applauded: functions, procedures and parameter settings are explained in such detail, but with such brevity, that a novice will never abandon the book in confusion or dismay; far from it, it's a joy to read and learn. The chapter on file-management and input/output even discusses binary and bitmasks, something seasoned programmers would perhaps expect beginners to understand before starting to learn a computing language; but it's really no requisite! This book provides an adequate education on binary concepts relevant to all languages, and succeeds in teaching a subject that might have confused you at school. It even provides truth tables, something you'll probably look back on throughout your future programming life if your maths/binary skills are particularly weak. Yes! That's right! You can be weak in this area and still successfully write good applications with Delphi. You don't need to be a professor of numbers to get your computer doing what you want. Although you're unlikely to find a brand new copy of Delphi 5 (newer versions are in stores now), the standard edition of any version is a good place to start programming. Older editions (like Delphi 5) can be acquired in auctions but even if you find yourself with a Professional or Enterprise edition - which doesn't come with the Sams book that accompanies the Standard edition - you can still pick up a copy from Amazon.
I recently used Borland 5 and I found that they layout is pretty good compared to other compilers. I found the menu'ing system easy to use. Some down points to this compiler is that it doesn't compile at all when you use sockets, which i found it did compile in VC++ 6. Another down point about borland 5 is it doesn't look very modern comapred to other compilers. I think it looks more like the Visual Basic 4 compiler than a compiler made in modern times.
You might not know this but, Borland Delphi 5 Enterprise, Professional and Standard version are all written with the previous version of Delphi another world Delphi 4. From this it shows that Borland or Inprise has great pride in thir product and it is also a very powerful tool. If you found any of the Microsoft Visual programming tools is easy to use then you will find this is even easier to use. There are people out their in the programming world trying to clone this RAD tool. Some are very sucessful and some not as sucessful. There are also alot of open source delphi project around the net for users to use. This allows the User experience how powerful Delphi is.