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Finally PHP for Old Programmers

2007-03-05 16:08:24.359762+00 by ziffle 12 comments

I hvae never been that excited about coding from a command line. Starting with edline in DOS (well after Processor Technology cassete tape systems it did seem better!) to writing C code using an editor (!) it was a continous cycle of edit, compile, run ... Even with a great editor like Brief it was very time consuming.

Dan mentioned Delphi around 1991 but of course it wasn't Microsoft[Wiki] so I rejected it. Bad decision, and I finally discovered Delphi and spent many years building code visually, dropping components onto forms, connecting databases using properties all RAD Visually. A big difference. I used to demonstrate Delphi by building a complete simple application for Windows using only one hand on a mouse. Big difference from the old days.

But Borland was managed poorly, and they spent years sucking the profits from Delphi for various stupid ideas. Their best people all left and went to MS and built C# and so forth.

Over the years it pained me to see such a great product being destroyed. My heart was with Delphi and the guys who believed in it and worked on it. It was a great product (except for more recent versions). I went to two Borland confrences and listened to the management lie to us.

I discovered Php was just about the C language hidden inside some html, but its still a learning curve for us non-genius programmer types. I know about this as I have had several genius types work with me and its awesome to watch.

After Borland had run all the profits and future out of Delphi they tried to sell it but did not get what they wanted, and in my opinion, facing a potential wholesale exit from Borland of all their talent[Wiki] they aquiesced and created a subsidiary called CodeGear to develope and market their IDE's and such including Delphi.

The new company has begun to 'right the ship' as they say, and fixing things that should have been fixed long ago, adding new features and getting the product current. It could be seen as a fool's errand but piece by piece, step by step they are doing the right thing and staying in communication with their world wide customer base, which was not always the case.

But the best thihng for me is that they are about to come out with 'Delphi for Php'. From the advertising and the buzz this is going to be hot. There are Php Ide's but none like this. A Visual RAD Php product. Just like Delphi! create a new app, drop some components on a form, click run and bam - an application! Drag a database to a form, connect some fields to visual components, and bam - databse app.

I for the first time in many years will buy a product from Borland, er ... CodeGear and expect it make me a lot of money.

The purists will resist but I have found my nirvana I hope.


Delphi For Php

Just right for us old programmers not quite ready for the old programmers home[Wiki].


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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-05 17:18:20.42256+00 by: ebradway

My issue with PHP has been that it was a step backwards in that there really isn't a good way to debug the code. You write it, you send it to the server, you cross your fingers and hope you can figure out what's wrong. The real problem is the distributed model of web-server/browser-client was designed without a model of "debugging on the server-side". At least in the mainframe days, everything happened on the "server" and you'd run your debugger there.

Microsoft kind of solved this problem with Visual Studio for ASP and C#. They did it by running IIS and SQL server on your development machine so you can interact with the script running on the server.

What I really, really wish the PHP folks would do is come up with an Apache module that spoke to an remote interactive debugger that would let you step through your PHP code visually. Maybe it exists already but I sure haven't seen it. Everyone I know writes PHP in a text editor and sends it off to the server blindly.

Borland's product is definitely an improvement but my biggest point of concern is that the environment is packaged around

"Database components are also available for accessing databases, tables, queries, and stored procedures, as well as data grids and navigation."

and similar UI objects. I don't like any kind of database object insulating me from the backend database connection. Usually that insulation comes with a price of overly aggressive locking which ultimately scales about as well as a sand castle.

In my own worlds, I'm trying to do a "Web 2.0" end-run around development. Instead of development my own sites from the ground up, I'm focusing efforts on choosing a good CMS and then investing time in content. But I'm not a programmer or even a software developer anymore...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-05 17:41:22.356359+00 by: ziffle

From their FAQ: "The integrated debugger helps find and fix errors, view breakpoints, and local and global variables."

Delphi has great debugging = I am assuming we will be able to set break points etc and see the stack etc. inthis product as well.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-05 18:30:59.820563+00 by: jeff

Just out of curiosity, how easy would it be for someone with a Java background to learn Delphi? What are the biggest differences between the latest CodeGear Delphi release, and say a very old Borland (4.5) Delphi release?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-05 21:28:23.849191+00 by: meuon [edit history]

It'll be interesting to see the resulting code.... Wanna race?

Watching the demo's: it seems it's more a PHP/JavaScript application generator, heavy on the JavaScript Includes.. the demo's will have to be better, the IDE available in Linux, and using 'Interbase' as a demo database on a C: drive was an interesting demo choice. I wish them luck,

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-05 22:30:23.151294+00 by: ziffle


the Delphi for php is just an IDE but emits php code. Current Delphi for Object Pascal is the same to program with as the old ones IMO. They called it Delphi for php but its a misnomer as it has the ease of use of the orginal Deplhi (drag and drop etc.) but has nothing to do with Object Pascal, Except they have built a VCL out of php code which will be open source BTW.

meuon, A race would be interesting. The IDe will run only under Windows but will emit php code to run on the operating ssytem of your choice. They have not released it yet - Interbase is their baby but mysql would be more appropriate. But its simply a drop down to select what database to use. You can drag a databse component to a form and then hook it up to a (for example) grid which is instantly populated with live data so you can adjust the look to suit yourself. Of course I do not expect meuon to ever give up notepad or vi :)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-06 06:15:08.478941+00 by: Shawn

I feel a great disturbance in the Force...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-06 12:41:38.568206+00 by: meuon

A race would be interesting, I see the usefulness of the gui-forms based design world, especially as I abhor the tedium of form design, but there are so many other things I use PHP for, I wonder how you would do them in such an environment. I assume you can also just 'write code'. A lot of my code generates html on the fly, with the interface changing dynamically via factors like security levels and options available. And: 'notepad' runs on Windows. 'vi' is useful, but I'm still using 'joe', a little more advanced than 'vi' in my eyes, but still fairly crude. Note to Dan: more recent versions of Joe do a good job of UTF-8 and editing strange character sets. First time I saw Kanji in an X-Term console window via Joe was pretty freaky.

How well does the Delphi (for PHP) world handle UTF-8 and various character sets?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-06 15:54:45.116145+00 by: ziffle

UTF-8 dunno - but if English was good enough for Jesus its good enough for me.... :)

At this point I feel like I am an evangelist for Delphi -- but I have found it to be flexible and extendable. There are thousands of free components for Delphi (Object Pascal) that you can use. For various character sets I found http://www.zeitungsjunge.de/de.../converters/#supported_encodings which handles around 130 different types.

But I don't know about the php product but based upon the past I would expect to see thousands of components available, most for free. Its a rabid community who just love the extendable RAD of Delphi stuff.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-09 12:19:13.742914+00 by: jeff

Ziffle--this is probably not the correct way to inquire (I don't have your e-mail address), but would you be interested in some remote part-time Delphi programming work? The company that I work for is going to be switching to Java later this year, but in the meantime there is some functionality which needs to be added to a couple of our products, both largely written in Delphi.


#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-09 14:15:09.364747+00 by: ziffle

I am following up...

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-09 15:20:48.445899+00 by: jeff

Ziffle--here is my e-mail address: cameron12x@yahoo.com


#Comment Re: made: 2007-04-23 14:46:01.647243+00 by: ziffle

Follow - up Deplhi for php is not a good product at this time. Released too early.