Delphi and VCL – looking back

Marco in his blog brought very interesting point into discussion about future of VCL.
It is very good post (as usual) and I would recommend to read it when you have a minute.

But I want to look at VCL from the point of how big it affected Delphi.

What is Delphi and what is VCL? How close was their relationship over the years?
Is Delphi a VCL or is VCL a Delphi?

It is hard to determine what is primary and what is secondary. What was first chicken or egg? Sacramental question, isn’t it?

Let’s see… When Delphi 1 was introduced back in 1995 or even earlier when things just start to be put together in 1993, Borland Pascal and Borland Pascal for Windows were one of the major two products existed utilizing Pascal language.
So when Delphi 1 came along it first grabbed attention as being very reach environment to put visual UI in the simple click of the mouse. There was very small set of similar products on the market and it took years for Microsoft to bring Visual Studio on the same level.

What did make a Delphi being Delphi? Off course it was VCL model introduced. Not customizable much at first, but very easy and robust. So, if you weren’t C person and were using Pascal in any form, it did become your love at first sight.

I do not think there is a simple answer what is first and primary Delphi or VCL. Delphi is VCL and VCL is Delphi. You cannot separate them nor can you replace one of them. I like Chrome project, but this is not Delphi and never will be. It is extended Object Pascal. I like an approach though.
Same is for FP or any other similar projects.

If you do not have VCL then don’t try to say it is like Delphi.

Another thing to remember is that many things in current IDE is written in Delphi using VCL. Try to “hack” class model of the IDE – it all starts from TApplication.Mainform and you can draw a full tree of IDE infrastructure. So there is no Delphi IDE without VCL either even with all this .Net code imbedded.

Commenting on my prior post about VCL 2.0, I want to emphasize that VCL should not be considered to be removed to get multi-platform support, but should be enhanced to work on all platforms. That in the most part will make IDE multi-platform as well by nature. If first edition of VCL 2.0 will include all required components which are needed for IDE, then most likely it will cover major points in creating any UI software. Then it can be easily extended with all other stuff like DB and Web access.

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