Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lazarus has come to life

Most of my windows programming is still done in Delphi 5. This was released in 1999 which makes it positively ancient. (Even more scary is that some programs started life in Delphi 2).

Not long after Delphi 5, Borland lost the plot (or prehaps they already had when they changed their name to Inprise). Although Delphi 7 was available, when I looked up upgrading the .net experiment was under way and it seemed like the end of the road for Delphi. I had hoped for a cross platform modern version to appear but that never really happened. Eventually the crazy was transferred to Embarcadero (whatever that is) and I still don't understand what works with what.

While all that was going on, I kept an eye on another program, Free Pascal. Free Pascal always showed such promise but the IDE was reminiscent of programming c++ under DOS.

Finally it seems though, I might have found what I have been looking for.  Lazarus, the Delphi styled IDE for Free Pascal. Matured enough for a 1.0 release and soon to be 1.2. Native unicode support and cross platform (Linux, Windows, OS-X).

Although there are a few sharp corners (don't import a unit called strings!), I am planning on converting my projects over to Lazarus and hopefully bringing them back from the dead too. My initial testing has been positive.

With any luck my programs will be playing nice with Windows 7, running on Linux and being recompiled without having to pay any license fees. It has taken a long time but I think it has been worth it.

Now if I could just press for Android support too...

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