Integration solutions provider Borland has released the first in a planned series of upgrades to its Delphi Windows integrated development environment (IDE) aimed at migrating its huge user base to .Net.
Delphi 7 Studio, released today to ship later this month, provides a .Net previewing capability. Further point releases will precede the full-blown .Net IDE, codenamed Galileo, scheduled to ship in the first quarter of next year.
The software also implements standard universal modelling language and model-driven architecture as part of Borland's drive to embrace the whole development lifecycle.
"[Borland] is going out as the number one independent path to Microsoft .Net," said Jason Vokes, Borland's Europe, Middle East and Africa product manager for rapid application development (RAD) products.
"Our users can start moving towards .Net at minimum risk, minimum cost, and at their own pace. It's a safe path."
The company estimates that it has some two million Windows RAD users, half of them using Delphi.
To give users a Windows/Linux cross-development capability, Borland is bundling a free version of the newly released Kylix 3 Linux IDE.
The preview capability defaults output code to Win 32 format but a new compiler generates full common intermediate language .Net code, providing hints and syntax reporting. A point release will implement the .Net visual component library.
Other features will help pull users through, but Vokes said that the process could not be fully automated for applications dependent on Win 32 APIs.
Bola Rotibi, lead analyst at Ovum, commented: "This is a natural step. It has become a tougher market but Delphi developers have a compelling reason to stay within the environment they are used to."
Upgrade is being encouraged through special pricing until 30 September.
Delphi Professional users can upgrade for £249, for Delphi Enterprise with universal modelling language it is £1,099, and Enterprise upgrade to Architecture version with model-driven architecture costs £1,399. List prices are £669, £1,999 and £2,399 respectively.
Delphi 7 Studio extends web services support with a Universal Description, Discovery and Integration browser and failover capability, and adds a visual web application RAD tool.
DataSnap multi-tier application deployment, formerly called MIDAS and costing £199, is included for free.
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