If you haven’t seen Gabr’s latest post about Delphi language features, it’s worth looking at. I don’t agree with everything he posted, but he’s got some good points.
But he’s also got some annoying problems in the comments department. Some obnoxious troll is spamming up almost half of the (extremely large) set of comments under the post with a bunch of preaching about how Python is soooo much better than Delphi because it’s less verbose. His thesis seems to be that since you can write equivalent functionality with (as he claims) one-tenth the lines of code, that Python is ten times more productive than Delphi.
This is nonsense, of course, but it’s the most dangerous type of nonsense: the kind that not only looks true on the surface, but still looks true when you begin to dig a little, and doesn’t blow up in your face until you’re deep into the subject. Don’t get me wrong, I like Python, and it’s good at what it does, but “what it does” is not building serious software. There’s a reason why no one is writing big, complex programs in dynamically typed scripting languages. There are several, actually, but one of the big ones is that they’re no good at handling high levels of complexity.
And I can prove it. You see, I work for WideOrbit. We do control and scheduling software for broadcast media, and we’re the market leader (by a huge margin) in the USA, and not doing too badly internationally either. Our software runs ABC, NBC, Fox, DTV, and over 300 broadcasters with more than 3 letters. If you listen to the radio or watch TV in the United States, there’s a very good chance that the station is running on software I helped write. And we do it in Delphi.
WideOrbit has been around for about 13 years. I’m on the team that develops and maintains our flagship product, WOTraffic. It has less than 20 developers, and we’ve been growing. Therefore, if Python is 10 times more productive than Delphi, a handful of Python developers ought to be able to create a product that’s on par with WOTraffic and able to start taking our clients away in a year and change.
It’s a very lucrative business. Contracts for WOTraffic can cost a network millions or even tens of millions of dollars over a period of a few years, and we’ve got hundreds of those contracts. If someone could take less than two years to bring to market a product that’s as good as WOTraffic and costs significantly less to develop, they’d be able to undercut our prices by a very attractive margin and still end up with a nice fat bank account. It’s an excellent opportunity for some enterprising developer… right?
I’d like to see anyone try, though.
The main reason we’ve come out of nowhere in the last decade and eaten the lunch of all the entrenched competitors is because we’re using Delphi. We’re able to build out new features and respond to bug reports very quickly, and the clients love it. It’s simply far more productive at large-scale, non-trivial tasks than anything anyone else is using–and some of our competitors are using the much-vaunted “more modern languages”–and anyone who would like to demonstrate otherwise is free to try. See if you can win even one client away from us by Q3 2015.
On the other hand, if anyone’s interested in actually being successful in that area, WideOrbit is currently hiring Delphi developers. Drop me an email if you’re looking, and I’ll see if I can get you an interview.