Here in Australia we like our public health campaigns graphic and blunt. This is what our cigarette packaging looks like and we have a long running TV campaign based around the slogan of “if you drink then drive you’re a bloody idiot“.
I have a new public health warning to add to the list, this one designed to help preserve the future sanity of Delphi programmers.
After today, if you buy Delphi without also buying maintenance you’re a bloody idiot*.
So what happened today to prompt this warning?
Statements today from an Embarcadero representative on a public mailing list indicated that the soon to be released update providing support for iOS7 will be for XE5 only, XE4 users will not receive it. Apparently this is due to it building upon changes introduced in XE5.
I don’t know whether this means XE4 can’t be used to build iOS7 applications or if apps built with XE4 will just appear a bit like a fish out of water when run on iOS7. We’ll find out soon enough though I’m sure.
Either way if you purchased XE4 to do iOS development and you don’t have a maintenance contract or a free upgrade to XE5 you have a good reason to feel shortchanged and I’d encourage you to let Embarcadero know it.
After today though if you buy Delphi without maintenance and find yourself in a similar situation I’m sorry but I won’t have much sympathy for you. Here’s why.
At the recent XE5 preview event in Sydney the question was asked if the 6 month release cycle was here to stay. Malcolm Groves with David I in attendence told us that more likely than not, yes the 6 month release cycle would continue and that was how they would keep current with the many different releases of Windows, OSX, iOS and Android. Today’s iOS7 support news confirms this, XE4 released only 6 months ago has been effectively retired.
Delphi as far as I’m concerned is now a subscription only product. Other modes of purchase no longer make sense.
Personally I’m fine with that. I’ve been on maintenance for longer than I can remember and I’ve found it to be overall a good deal. It’s also the model used by most of the third party vendors whose products I use. Adobe’s move to subscription only model for their development tools has also been well publicised although their model requires you to keep paying or you lose complete access to the products which I would never want to see for Delphi.
What I’m less enthused about is that Embarcadero is still today selling Delphi licenses without including mandatory maintenance subscriptions as part of the deal. Developers who today buy XE5 without maintenance will in 6 months time most likely find themselves with a similar issue to this upcoming XE4/iOS7 situation. And that cycle will continue, with the shine taken off every new release by a flood of complaints from upgraders who aren’t ready to pay for another upgrade just 6 months later.
If this is really our new reality Embarcadero needs to start factoring in mandatory 12 month maintenance subscriptions to the price of all Delphi upgrades, along with some generous introductory discounts and amnesties to ease the financial impost of starting a maintenance subscription. I’d also hope that having all their customers move onto maintenance would allow Embarcadero to introduce some across the board price drops which will benefit both existing users and make Delphi more competitive when it comes to attracting new developers.
* I won’t really think you’re a bloody idiot, just not all that well informed.