Yeehah! Turbo returns! I got a call from Borland's David Intersimone late last week, and we spoke for quite awhile, certainly at more length than we have in ten or twelve years. The big news is that Borland is introducing a line of new, single-language, single-platform IDE/compiler packages under the Turbo brand:
- Turbo Delphi for Win32
- Turbo Delphi for .NET
- Turbo C++
- Turbo C#
Each package will list for under $500, with student pricing under $100.
This would be very cool all by itself, but the wilder part of the announcement is that each of the four products will also be available as a free download, under the Turbo Explorer moniker. The Explorer editions are the full product with one limitation: The component palette is fixed, and additional components cannot be installed.
Nonetheless, the palette supplied with the Turbo Explorer editions contains over 200 components, including WebSnap, the Indy Internet components, and virtually all the others that Delphi developers are used to seeing. That's a helluva deal, heh—especially for people who program for fun, or who write relatively simple utilities to massage data or support their work in other ways.
Borland has set up a Web site specifically for the Explorer editions, at www.turboexplorer.com. Both the Professional Editions and the Explorer Editions will be available before the end of Q3 of this year. They're working with schools to get the Turbo languages onto the curriculum (especially Turbo C#) and will be encouraging publishers to bring out new books focusing on the Turbo products. (Am I working on one? Can't tell you yet...but wouldn't it be wild to have The Turbo Delphi Explorer Explorer?)
I also asked David about the spinoff of the developer tools products into a new company distinct from Borland. The process is moving along, and we should know more by early fall. Everybody involved is chomping at the bit, since it's by now pretty clear that Delphi, C++, and C# are only the first Turbo languages, and will not be the last. David didn't get real specific, but he asked me what languages I would want to see added to the Turbo lineup. My first choice would be PHP, and my second...assembly, both Win32 and .NET. We'll see what they do.
If you asked me what this was going to do to Borland, or programming generally, my first reaction would simply be: It's gonna make programming fun again, in a way it hasn't been in what seems like a very long time. Back in the mid-1980s, anybody who had $50 could have Turbo Pascal, and we all had a marvelous time, even without the Internet. People who wouldn't have taken a shot at programming if the cost of entry were $400 were tinkering up interesting little things, having fun, and learning a lot. Twenty years later, dare we hope that we can do it again?I do. Put Delphi in the hands of tends of thousands of bright kids (even middle aged ones) and magic will happen. This time, the wand is free. (I may finally learn C#!)