Developer day in Marlow

I have just returned from Marlow, a quaint little village on the river Thames to the west of London. Like Edinburgh, I can’t afford to buy a property there.

Marlow isn’t a developer Mecca, so why was I there?

Well, Delphi’s chief architect and one of Borland’s Chief Scientists, Danny Thorpe came over to talk about Delphi 7 and 8. Danny gave us a great overview of the people processes behind Delphi 8’s language implementation and how he/they are trying to work out what’s best to do for Win32 Delphi: we were entertained when Danny related a story about typeless var parameters and discussions with Anders Hejlsberg. Anders asked Danny: “what are you doing going there?” to which Danny replied “we didn’t start this thing”! For non-Delphi readers, Anders designed/built Delphi; he then moved to Microsoft where he became the Lead Architect for C#. Obviously Danny and Anders still talk to each other!

Brian Long also gave us an introduction to ASP.NET using Delphi 8. Brian’s session concentrated on building a simple authenticated web-site with two pages. This was sufficient to demonstrate how ASP.NET’s “roundtripping” to the server works and how HTML pages can maintain their state (e.g. the contents of listboxes) using ASP.NET’s notion of “viewstate”: a simple hidden <input > element that stores information about the page. This raised an interesting question about security: viewstate is obscured but not secured. Brian now works for falafelsoft – these guys don’t have blogs, they have flogs. It was this idea that made me think about calling my blog a slog. I still might.

Bryan Crotaz arrived traditionally late, unflustered despite an installation problem at the BBC (how difficult are TVs getting to install? I dunno). Bryan talked about ModelMaker and Bold in a Win32 (Delphi 7) environment. Model Driven Architecture (MDA), that was the focus of the session. As usual Bryan made it look very easy, however I suspect my mileage will vary when I sit down to go through it.

Borland’s Jason Vokes (blogless at the time of writing), gave us a whistle-stop tour of “what’s in the box” for the various Delphi 8 editions. This wasn’t really what I was expecting – having been privy to some of the “ideas” bouncing around the Developers Group, I took this to mean “provide more than just an explanation of what was on the CDs” (sorry Jason, honesty gets the better of me!) I was expecting/hoping for an overview of each product and the chance to see the product in action. As an aside, the June issue of The Delphi Magazine will be publishing my review of ProDelphi, which you’ll find on the Companion CD!

Overall it was a good day, good food and good people…if I had a digital camera I’d show you the free mug we all got. But, I don’t, so I can’t!

It was particularly good to catch up with the Team DCon, folks I expect to see once a year. However because there is no DCon 2004, :-(, I’ll have to make do with this trip, so far.

Sadly, Team DCon is one member short: Jon Jenkinson, 1963-2004.

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