C# Builder

April 24th, 2003 Comments Off on C# Builder

In the past days, Borland has released more information about its Sidewinder project, a new C# development tool for the .NET platform. The tool, whose official name is C# Builder, is the first visible part of a future bundle of tools intended to address all stages of application development, including design, programming, testing, deployment and management.

Curious developer can check the company’s community site, which is now featuring a sneak preview of the tool. However, the preview, which is basically a demonstration of the development environment, seems to be geared to point-haired bosses, as it fails to show anything new or of interest to developers. The IDDE is rather similar to those of Delphi and Visual Studio for .NET, and it still remains to be seen the features that will make C# Builder a valid competitor for those tools, especially considering that Delphi’s next version, code-named Octane and scheduled for release at the end of the year, will also support .NET development with a new version of its native language.

I’m a Borland fan since I started using its development tools, back in Turbo Pascal 5.5 days, but I’m disappointed with the last versions of its tools. Delphi, for example, has not seen any language enhancements in its past two versions, and improvements are limited to the small changes in the IDDE or to the addition of new tools to its bundles (like Bold in Delphi 7). However, in almost all instances, those new tools are restricted to the high-end versions of the tool, which are not accessible to independent developers, as they lack the money to buy those versions. (In Brazil, for example, the Enterprise version costs 10 thousand reais, which is equivalent to six-months’ worth of salary of a relatively well-paid developer.) Moreover, Borland is removing some functionality in lesser versions of the tool, signaling it’s only interested in bigger customers now. I own Delphi 6 Professional, but I have no intention of upgrading it since the equivalent version 7 package offers me less than what I have now.

Even so, I hope Borland can succeed, and that its new tools and new versions of old tools are really innovative in order to level the playing field and compete with Microsoft’s similar offerings, even if they are geared only to big companies. It will be interesting to see what happens in the development market in the coming months.

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