Borland Delphi Version 1.0 was introduced on Valentine's Day 1995. At the time the main development environments for Microsoft Windows (Windows for Workgroups 3.11 being the dominant strain) were Microsoft Visual Basic and Microsoft C++, which had recently become Microsoft Visual C++, with Powerbuilder and other C++ compilers bringing up the rear.

Delphi aimed between the two MS systems – and tried to couple the ease of use of Visual basic’s RAD environment with the power of a real compiled Object Oriented language. The code name was VBK – Visual Basic killer.

In my opinion, it largely succeeded. Not in killing VB, but in superseding it.

The Chief architect of the first 3 versions of Delphi was Anders Hejlsberg, who was also the main author of previous versions of Borland Turbo Pascal. After that, he was head-hunted by Microsoft, where his first assignment was a set of classes for Java called the WFC (windows foundation classes), which bear an remarkable resemblance to Delphi’s VCL. His next project was the C# language, which borrows mostly from Java, but uses several Delphi-style ideas such as explicit property definitions and similar-looking exception handling.

Delphi versions

Borland Pascal v7.0 (for DOS, 16-bit Windows and Protected Mode) was released in 1992. it was the last version of Turbo pascal to be named as such. Turbo pascal 8 was called Delphi.

Previews of Delphi were seen in 1994: “From the peek at the "VB Killer", Delphi-1, at the June 4th .. 8th, 1994, Orlando, FL, BDC, I can recall jealousy in C sessions and joy in the Pascal sessions.”

Delphi 1 targeted 16-bit windows. It produced 16-bit exe’s. “D1 was phenomenal, a classic example of a truly superb first release” I can testify that after the byzantine complexities of MFC 1.0 and the dull inantiy of VB 3 it was a breath of fresh air. It was really very good as 16-bit Windows programming tools went, but there is still all the attendant pain of programming Win16 without good multitasking or memory protection.

The limitations were strings only up to 255 characters long, no data or code segment larger than 64Kb and no real multitasking, and no multithreading at all. Of course, most of this was not Delphi's fault.

Delphi 1 came out in Valentines’ day, 14 Feb 1995, or others say “release to retail in March 1995”

Delphi 2 was 32bit and thus made executables for Win32, not Win16. This was good, as Windows 95 was out. Strings could be up to 2Gb long. COM in D2 was “painful but possible”
Delphi 2 was released 1996.

Delphi 3 was regarded as one of the best releases of Delphi ever. It was very stable. It introduced much better COM support including multiple inheritance for interfaces, Variants, database independent TDataset (TClientDatase), and components in packages.
Delphi 3 came out in 1997

Delphi 4 Was the first release without Anders Hejlsberg at the helm (though apparently he did not play a large role in D3 either). It introduced many COM features and Dynamic arrays, and asserts
Delphi 4 was released 1998 but was quite buggy as it was released before it’s time, and many programmers stayed with Delphi 3 until…

Delphi 5 was another good release. It introduced frames and method overloading. It arrived in summer of 1999

Kylix version 1 for x86 linux was released early in 2001, and an open edition of Kylix, licenced for creating GPL'd applications, was made available for download in late July 2001.

Delphi 6 was released in 2001, and introduced many web and XML tools, as well as Kylix-compatible QT widgets. The compiler and language are completely compatible with Kylix.

There were no major changes to the language, but number of classes and utility functions in the VCL have grown a lot. You could interpret this as a shift in emphasis to the VCL library due to the maturity of the Object-Pascal language, or you could interpret it as a recognition of the importance of a extensive library in the success of other languages such as Java and Perl.

Delphi 7 in 2002 was not a major change.

Delphi 8 in 2003 as the arrival of Dephi.NET, but did not tarkert anything but .NET, and so was not actually an upgrade from Delphi 7 for most.

Delphi 2005 arrived in November 2004, and integrated the functionality of Delphi 7 and Delphi 8, and C#. One IDE allows program to be written in Delphi for Win32, Delphi for .NET, and C# for .NET.


Much thanks to the Borlanders and other delphiends in the borland.public.delphi.non-technical newsgroup for the earlier parts of this timeline.

Please do /msg me if you if any additions (or more accurate dates) for this writeup.

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