Running Cheetah

Mail from Dave Haxton to the Lazarus mailinglist, MARCH 7 2010



I've not posted here before, but I've been reading this list for about six months, and I've gotta weigh in on this one.


By way of introduction, I'm the Sr. Software Engineer/Team Lead for a major consumer electronics company in the US. We've been using C Builder for several years as our PC compiler of choice. It's allowed us to develop robust applications in very short time spans with very limited resources.


However, it is (of course) Windows only. Last June the word came down that the market was changing, something we all knew, and that Mac's were gaining a significant enough share of the consumer market to warrant our support. I was charged with finding development tools that would allow us to move our existing programs to the Mac in the quickest and most reliable fashion.


My initial impulse was Java, but there were lots of issues, the biggest one being a native look and feel on Windows. Most of our PC products involve communication over USB, and that gets problematic with Java as well - we really need native code compilation. Deployment was also an issue. Ditto for Python, and the other platforms we looked at. Then I stumbled across Lazarus/FPC.


Native compilation - check. Native look and feel - check. Similar object structure to our existing code base - check. After about a month of having the team play around with the tool, we decided to go forward. Our entire PC software suite ( ~60 applications) is being moved to Lazarus, with the first release scheduled for mid May, on a new (for us) device category. The rest will be rolled out as updates warrant - all new development is being done in Lazarus.


A colleague moved a rather complex software update tool from C Builder to Lazarus in 4 days - and we now have a Mac version as well. That, my friends, is nothing short of incredible.


Following this "downward spiral" discussion has led me to believe that perhaps the Lazarus community doesn't really understand what it's managed to do here. AFAIK Lazarus is the ONLY tool in it's class that allows this kind of development - one code base, multiple targets, all native look and feel, all native code. That's just mind boggling.


My boss was initially very skeptical - "Pascal - that old fuddy-duddy language from the 80's?" He's a believer now, and happily relearning Pascal so he can throw in the odd module himself now and again. We're even looking as Lazarus for some of our device code (as some of our newer devices are Linux driven). There's a better than even chance that we'll officially get in touch with the developers at some point in the near future and offer resources to help move the project ahead. We were especially intrigued by the discussion of a multi-platform setup tool - right now we use Inno Setup on Windows and the awful Package Manager thing on Macs...


In summary, Lazarus is a fantastic product. It's usable TODAY for commercial development. We've found it (the IDE) more stable on Windows than it's commercial counterparts. RAD Studio will generally lock at least one of our development machines once a day - so far we've had only one issue with Lazarus, and that was on a Mac (and I reported the bug to Mantis, and it was fixed in three days - try that with you-know-who ....). These discussions are great, but please don't lose sight of what you've already got - a world class compiler and development tool that's being used right now to solve serious real world problems.



Dave Haxton

Sr. Software Engineer


Java-bytecode target  added to the Free Pascal compiler.

August 20, 2011

A new target has been added to Free Pascal compiler. It is now possible to compile applications to Java bytecode. This means that these Free Pascal applications can run in a Java Virtual Machine (JVM), so that it can run on any platform that has Java support.

Dutch Pascal conference 2011.

June 12, 2011

After the success from last year, the Dutch Pascal Users Group organizes the second Dutch Pascal Conference on June 18th. Last year it was mainly focused on Lazarus, this year there will also be some topics about Delphi.