Today is the last day of an amazing journey that began in 1989, when I was 14 years old. I was already programming since 11, but mainly using BASIC and some Z80 assembler, so when I got my hands in a Turbo C++ copy, I started to fall in love with Borland software development tools.
At that time, Borland sounded like a dream company to work for, but in 1994, I was fortunate enough to join a company that wanted to create a software development tool for COBOL. That company was owned by a man called Ventura Cartagena, from whom I learnt that you don’t have to comply with the established order and you can do a lot of things if you dream big and work hard. He wanted to create such development tool for COBOL, and after some prototypes using Visual C++ and Visual Basic, we got the news that Borland released something called Delphi.
It was 1995, and I still remember installing it using fourteen 3 1/2″ disks, crossing my fingers hoping all of them were in good shape, then, starting it, dropping a button on a form, writing a simple ShowMessage(‘hello world’) and hitting F9. It was amazing get a native .exe, be able to write code in Pascal, and create Windows apps without having to fight with the Windows API.
So we decided to clone it, but using COBOL as base language instead of Pascal, and that’s how Objective COBOL was born:
Develop such product allowed me to become a Delphi expert, as I had to push the product to the limits to get the job done.
It was 1998, and web development was the thing, but Delphi fall short for creating web pages, so I started to use PHP and, while I liked it a lot, coming from Delphi, I felt it was a step back in productivity.
In 2002, I moved to another job where I used PHP as main language, so I instantly realized that I needed a visual tool for PHP development. That’s why I started to work on it on my free time, and then VisualPHP Studio was born. It was more a proof of concept than a working product:
I rewrote it shortly after and I renamed it as QaDRAM Studio:
In 2004 I founded qadram software, and that allowed me to spend more time on this project. I decided it was required a full rewrite, but using the full Delphi concept, by creating pure PHP components, and that’s how qstudio was created:
Before releasing it, in October 2006, Michael Swindell (from Borland at that time) contacted me to get more information about the product, we got into an agreement, and in 2007 I flew to Scotts Valley, California, to work there for two months and finish the product. I was still able to enjoy the magnificent Borland campus, a wonderful workplace that I will never forget.
The first version was released after two months of hard work, with the essential collaboration of Diego Navarro, I could have never completed the product without him, as he was working very early in the morning in Spain, so we had some hours to sync up the project. And that’s how Delphi for PHP was born.
In 2010, three releases later, Embarcadero made me an offer to buy the IP for the product, and build a 25 people team in Spain, in order to work on Delphi for PHP and RAD Studio. Was a tough decision, because for me it was to get back to “employee mode”, but I’m happy I did the right thing, as I could have never imagined, when I was a 14 year old boy, that someday I was going to be part of that company.
The initial decision of a 25 people team it turned out to be a 107 people team, to work not only on RAD Studio, but on the rest of Embarcadero products.
In 2015, Embarcadero was acquired by another company. In those 5 years, we managed to double the number of releases of RAD Studio, added more platforms, added amazing features, fixed thousands of bugs and, specially, provided customers reasons to buy a product that now was evolving to meet their needs.
In 2016, the new management decided to change the Embarcadero strategy of having employees working on the product, and started to shutdown all the R&D centers, including the Spain office.
It has been an amazing ride, I have met a lot of people, I have travelled a lot, and, specially, I have learnt a lot of things that, I’m pretty sure will be useful for the future, but this part of my life is coming to an end.
I’m not sure about the future of Delphi, a product that provided me a lot of great moments building incredible stuff, but I would really hate stops evolving, so crossing my fingers for that not to happen.