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Dave Novo

Developer Express gave up on FMX

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I am not surprised in the least. WHY would they help Emba to root out 10 of thousands of bugs and 20-30 mis-employed patterns when their revenue is 6% VCL and 90% .NET*?

Look closely at DX VCL sources and you'll see that they effectively inherited from and re-wrote almost all of of VCL. "cxClasses, cxMulti, cxGDI, cxDirectX... and so on and so forth". Littered are those sources with such things.

Their "story" is to reimplement half of the VCL and half of the RTL in order to serve their users (developers), just read along the KB.

 

If i had been "burned" by similar Emba "projects" i would come to the same conclusion.

 

IMHO i think that this is a very good indication to Emba regarding their focus. Either go FMX 99,9% or do not.

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3 hours ago, Dany Marmur said:

If i had been "burned" by similar Emba "projects" i would come to the same conclusion.

Burned? DevExpress wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for Delphi.

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@Anders Melander, that is true! The scenario is not uncommon. It's a bit like myself, my father is dead but i'm still kickin'. This is about FMX only.

Of course i agree it is sad. The more Delphi users the better in my perspective.

 

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I've never much cared for FMX as most of my work is Windows-based. I guess if  you're working in mobile platforms, then FMX would make sense. But DevEx grids are so massive and there are so many tiny features that they just don't seem like something that would fit on a tiny screen unless you have tiny fingers and very sharp eyesight.

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FMX is no way to go. What is more, controls are ususally developed for more than just one latest IDE version. So, what is matter, whether in some reasonably old IDE version FMX works good and is actually popular.

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Unless you have only Win apps and things like Win utils, FMX or more correctly cross-platform is the only way to go. The landscape in the market is vastly and rapidly changing and more platforms appear every other day. Unless you are an established large company, you can not afford to miss the opportunity of jumping into new markets quickly and with limited resources.

 

We should not judge FMX's state and value based on what DevExpress says.

 

I think their decision is more of a business one rather than a technical. Their clients are VCL develops and to me it is not a surprise that not many of them have adopted FMX. In fact, it is surprising they concluded there is no market for them. To me it seems very short-sighted understanding of the market. I am sure if they insisted, in 2-3 years their evaluation would be different. And I am also pretty sure when they started with the VCL suite, they had to iron out bugs, etc. But back then they were not the company they are now.

 

Having said this, I have to mention here that I am not pleased with the way EMBA sees FMX either. I understand that most of Delphi clients are largely VLC developers. On the other hand, EMBA promotes Delphi as the one code base cross platform dev tool and yet they mostly focus on the introduction of new VLC products. This is a mess with their strategic priorities and every time I attend the webinars for new releases, I am disappointed to see they continue with the same approach.

 

For example, they introduced a new TNumberBox---why is this not a FMX and VLC compoent? or the Control list?:classic_dry:

 

 

       

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@John Kouraklis - I think EMB is caught between a rock and a hard place. By every indication I can see (# of questions on stack overflow for FMX vs VCL for example) VCL developers vastly outnumber FMX developers. But EMB is not going to grow promoting VCL. They need some niche that differentiates them from C# and all the other more popular windows platforms. So X-platform is a carrot that they wave to convince people to try Delphi. It is likely good for creating a phone app that has minimal UI requirements, but the desktop FMX components I have seen so far are underpowered compared to the VCL versions.

 

I would love to use FMX to make our desktop app properly x-platform, but after 10 years of FMX several of the key 3rd party vendors still dont have FMX versions, so its difficult to migrate.

 

The blog post also commented that they did not even get the interest level that they had hoped for. Which is not surprising. Not sure how many people started new FMX apps that required devEx grids in the 3 months that the devEx grid was out, and 3 months is certainly too short to migrate an existing VCL app that needed devEx grids. We were certainly aware it was there for example, but migration to FMX requires a lot of moving parts, and testing the grid was not yet on the radar.

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54 minutes ago, John Kouraklis said:

Unless you have only Win apps and things like Win utils, FMX or more correctly cross-platform is the only way to go.

Not only. How about CrossVCL? They support Linux and OSX, and plan to support Android and iOS in 2021.

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FMX might be good for mobile OSes, but not for heavy desktop applications. If one needs a Linux version of an existing VCL application with years of manpower already invested in its development, then going the FMX way means the total rewrite of the UI in the best case, or even some internal logic if the application does not have some ideal architecture (trust me, this is the most common case). Meanwhile, Lazarus clearly demonstrates that it is easy to make a crossplatform (Windows/Linux) desktop application with a single VCL-like codebase, and even convert an existing Delphi VCL project if it does not use complex third-party components. Alas, DevExpress suite is too complex and too Windows-rooted... I understand that Embarcadero decided to make its cross-platform framework from scratch thinking primarily about the mobile OSes. The Linux support arrived many version later, without any desktop support and only in the very expensive edition - as if they decided that Linux is something used on servers only. This is obviously not the case, but I think they have already lost the race to Lazarus. If only Embarcadero had decided to sublicense CrossVCL instead of FMXLinux... but they chose the wrong path.

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On 3/12/2021 at 6:59 PM, Alexander Elagin said:

I understand that Embarcadero decided to make its cross-platform framework from scratch thinking primarily about the mobile OSes

Which is a road to dead end because mobile and desktop UI is completely different anyway unless we're talking about one-button UIs

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I don't think when EMBA bought the very first version of FMX mobile OSs where that dominant as they are today.

 

I feel they were mostly trying to enter macOS world

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We did release an FMX data grid last year. While we ultimately chose to cease FMX development at this time, we remain open-minded to its possibilities. If our customers choose FMX over the VCL, then we will reallocate resources as needed. In the interim, we may make our FMX grid available to our community free of charge.

Source: Conversion between Embarcadero and DevExpress / German Translated version. (February 9, 2021)

Edited by KodeZwerg

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On 3/11/2021 at 9:35 AM, Dave Novo said:

There are a few other FMX grids available, but at least on the VCL side, none of them are as good as Dev Express grids.

For the "few other FMX grids available" - which one is the best (or better) in terms of performance ? 

 

I am looking at woll2woll FirePower X2,  TeeGrid for FMX, TMS, and what else?

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Two items that might help you get a focused answer:

  1. Collection based, virtual or using a TDataset?
  2. What performance (insert, sort, scroll, filter) are you concerns?

TMS has 2 for FMX, so make sure you evaluate the FNC one not the legacy FMX one. It is very clear on the page which one to look to.

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Are they giving up VCL too ? I'm sure I'm wrong but:

  1. Despite multiple requests, this is the first time that they haven't issued a VCL roadmap for 2022, while other technologies they support had a proper roadmap months ago: https://supportcenter.devexpress.com/ticket/details/t1072425/vcl-roadmap-2022
  2. Even though I've always received excellent support from them, my recent (quite simple) support request was treated rapidly, lightly and required far more exchanges that necessary. This might be this specific issue but I wasn't expecting that from them

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27 minutes ago, John R. said:

Even though I've always received excellent support from them, my recent (quite simple) support request was treated rapidly, lightly and required far more exchanges that necessary. This might be this specific issue but I wasn't expecting that from them

I don't know but it could be some of their support people are busy killing each other. :classic_sad:

 

I'm heavily invested in their products but I must say that I've had mixed experiences with them these last few years.

Their attitude towards enhancements gets a bit tiresome. Too often I see a reasonable request answered with "We don't plan to further enhance X in the foreseeable future", "We're just wrapping a standard Windows control" or "That's not how Microsoft does it". It seems many of their products are, if not in actual maintenance mode, then not really evolving anymore.

I'm sure it doesn't help that Julian Bucknall seems to have fallen out of love with Delphi.

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15 minutes ago, Stefan Glienke said:

On the german Delphipraxis, it was mentioned that DevExpress has its developers in Russia - so their operations might be affected by the current situation.

There's some interesting information in that thread.

From what I could understand through Google translate:

  • DevExpress is American owned.
  • Their developers are primarily Russian.
  • Their supporters are Russian & Ukrainian.

Is that correct?

 

BTW, I just found this one:

https://supportcenter.devexpress.com/ticket/details/t1081876/regular-updates-and-new-features

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2 hours ago, Stefan Glienke said:

On the german Delphipraxis, it was mentioned that DevExpress has its developers in Russia - so their operations might be affected by the current situation.

Interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for your input.

 

2 hours ago, Markus Kinzler said:

Btw. the latest RadStudio roadmap dates to November 2020 ... 

That's another problem. DevExpress consistently produced roadmaps for their VCL controls in the last few years, alongside their .Net product line.

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After a bit of googling I got the following information regarding DevExpress.

1. While the management and a group of developers are located in USA, almost all development and support team are in Russia (namely, in Tula, Kaluga and St.Peterburg). A rather old article in Russian briefly introduces the company: https://habr.com/ru/company/developersoft/blog/104047/

2. From this page we can find out the web address of the russian branch: https://www.developersoft.ru

Exploring this site (description, portfolio, history...) it is easy to see that this is really the other face of DevExpress, or at least the company which does all the work.

3. And now the most interesting statement from the mentioned page:

Quote

Компания приостанавливает на неопределенный срок найм и активную деятельность в прежнем объеме с 2 марта 2022 года.

That is, the Company is suspending all hiring and operations indefinitely as of March 2, 2022.

 

4. Conclusion. Given the current political and economical situation (first of all, blocking of virtually all payments between Russia and the western world, meaning that the developers cannot be paid) it means that either DevExpress management has to be able to relocate the development and support team somewhere outside the russian borders, or it has to hire an absolutely new team as a replacement, or cease any development until all this madness ends.

All the information is from the internet, I'd prefer not to trust it 100%, but unfortunately it seems too matching to be true.

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3 hours ago, Alexander Elagin said:

A rather old article in Russian briefly introduces the company: https://habr.com/ru/company/developersoft/blog/104047/

From the comment track on that page:

Quote

Id бага в личку киньте, плиз. Если в свежих версиях баг всё ещё живет, устроим сеанс однополой любви причастным постараемся поправить.

Oh, those Russians :classic_dry:

 

4 hours ago, Alexander Elagin said:

All the information is from the internet, I'd prefer not to trust it 100%, but unfortunately it seems too matching to be true.

I think you're right.

https://www.linkedin.com/company/developer-express-inc./people/

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A cop out from Julian Bucknall:

https://supportcenter.devexpress.com/ticket/details/t1072425/vcl-roadmap-2022#c488df20-f902-4a5e-862d-6e39d11da2f2

 

TL;DR:

  • Roadmaps are not promises and some of the items in them might not get implemented. Duh!
  • DevExpress wasted a lot of resource on a failed Grid for FMX because reasons.
  • DevExpress then used a lot of resource on a charting suite for VCL which they apparently have now decided was a mistake because they don't believe they can compete.
  • Instead they will now focus on polishing existing VCL controls based on their .NET counterparts.
  • Apparently there's no plans for this because they can't produce a roadmap for it. We'll know what we're getting when they deliver it.

Personally, at this point in time, more than a roadmap, I believe I need a statement from DevExpress on how they plan to resolve the problem that their owners and developers are Russian, given that Russia in all likelihood soon will be joining Iran and North Korea in the technological stone age. I will be recommending my clients that they not renew their subscriptions until this has been resolved.

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