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Embarcadero Delphi and C++Builder Starter Editions

Data and development tools maker Embarcadero Technologies has released updated versions of its C++Builder and Delphi development environments tailored for individual developers, students and very small businesses. The Starter editions of C++Builder XE and Delphi XE are priced significantly lower than the Professional edition of the tools, and offer a streamlined development interface and whittled down feature set.

Delphi is a rapid application development (RAD) environment based on the Object Pascal programming language, while C++Builder targets native C and C++ developers. Both Starter edition products include a streamlined IDE, code editor, compiler and integrated debugger. The tools also feature numerous UI components, the visual component library (VCL) Form Designer for drag-and-drop application development, and connectivity components for Embarcadero's InterBase embedded database.

C++Builder XE Starter Edition and Delphi XE Starter Edition both cost $199 per individual license, with upgrade licensing available for $149. By contrast, the Professional editions of C++Builder XE and Delphi XE cost $899 new and $499 for an upgrade.

Developers may use Delphi and C++ Builder Starter editions for application development as long as annual revenues are less than $1,000. Once total revenue reaches $1,000 or the development team expands to more than five developers, users must move up to the Professional edition and its unrestricted commercial license.

No surprise, the Starter editions of both Delphi and C++Builder lack numerous features found in the Professional (and the higher Enterprise and Architect) editions of the products. For instance, both products lack many of the features around refactoring, UML modeling and data tooling found in the Professional editions of Delphi and C++Builder.

David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations and chief evangelist for Embarcadero Technologies, said the Starter editions appeal to individuals and organizations looking for a cost-effective way to get a start in software development. The products feature what Intersimone called "indie style" licensing, which allows distribution of software for free or limited for profit use.

"The license is designed specifically as a low-cost solution for hobbyists, students, and independent developers to be able to get started building and distributing applications, including commercially for profit, without a significant up-front investment," Intersimone wrote in a blog post. "It is modeled after the self-publishing music and literature models and has become popular within the game and mobile development tools market."

The new Delphi and C++Builder Starter editions provide an updated take on an old strategy, said Intersimone.

"In the 2006 timeframe we had Turbo Delphi Explorer edition for individuals to get started. This Turbo was based on older technologies and had limitations -- for example, you couldn't install additional tools and components," Intersimone explained in an interview. "The Starter editions are the modern generation, with our latest technologies, packaged for people starting or re-starting a career in software development."

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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