back to article The Sons of Kahn and the assembly language of the internet

Editor's Note: Verity Stob's Chronicles of Delphi [King James ed.] began in 1996. The most recent translations can be found here: The Sons of Kahn and the Pascal spring and here: Sons of Kahn: The Apocrypha. Zany adventures with Zarco and Marco And the users of Delphi had become old with the passage of years, and had taken …


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  1. Martin

    "Restrain thou thy equine quadrupeds."

    Love it.

  2. All names Taken

    I vote 10 out of 10 for this masterly (and mistressly?) piece of work.

    May one accept the prose as a seasonal greeting card from El Reg?

  3. Mark #255
    Thumb Up

    Genius, Ms Stob.

  4. Marco van de Voort

    Lazarus 1.0 ?

    I had expected a remark about Lazarus going gold (1.0)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > And if a few users of Delphi had turned their hands to writing JavaScript-that-is-the-assembly-language-of-the-internet, then most had not followed these filthy traitors into the perverse ways of the curly bracket.

    I...I was just holding this JavaScript for someone else. It's not mine.

    We didn't upgrade from XE2 to XE3 despite some serious prompting from Embarcadero's sales guys. Something felt wrong. Now I know what they weren't telling us and feel we dodged a bullet....

    1. Andrew Moore


      Though never a Delphi programmer (a C/C++ programmer from the Turbo days) I just haven't bothered updating since XE1. I remember that they threw in RadPHP (or whatever it was called) for free- I looked at it once and never again.

  6. Spoonsinger

    The only reason why we say 'Ah' is

    because we would have gnashed teeth - but they aren't ours.

    (Appropriate Delphi 7 developer icon - i.e. one maintenance project away from a park bench and a can of Zyweic.

  7. dajames
    Thumb Up

    Nice one, Verity ....

    Just one thing ... I think they spell it InBorCodeGearO ... or something like that.

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  9. Roger Greenwood

    "Delphi micturith upon the head of Vi Su-Albahsic"

    10 years, where did they go?

    Pint of Micturation.

  10. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Brilliant, just brilliant

    Yup, that produced a fair old chuckle.. Borland was also the company that managed to recompile Windows to make it run a heck of a lot faster than the Microsoft version, and - best of all - they came up with "licensing as a book". The latter was far too sensible to catch on in the Microsoft world (although, it intrigues me that many iOS and OSX apps are actually licensed that way, when provided through the App Store it's actually the default).

    Muchos gracias, Mrs Stob - that brought good memories :)

  11. Anonymous Coward

    ah, typescript

    The best thing about typescript is that if your $PATH is badly laid out, and your $PWD is marked with an "x", you won't like what you get when you run it.

  12. magickmark

    Funniest thing I have read for quite a while! Wonder what that says about me !!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Verily Verity,

    Thou be a philistine of the first order, truth hast no place in this world.

    Be gone thou horrendously humorous haruspex before thee curse other languages

    I liked it :)

  14. Michael H.F. Wilkinson



  15. Steve Evans

    Classic :-)

    Much chuckleth over here as I read this... With my browser over the open Delphi 5 IDE.

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: open Delphi 5 IDE

      I envy your ability to have Memory Sleuth working with it.

  16. All names Taken

    Me 2 too?

    Wild thing - thou movest us so

    Wild thing - you make our souls inflame

    Wild thing - you makest all things go Groovy(?)


    ding ding da-da-ding ding ding?

  17. chris lively

    I said goodbye to Delphi, my first serious love, when D7 was released. There were many ups and downs and the code was beautiful, but the problems were ugly.

    Like a spouse of an "ex" alcoholic I had hoped the sequestering into the land of embarcadodo would have healed it's soul. Alas that was not to be.

    Delphi: I've is permenantly turned my back upon you. So long and thanks for all the fish.

  18. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    May I be the first to say....

    the sons of KHAAAAAAN!

  19. amanfromarse

    Very sad

    Ha ha, great article.

    I used C++ Builder up to version 5, great product at the time. Things started to go bad soon after.

    Eadon, do you and RICHTO go to the same school?

  20. GrantB

    Are we going backwards in software development

    I used and liked Delphi a lot in the day, from 16-bit Delphi 1 (and beta's) through most versions (good and bad) through to about CBuilder 2007 when I finally parted ways with Borland/Inprise/CodeGear./Em... whatever.

    Sad thing is that just recently I though of a little program I wanted to write for running on the desktop. Just something that reads a CSV file, does a bit of business logic and writes a report.

    Delphi would have my first thing I would have used, as I could bang together a simple UI using a stringgrid and could have churned out a .exe that would run on pretty much on any Windows machine (Win8 RT excluded of course), and run fast.

    Now days? Express version of C# would be closest as it would probably run on most Windows machines as these days all(?) would have a reasonably up to date version of .NET. Would be slower to startup and run, and probably take me longer to develop depending on what new horrors MS have inflicted on VS this year.

    Python would be my second choice, but not everybody has Python interpreter installed (yes, I have seen packing the interpreter) but even though I like the language, still feels a step backwards to not use an IDE with rich components and integrated debugging.

    Surprising really that while web tools are always improving, the desktop development environments don't seem to be improving that much in productivity.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Are we going backwards in software development

      Providing you're using a relatively up to date pc you could do a csv processor in Javascript in any modern browser. It'd run on a massive number of devices and have no ties to any particular manufacturer. Using a webkit browser would give you a pretty spiffy debugging environment as well.

  21. Matthew Smith

    Delphi was corrupted from within long ago

    I spent many happy years with Delphi. But the advantage was never the language itself (I happily switched to using curly brackets) but that it all just worked. It spat out a single, highly efficient exe which could be sent off to the customer and would be guaranteed to work. How we laughed at VB with its DLL hell and java with its runtime engine.

    Now that Delphi is all .net, it is all about which version of .net is installed, just the same as the other languages. Shame.

    1. GerryMC

      Re: Delphi was corrupted from within long ago

      Delphi isn't dot net - in fact the compiler was Kylixed (see in Delphi 2009. However the IDE (Galileo) still uses a mix of Win32 native code and .Net.

      This must have seemed like a good idea in 2003. The IDE stability is almost back to Delphi 7 (2002) level now, and my i7 loads in about the same time as my old P4 took for D7!

      (Actually I prefer Galileo to older versions, I just wish it was more stable and faster).

      The current version (XE3) of supports Win32, Win64 and OSX (via non-native OpenGL based controls)

  22. Tim Bergel
    Thumb Up

    Laughed and laughed

    Thank you Verity - most excellent!

  23. Sir Codington


    Urg, abandoning C# for Typescript, as if the web needs another superset for JScript - wasn't coffeescript enough? Most people are using Jquery anywho.

    If only MS would see the potential C# has and fully support mono. Java as a language is nowhere near as good but at least I can run the damned thing on arm properly when I need floating point operations.

  24. Christopher Slater-Walker

    The app looketh - the apps look

    You need to sort out your 3rd person singular ending from the 3rd person plural.

  25. Opwernby

    And then spoke the Zen programmer from the land of hot ovens, as it is called in the language of that land from before the coming of the invaders: "All things continue until they finish."

  26. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Like it or not but C# is on the way out

    So... yes, C# is a ripoff of Java, and .NET a ripoff of the Java Runtime Environment. Sorry if you don't like it but it's true. Microsoft found Java a threat (seeing as how it was truly cross-platform) and after they were sued for J++ (a Java version with non-standard extensions added on, violating the Java platform rules...) they worked on C# and .NET. This was SPECIFICALLY so they could make a Java-clone, take the wind out of Java's sails, and claim cross-platformness while in reality tying the .NET user tightly to Windows. NOTE THIS IS NOT A QUALITY JUDGEMENT. I did a little C#/.NET programming, and I found the truly portable parts to be well designed and clean.... (the non-portable parts exposed Win32, which is IMHO an unholy mess. I didn't use them.)

    @Ian Yates, "So you also believe that Java rips off UCSD Pascal, since that uses a VM for each process? Or that C++ rips off C?"

    Yes and yes. When Java was coming out, it was common knowledge it was using techniques gleaned from UCSD Pascal. And C++ is obviously directly based on C. Microsoft had specific motives to take down Java when they released C# and .NET though.

    Regarding C#... well, if you look realistically, Silverlight is abandoned, .NET development is halted. Microsoft originally did not include C# support at all in WinRT, assuming people would use HTML5, and only added it due to developer outcry. I think it's safe to say C# is in "legacy' status now. Sorry if you don't like it, but that's the facts. Just to say it again -- not a quality judgement, I really get the impression it's Microsoft internal politics doing this and I think it's a poor decision. But I guess we'll see a few years down the road if new stuff comes out, or if .NET is just allowed to fade. Desktop? Well, you can still use technologies from like the Windows 3.1 days if you want, I'm sure (non-Metro mode) you'll be able to keep making stuff indefinitely if you want.

  27. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Oh yeah...

    also, good article, I enjoyed it! And read allt he old Delphi ones as well, also nice. What a saga.

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