And I have resigned myself to seeing bloat in "enterprise" apps, as well as the herd mentality to follow Microsoft. But a shareware author (or a small business) should have very little reason to go there. What I was trying to get across is that Delphi, with its many imperfections, gave developers in mid-nineties what Microsoft is only giving them today, and Delphi was always blazingly fast, since it compiled into native Win32 code (no different really than C/C++). A developer using MS-only tools may have gained some useful tools and shortened the time to market by moving to .Net, but a Delphi developer didn't. Some neat libraries which Delphi never had, yes, but no real gain in development time or ease of coding, I think.
I have yet to see a single application that was rewritten in .Net and gained a cool/must-have feature that it didn't or couldn't have before.
And I should write one day about what I called "enterprise" apps above. My job niche, software localization, lends itself particularly well to, um, software-ization of the process, and there are monsters out there, monsters! In-house apps are the worst, because there is exactly zero thought given to usability or functionality. But even commercial, expensive "vertical" apps that translators are expected to use are written for the managers and accountants first. There's one big suite, which has had the market pretty much cornered for years, sells for several hundred to several thousand Euros, and it's primarily an environment for typing and proofreading text, right? And they never implemented a "Find Next" command... since 1992. But managers love it! It's all remote now with clouds and servers and enterprise-level BUGS, written in BOTH .Net and Java. Ain't technology grand?
Man, tranglos, you really have touched upon a subject which I think about a lot. I'm really glad to hear about this from the programmer's perspective, because as a user (and non-programmer) I can definitely see and feel the results of the things you say. As you know, I'm a big software user, and I'm even relied upon it at work myself. I have railed and ranted against the things we are currently using at work, and it's exactly what you say. Expensive (really really expensive) software that does nothing more nor anything better than a very cheap (~$100) third-party shareware. In fact, as you say, the interfaces are usually terrible and the end-user experience is pretty miserable. And I'm not talking about a couple of examples here and there...this is the prevailing experience.
One of the reasons why i hang on to the Windows side of things is because there are so many third party tools, I can usually come close to finding something that does exactly what I want it to do. But it's becoming worse and worse. I have a deep admiration for the programmers out there that write elegant and eloquent software...guys like you, mouser, and some others. It's really a great service to the public, more so than you guys get credit for.
Man, in house apps are the worst. I absolutely hate it when my company tries to get people to use some shitty program that was created entirely in access. What a nightmare. It's frightening to think about how often this happens and in some relatively large corporations. Access is fine for a personal database, but don't use it to make an application that 1000 people are going to use. And then they make websites with just crazy things going on. And they never ever pay attention to the details that make the software a living hell. It's an ends justifies the means thing. Yes, it does what it is supposed to do, but in the most painful way possible. I feel like I'm the only one being annoyed by these things, and it makes me look crazy! I used to keep track of all the annoyances and bugs i found in the in house apps and send it to the programmers, thinking it would help them. But they didn't care, nobody defended me or gave it any importance. In the end, it made me look like a raving lunatic because I was the only one making a big fuss about how ridiculous the login process was.
For example, we use Citrix in our company (~9000 people). When i first started, I was having a double logon issue: I'd have to login twice whenever I wanted to use Citrix. I put in a trouble ticket to have our IT look at it. After fiddling around with my computer for an hour, they gave up. So I spent an entire day reading forums and trying a bunch of stuff out until I finally got it. But now, i noticed that a bunch of other people are having the same problem. They keep double logging in, and they don't think twice about it! I even ask them sometimes if they are annoyed, and they say whatever. So i give up. I'm in no position to influence anything, so I just deal with it. it's crazy though to think of the amount of time and money wasted because nobody cares to have eloquent technology. But i guess it's not limited to technology, it's everything...