Borland Relaunches Turbo Compilers

You have to hand it to Borland; the company has no quit in it.

Despite reports it is looking to sell off its line of integrated development environments (IDE), Borland  has announced a return of the brand that made it famous back in the 1980s, the Turbo line.

The company is re-launching Turbo Delphi for Win32 and for .Net, Turbo C++ and Turbo C#.

Each version will be available in two editions, an Explorer available for free, and the Professional edition, priced at $499.

The only difference between the two is Explorer cannot use third-party components and plug-ins, although it does come with more than 200 plug-in components to assist in application development, according to David Intersimone, vice president for developer relations.

Turbo Professional will offer all of the same features and functionality found in Borland Developer Studio 2006, released earlier this year.

That means features like UML modeling, enhanced editor capabilities, code insights, debugging and more, said Intersimone.

The only difference between the Professional and Developer Studio is Professional is a single-language compiler, while the Developer Studio comes with support for several languages, he said.

Code created in Explorer and Professional is fully portable to the Developer Studio environment.

Intersimone said Borland brought back the product name and the products to fill the gap in the low-end of the company’s developer tool line.

While there are plenty of expensive and all-encompassing IDEs  on the market –- Developer Studio, Visual Studio 2005 from Microsoft  or Rational XDE from IBM  –- there are few options for the casual programmer who doesn’t want to spend $1,500 on a compiler.

“We wanted to extend the reach of our product lines to other types of developers, to students, and hobbyists,” he said.

“Bringing back the classic brand name with the latest technologies was something we wanted to do. It makes a strong statement about caring about all types of developers.”

Resurrecting Delphi, based on the Pascal language, may seem passé in 2006 but Intersimone said there’s still plenty of support and use for it worldwide.

When asked if Borland would support newer, dynamic languages like Python, PHP and Ajax, he simply replied “Stay tuned.”

Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, said Borland’s return to this market makes sense in many ways.

“At the time when Borland said it was getting out of the IDE market, a lot of us questioned that decision in the first place,” he said.

“Given the fact that technology, especially PC technology, is continuing to explode across enterprise and consumer markets, entry-level tools could potentially have a new market,” he said.

The Turbo line of products are due in the third quarter of 2006, meaning between now and the end of September. Information is available on the Turbo Explorer site.

If the Turbo line can goose interest in Borland, it’ll be good news for the company because it’s most recent quarter was a rough one.

Borland today announced a second quarter net loss of $19 million, on sales of $77 million. For the same quarter last year, the company saw sales of $66 million and a loss of $17.58 million.

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