The Long and Winding Road To Today’s Delphi – Happy 29th Birthday!

It Started with Pascal

In order to get to today’s 29th year of Delphi, we have to start back in 1970 with the creation of the Pascal programming language by Niklaus Wirth and his team at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH).

Turbo Pascal – v1.0 – Anders Hejlsberg, Philippe Kahn, et al – CP/M, DOS – November 1983
November 2023 marked the 40th anniversary of Turbo Pascal, the first Integrated Development Environment (or IDE), which allowed a user to quickly and easily write a program in the Pascal programming language and see it compiled and linked – all in one go – with an executable dropped to disk at the end.

Turbo Pascal for the Amiga (1985)
Turbo Pascal for the Amiga was developed using a Sun Microsystems workstation (it was fun to see a Wordstar=like editor and Turbo Pascal compiler for the Motorola 68000 processor) and tested on a prototype Amiga. Borland ran an ad in the premier issue of Amiga World but never released the product. Having the 68000 based Pascal compiler helped us move forward with the development of Turbo Pascal for the Mac.

Pascal with Objects

In mid 1985 Object Pascal was created by Larry Tesler’s team at Apple Computer in consultation with Pascal’s inventor Niklaus Wirth. The collaboration started with emails between Larry and Niklaus.

Turbo Pascal for the Mac (1986)

Objects first appeared in Turbo Pascal for the Macintosh. Development leveraged the Motorola 68000 compiler built as part of Turbo Pascal for the Amiga, an IDE and units that provided access to the Macintosh operating system, toolbox, QuickDraw, graphics, file system and more.

Borland Turbo Pascal v5.5 and Microsoft Quick Pascal v1.0

For DOS development, Object Pascal arrived with Turbo Pascal version 5.5 (May 2, 1989). Microsoft also released an Object Pascal based product later in 1989. There is a Pascal compiler story behind the competition between Borland and Microsoft. Early in 1989 we had heard rumors that Microsoft was talking with a French company, Nat Systeme that had Object Pascal compilers for DOS and OS/2. Philippe Kahn told Gary Whizin (Pascal development manager) and myself to fly to several European countries (including UK, France and Denmark) and meet with top technical magazine editors to show them a pre-release version of Turbo Pascal 5.5 and highlight how it was different and better than Object Pascal.

Turbo/Borland Pascal with Object Frameworks (1990, 1991,1992)

After Turbo Pascal for the Mac which supported objects and the Mac toolbox, Object Pascal was used to create frameworks for DOS (text mode) and Windows (GUI) programming. These frameworks were also ported to Borland C++ and, in an agreement with Novell, OWL for C++ was ported to Novell’s AppWare Foundation.


Development of what would become Delphi, started with a research project called “Monet” (because it was going to be a work of art) to test versions of “AppBuilder” (a code name in the time when many developer tools used the “builder” name including JBuilder, IntraBuilder, C++Builder) finally to become “Delphi”.

Delphi v2.0 (Feb 10, 1996)

I demonstrated a pre-release version of Delphi v2 at the Win95 launch (Aug. 24, 1995) on the Microsoft campus in Redmond WA inside a tent on the lawn. I was right next to Philippe Kahn who was demoing Sidekick for Win95. I wrote a blog post as part of the 27th birthday of Delphi and the worst program I ever development while on the flight to Seattle. I realized that I didn’t have a Delphi 2 demo that took advantage of Win95 32-bit OS and other features. So, for the duration of flight I hacked together the 32-bit VCL application.

Delphi v3.0 (August, 5, 1997)

This release brought two really important capabilities to Delphi: component packages, component templates, and integration with COM through interfaces.

Other Delphi(s)

There were other Delphi(s) developed or named over the years including Delphi for Java, Kylix, Delphi for .NET, Delphi Prism and Delphi for PHP.

So Many Memories, So Little Time!

There is not enough time in one blog post to cover all of the innovations that have taken place from the start of Pascal to Delphi’s Modern Object Pascal. There are so many great developers, writers and team members who continue to push forward with Delphi and development technology. To the many members of our developer community I continue to be amazed at what you are doing and how much we, as software engineers and creators, can build using Delphi, components, libraries and tools.

Delphi 12 is Here!

RAD Studio 12.0 Athens is a fantastic release for Delphi developers. Visit to learn what you can do with Delphi 12!