1. There are lots of technical details about delphi I've explored that may be useful to other developers. I've learnt loads from the Delphi community and I'd like to return the favour
  2. There are lots of design 'discussions' (i.e. arguments) i've had with other developers, especially my busness partner, and I'm interested in the opinions of other people on the issues
  3. To quote Paul Graham: "Expressing ideas helps to form them"

I've been meaning to write a blog, and host it, for a while, but haven't got around to writing a web application to host it (although I'm still looking at doing it in RoR just to learn what all the fuss is about. So I've decided to host this on blogger for the moment, and maybe move it at some future point.

I'm going to write all the posts in markdown because thats the format we use internally at work, and its very easy to work with. If anybody knows any groovy tools that can markup delphi code into a web blogger friendly format, I'd really appreciate it.

In development, my prefered tool is Delphi, for lots of reasons. The greatest thing about it for me is that it comes with all the source code. My coding quality has improved more from reading the Delphi sources than anything else.

I live in the south west of England, in the UK. I live here because of the quality of life, especially being close tp the coast. In my spare time I love surfing, running, travelling, and going on expeditions to far away place like Guyana and West Papua.

Concept First

I work as a technical consultant for a small software company I started with my business partner, Dan Jones, called Concept First Ltd.

We are in our fifth year of trading, and do various types of work:

  • Business Process mapping and development
  • Web sites in ASP, Coldfusion, Websnap
  • Application development in Delphi (by choice), VB6, VB.Net, C# (by request)
  • Anything else that pays the bills !

A large number of our projects are integrating data in Enterprise environments (i.e. lots of random technologies chosen for reasons other than technical, fighting with vendors to get access to data, dispairing at money being wasted left right and centre ...)


At Concept First we like and use:

  • Delphi
  • DevExpress grids
  • Apache 2
  • Subversion
  • SQL Server (especially MSDE/Express editions)
  • Anything to do with geospatial data and mapping
  • Mind mapping software for writing specs
  • Bulleted lists ;-)

We dislike:

  • Analyists who can't develop
  • Developers who can't analyse
  • The new hoops you have to jump through to be a Microsoft Certified Partner company
  • Tying ourselves to Microsoft technologies
  • How bad most enterprise software is
  • How fickle the software industry is for the latest silver bullet
  • Fixed width webpages and tables for layout


I've got various ideas I want to write up into posts, to be done when I get time/motiviation:

  • Rich RTTI in delphi objects
  • Delphi's class helpers, good or bad OO design ?
  • Websnap: good and bad points, how to extend it
  • Websnap and FastCGI
  • Null Object pattern in databases vs. explicit NULLs
  • Case sensitive languages and why they must be destroyed
  • Functionality vs Complexity - Time vs Money vs Quality
  • Business Logic in databases
  • REST vs SOAP
  • Tips to prevent premature optimisation

I also need to convince my business partner, Dan, to sort out a blog, coz I'm bored of him preaching to the converted.

Expect some rantings on 'semanctic markup in html' asap :-)