Borland revives Turbo for developer tools

Borland Software brought back its popular Turbo product moniker last month with the introduction of language-specific developer tools.

The Turbo name had been prominent as part of the company’s Turbo Pascal product. The Turbo revival features single-language versions of Borland Developer Studio, which is a development environment for Microsoft Windows and .Net applications. The Turbo product set includes Turbo Delphi for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .Net, Turbo C++ and Turbo C#. The .Net and C# products support .Net and ASP.Net.

The Turbo products are being unveiled by the Developer Tools Group, which Borland intends to sell by the end of September.

Versions will be available in two formats: A free, downloadable Turbo Explorer version for beginners, and the customizable Turbo Professional, which is designed to accommodate thousands of third-party tools, components and plug-ins.

The Explorer version includes more than 200 pre-built components, explained Michael Swindell, senior director of product management for the Borland Developer Tools Group in Scotts Valley, Calif. “In the professional edition, [those components] are unlocked, and you can create custom components and third party components, so you can expand the palette of 200-plus items to as many as you like,” he said.

For most developers just starting out in the field, the core 200-plus components will satisfy most of their needs, added Swindell. “If you are already proficient in C++ or Delphi or C-Sharp and you’re doing more professional-type development, the Turbo Professional level will be more appealing,” he said. “If you’re building a medical application, you can get medical imaging components, for instance; you can get much more sophisticated in the types of things you’re doing.”

With the new Turbo products, developers can build GUI, database, Web and Web services applications for Microsoft Windows. Future Turbo products are expected to be released for other languages, such as now-popular scripting languages, when the tools group finds a new home, said Dave Intersimone, vice-president of developer relations at Borland.

Borland’s intention to sell off the Developer Tools Group was announced in February. While Swindell said there is no announced date for its intended launch, he added that the company “will be entirely focused on developers, which will include education (efforts)…and that’s not really an area today where Borland is focused.”

A new Web site for the spun-off company,, was launched on Sept. 5. It includes how-to articles, videos, games and sample code for Turbo users. “It’s really geared towards education and new developers, and helping them learn the languages and helping make programming fun,” said Swindell.

In a statement, Borland said Raize Software, which offers tools and components to integrate with Borland development platforms, cited the need for tools that accommodate developers who do not need all the features of Developer Studio.

“While the full-featured Developer Studio product is an excellent development environment, there are many developers that simply do not need all the frameworks and programming languages that are included,” said Ray Konopka, president of Raize, in the statement.

“Providing low-cost, single language/frameworks, the new Turbo editions are a clear indicator that the Developer Tools Group is focused on all developers, not just those in large corporate development shops.”

Professor Robert F. Teitel of the statistics department at George Washington University in Washington is looking forward to the free version of the new Turbo offerings. “For teaching purposes, I think [the Turbo products] are fabulous,” said Teitel, who has been using Borland wares in his computer science classrooms since the 1980s. “[They are] extremely easy to use. You can teach students pretty easily (with them).”

Teitel added that students appreciate the straightforward interface of the Borland tools. “They like to get pictures off the Internet and make buttons with them and so on,” he said.

After kicking around in relative obscurity for about a decade, the Turbo brand name will now be launched back into prominence. “The name has a lot of awareness and goodwill around it,” said Swindell. “There’s rarely a time when you don’t run into someone who cut their teeth on Turbo Pascal or Turbo C++.”

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