Code named Galileo, Borland Software Corp.’s latest suite of development tools is designed to stand up against Microsoft Corp.’s Visual Studio .NET, said Markham, Ont.-based Borland Canada President John Fisher on Friday.

Borland initially announced at its annual conference last May the Galileo (Delphi for .NET) as a “platform-agnostic” offering that allows developers to create .NET applications written in Pascal or Java.

The new offering – to be released early 2003 – features the latest version of its popular Delphi programming and development tool along with other soon-to-be announced languages. Galileo won’t create .EXEs or Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) but will produce the language of Microsoft .NET in Common Intermediate Language (CIL) code.

Borland has a large developer community – over 1 million developers currently use Delphi, Fisher said. But the world is changing, he added.

“.NET is emerging as a really strong alternative for enterprise application development. It has the potential to deliver the promise that Microsoft’s been talking about for a long time – the scalability, security and distributed systems that’s everyone is looking for,” Fisher said.

Delphi for .NET will be a full-fledged pure .NET development environment, Fisher said, adding that Borland hopes to be an impact player in this space.

Fisher said the new suite of tools is designed to be a serious alternative for developers, who fear that by adopting Visual Studio.NET they will be forced to use Microsoft software such as Exchange Server and SQL Server database exclusively.

“There potentially will be somewhere between 4 or 5 million developers who will eventually move to .NET,” Fisher said. But most companies are not solely a Microsoft shop, Fisher said, adding that Borland sees itself as the “Switzerland of software development” in that it supports mixed environments and both the J2EE and .NET platforms.

“There are a lot of companies that don’t want to be stuck in a stack,” Fisher said. “I don’t think we’ll be number one in .NET development but I think that we will be a strong number two in that area,” he added.

Borland Canada in Markham, Ont. is at