Borland Brings Back Its Turbo Tools

Borland's new Turbo line of tools takes components of the Borland Developer Studio and targets beginners and nonprogrammers as well as professional coders. The free version competes with Microsoft's Express tools.

Borland Softwares Developer Tools Group is moving back to the companys roots and relaunching its Turbo brand of products—offering the tools both for beginners and nonprogrammers, as well as for professionals.

Borland officials said the Cupertino, Calif., company is bringing back its Turbo brand of tools as a set of low-cost, language-specific rapid application development tools for students, hobbyist developers, occupational developers and individual programming professionals.

On Aug. 8, the companys Developer Tools Group, which is up for sale, is scheduled to announce single-language versions of the components of Borland Developer Studio, the companys IDE (integrated development environment) for Microsoft Windows and .Net applications.

David Intersimone, vice president of developer relations and chief evangelist at Borland, said the Turbo product set includes Turbo Delphi for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .Net, Turbo C++ and Turbo C#. Each version will be available in two editions: Turbo Explorer, a free downloadable version; and Turbo Professional, a version priced at less than $500, he said.

"And with the Explorer Edition were going to blanket the earth for beginners, students, hobbyists, nontraditional programmers who still need to do some programming [and] people who need to learn additional languages to ramp up their skill set," Intersimone said.

Turbo Delphi, Turbo Delphi for .Net, Turbo C++ and Turbo C# will be generally available in the third quarter of this year, said Michael Swindell, senior director of product management for the Borland Developer Tools Group. Borland is offering student academic pricing for the Turbo Professional editions of these products that will be under $100. More information can be found at

Part of Borlands intent with the new tools is not only to help bring a new crop of developers to the industry, but also to help make programming fun, according to Intersimone.

"Along with the release of the products, were going to be putting out a lot of videos, articles, challenges, contests and tutorials to show, especially beginners and nonprogrammers, that they can not only learn to program but that they can have fun programming as well," he said.

Borland in 1983 released Turbo Pascal, which is regarded as one of the very first IDEs and it revolutionized software development on the PC, the company said. Borland is reviving the Turbo brand in hope of reviving its tools business as the business unit preps for a spinoff.

"The brand is classic, but the technologies and capabilities in the new Turbo editions are leading-edge," Swindell said. "And these are very capable development tools. The professional tools have a feature set that is the equivalent of our feature set in the Borland Developer Studio."

Indeed, with each edition developers can rapidly build GUI applications, database applications, and Web and Web services applications, Swindell said. Turbo Delphi and Turbo C++ use native code compilers and can build high-performance applications for the Windows platform. And Turbo Delphi .Net and Turbo C# target the .Net framework and the ASP.Net framework, building both GUI applications and Web applications, he said.

However, the Explorer edition differs from the Professional edition in that, although it includes all the same features, users cannot integrate in third-party components or tools, he said. Yet, Explorer edition users can use third-party components externally, Intersimone said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifBorland says it is closing in on the sale of its IDE business. Click here to read more.

"Even a development novice, who hasnt written a line of code, will find the Turbo editions extremely easy to use," Intersimone said in a statement. "As the Developer Tools Group prepares to embark on a new and independent venture, solely committed to the creation and improvement of tools and technology for the individual software developer and teams of developers, the release of these products couldnt come at a more exciting time for us."

Moreover, Swindell said, "This is definitely targeting a different audience than Borlands been targeting over the last several years."

Ray Konopka, president of Raize Software, a Naperville, Ill., partner to Borland, said in a statement, "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. 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."

Some former Borland executives commented on the new Borland products.

Zack Urlocker, executive vice president for marketing and products at MySQL and former product manager for Turbo Pascal and Delphi, said in a statement, "The Turbo brand and more importantly, the focus on developer productivity, is just what the industry needs. Borland has been legendary in providing more than 20 years of software craftsmanship."

And Gene Wang, chairman and chief executive at Bitfone and former vice president of the languages business unit at Borland, said in a statement, "In the 90s, Turbo Pascal and Turbo C++ brought the power of programming to everyone. And now, Turbo power is back and ready to rev up the next generation of programmers to full productivity."

Borlands free Explorer versions of its new Turbo products are similar to Microsofts Express versions of its Visual Studio tools, in that they are targeted at beginners, hobbyists and nonprofessional programmers.

However, "The Express line is more targeted at getting people to .Net, and here we have the choices of doing Win32 native code development, as well as choosing WinForms and ASP.Net," Intersimone said.

Moreover, "Express is designed as lightweight free editions [of Microsofts Visual Studio tools], but our Turbo Professional edition provides a professional feature set," Swindell said. "And the Explorer edition has all those same tools, but its a fixed set of components. So its quite different than the Express edition."

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