Because Nick says so!

published: Tue, 13-Jul-2004   |   updated: Sun, 23-Jul-2006

It seems an old acquaintance of mine, Nick Hodges, has been made a columnist for Delphi Informant. He's going to be writing about using Delphi 8 to write ASP.NET applications.

First, let me extend my congratulations to him. He's an articulate writer (witness his blog), and an all-round good chap, if a little bit too pro-Delphi.

Second, in the blog article he exhorts his blog readers to subscribe to Delphi Informant. He says:

Anyway, let me say a word about Delphi Informant. I see folks dissing this magazine and saying that it's going down hill. I don't agree. I personally can't remember an issue that didn't have at least two solid articles and a good review of valuable third-party products. If you are one of those folks who loves Delphi and wonders why it doesn't get more attention, then you should be subscribed to Delphi Informant. And here's one thing to remember -- subscribers also get access to the online version of the magazine, which has a huge archive of articles and content. For the lousy $50 a year, that's a pretty darn good value. So come on, subscribe or renew. There's really no good reason not to. Do your part to support the Delphi community instead of complaining how Delphi doesn't get enough love.

Now, as it happens, I've not had great respect for DI for quite a while: I think their articles are too light and not well tech-edited and it's been that way for as long as I can remember. In the old days, I used to get a laugh from the inaccuracies in Rod Stephens' algorithms articles (e.g., the maximum value of an integer in Delphi 3 being 32767). Also, it must be noted that one of the more frequently accessed pages on my website is the blog article where I berate their tech editor for sleeping on the job. So I wouldn't agree that DI "is going downhill" (one word, Nick), I think it's been there for a while. Now, agreed, I haven't read an issue since last November's so they may have improved in the interim (indeed, from information on their website it seems that changes have been made).

I also disagree with Nick's subtext in the above quoted paragraph: it's only through providing criticism of the magazine (and it acting on them) that it has any hope of getting better. Criticising DI doesn't mean that you are not supporting the Delphi community (or actively bring it down, or some such), it just means that you are willing to take the time to point out flaws in the magazine, the remedy of which would presumably make it a better and more informative read. The problem with DI in the past is that it seemed to us in the outside world that it ignored these criticisms.

I also think it's a little self-serving of Nick to just concentrate on DI: there is another Delphi magazine in the marketplace (The Delphi Magazine) as well. Surely if Nick is cajoling us Delphi-heads to support our community, he should also be encouraging us to subscribe to The Delphi Magazine as well. As he didn't, I shall: subscribing to The Delphi Magazine is well worth the cost. (Bias alert: I write for the magazine.) I much prefer it to DI because of its longer more in-depth articles, and because it will occasionally print articles about topics that are only tangentially related to Delphi, such as development methodologies, designing user interfaces, etc.

Nevertheless, I'm going to pick up Nick's gauntlet. I've consequently subscribed to DI "for the lousy $50", and I shall be reporting on what I find. If I see articles that are good, then, great, I'll say so. Of course, I won't stop poking at those that are not, and, now, being a customer, I have more "right" to do so.