It can be said that I started working with Delphi before it was Delphi. I studied Pascal in college and used Turbo Pascal in my first major programming job. It soon turned to Borland Pascal and when Windows 3 started getting popular, looked briefly at OWL but quickly embraced Delphi, Borland's successor on Windows to their highly successful Pascal compiler on DOS.
The applications I've written include an educational management system, small hobby projects, embedded report generators, DLLs, COM servers, automated database integrations, and complete business management systems. Two of the larger projects I've authored from the ground up are currently used by small businesses to manage all the facets of their daily operations.
In the last few years, the company producing Delphi saw the mobile operating systems market explode and have embraced an interesting framework, called FireMonkey, to enable Delphi developers to write applications targeting iOS and Android devices. Before this took place, I was exploring a different product called Oxygene, a Pascal compiler for the .NET language and working inside of Visual Studio. Oxygene has embraced cross-platform development in a different, and in my opinion, better way by generating native code for each platform. Additionally, by utilizing Visual Studio, it can also take advantage of the enormous .NET ecosystem with all it's libraries, add-on tools, training materials, and other resources--including the capability to build Windows Phone and Microsoft tablet applications. This is something Delphi cannot do. For a deeper understanding of my thoughts on this issue, check out my blog.
Another diversion away from Delphi but still utilizing the Pascal language has been to the Linux side of things. Several years ago, Borland tried to enter the Linux market with a product they called Kylix, but it was abandoned after three versions. However, a devout group of people have been slowly building and improving a completely open source Pascal compiler called Free Pascal that I have used recently to build a web application that provides software registration for a local company. An IDE called Lazarus is very similar to Delphi and I was able to be productive very quickly.
Since 2000, I've been the coordinator of the Oregon Delphi User Group that meets in the Portland area. Even as Delphi has become less of a key player in the programming world, the group has survived and continues meeting on a fairly regular basis, facilitating continued support and camaraderie around the stable development tool.
As Microsoft Windows has evolved to embrace tablets and phones, we wondered if Delphi would survive--if the Windows desktop would survive. But as it turns out, not only will it survive, but will continue to thrive and grow and expand. Our applications are not dead--and neither is the skill of the Professional Delphi Developer.