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Windows 3.1 – Don’t Miss You Much

wIs it possible for something to be very good for Windows 3.1 yet not at all good for Microsoft? You bet it is. What could that something be? That’s simple: updated Borland language products for Windows 3.1, of course.

Consider, for example, Borland’s new Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5 that will be introduced next week. Just as surely as it opens the door to a wider range of Windows 3.1 applications, TPWin 1.5 will also be yet another blow to Microsoft’s once-thriving languages product line.

TPWin 1.5 is the latest incarnation of Turbo Pascal, the product that launched Borland into the U.S. software market nearly a decade ago. Turbo Pascal was also the first of the Borland language products that have steadily taken market share away from Microsoft’s languages.

With TPWin 1.5, Pascal programmers gain full access to the new features of Windows 3.1. TPWin 1.5 directly supports enhanced Windows 3.1 capabilities like multimedia sound, Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), TrueType fonts, the Pen Windows extensions, drag and drop, and access to the other enhancements of the Windows API.

TPWin 1.5 also adds significant new features of its own. These both build on and expand on the innovative capabilities already present in various Borland language products. The Object Windows class hierarchy uses the object-oriented capabilities of TPWin 1.5 to give the Pascal programmer control over Windows 3.1 graphical interface objects, such as windows, scroll bars, dialog boxes and so forth.

Also included are Borland’s Resource Workshop with Turbo Debugger for Windows and the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Together, these provide the essential capabilities of the Microsoft Windows SDK and more.

The IDE, for example, uses a speed bar for commonly required actions. Even better, the IDE editor provides a clever use of color to highlight the syntax of Pascal code automatically. It “knows” Pascal reserved words and delimiters and gives programmers a choice of colors and type styles automatically to identify different syntactical constructs. That makes it much easier to understand and debug code.

Windows dynamic link libraries (DLLs) can not only be accessed with TPWin 1.5 but created with it as well. User organizations and software vendors can therefore use it to develop DLLs of their own that are shared by multiple applications. Turbo Debugger for Windows automatically detects and loads required DLLs for testing.

The entire Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5 package will carry a suggested retail price of $149.95. That includes everything described here. The upgrade price for owners of TPWin 1.0 will be $49.95. All this makes Turbo Pascal for Windows 1.5 an even better bargain than the original Turbo Pascal.

Of course, C and C++ are equally important, if not even more important, languages for corporations and independent software vendors today. Though I was not able to obtain details prior to next week’s announcements by Borland, I have confirmed from usually reliable sources that updates to Borland’s C and C++ products to support Windows 3.1 are also forthcoming.

What’s more, word is that upgrades for owners of Borland’s C and C++ products will all be priced under $40. That will certainly make it very difficult for Microsoft to stem its steady loss of market share to Borland in these critical languages.

So the good news for Microsoft is that some very powerful, popular and aggressively priced language products that support the new capabilities of Windows 3.1 will soon be on the market. The bad news for Microsoft is that they will be from Borland and that the latter’s relentless “barbarian” attack on Microsoft’s once-dominant position in programming languages will not only continue but intensify.

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