[fpc-pascal] Lazarus and FPC integration

David Emerson dle3ab at angelbase.com
Sun Oct 30 00:17:57 CEST 2005

I think the time has come to integrate (the installations of) FPC and Lazarus more fully. I'll first use myself as an example as to why; then I'll present the reasons I suspect such an integration has not already taken place, and suggest an implementation of the integration (mostly from the end-user's perspective).

As a nearly 3-year user of FPC, I have never tried Lazarus. Why not? Well, every time I visit the Lazarus site, I find it a little confusing, and I'm concerned about conflicts with my current FPC, and am not sure which version of Lazarus to download. Based on my own experience, I suspect that many potential users are often confused by the FPC and Lazarus websites and the download procedure.

I suspect several reasons for the current lack of integration:

- Historically, Lazarus was borne out of FPC. In the minds of some of the core developers (and many others) they remain as separate entities that should be installed and thought of as independant projects (though they do integrate well together.) This may be the most significant block to the integration effort!! (Come on guys, let's acknowledge the success of the Lazarus effort by integrating the installer!)

- Some users may want to run FPC from the command-line only (or other IDE, e.g. SciTE or Vim) and not bother with the Lazarus IDE
- Some users may already have FPC installed and not want to re-download it when installing Lazarus
- other reasons?

So I hope to address all of these concerns with my proposal. I have a lot of ideas in my mind that I'd like to propose and discuss, but for now I will only present what I think is by far the most important one:

1. The primary download, that probably 90% of visitors to the FPC site would download, should be a single, integrated Lazarus-and-FPC package.

So, what do I mean by this? I mean that, when you go to www.freepascal.org and hit the big "download Free Pascal" button (link), there should be two options: one to download the integrated FPC/Lazarus environment, and the other to do something special.

This makes it EASY for new (and old!) users to get up and running with the most appropriate development environment. WE CAN STILL ACCOMODATE those users who want, e.g., a command-line-only compiler, or an older version, or to not download all the units or get documentation in a different format. But remember, those 10% are likelier to be the expert users. They are capable of navigating a few more web pages or download sites in order to figure out how to get just what they want, when the primary download does not suit them. Let the primary download serve the masses.

What I haven't really discussed here is how, or whether, to integrate the websites freepascal.org and lazarus.freepascal.org. I think they should be more integrated than they are, but the starting point is to make sure that people who navigate to either site can download what it is they really want -- an IDE with compiler included.

Oh yeah, okay, I lied ... one more little suggestion:

2. If I direct my web browser to freepascal.org, it can't find it. The site is one of the very few I encounter that requires me to type the www prefix. This is a pain in the butt and I bet it deters many potential users.


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