Ever since Embarcadero has been in charge of Delphi’s development, they have made great strides to bring the language back from the brink of death. From the start they have therefor also been developing a 64-bit compiler for Delphi, which unfortunately has been postponed for quite some time. I can’t really blame them, if the product isn’t finished, there’s no point in releasing it, it would only make matters worse, but now, finally they have started giving Beta testers access to the 64-bit compiler preview.
As usual, also with this new compiler, Embarcadero has dedicated huge efforts towards keeping backwards compatibility as much as possible. This results in the face that most old Delphi code will still compile with this 64-bit compiler. The size of Integers, Int64, and most other datatypes have gone unchanged. However, NativeInt for example has the size of the integer on the system you’re on. Pointers on 64-bit are also 8 bytes, but as long as you always use SizeOf or similar methods that don’t rely on specifying a size of a datatype manually, your code should work in 64-bit. If you have any dependencies on dll libraries or activex components, these will have to be upgraded to 64-bit versions as well of course.
The final edition of the 64-bit compiler should be included in the next release of Delphi, the XE2 release. In XE3 the compiler will also compile code from C++ builder into 64-bit applications and libraries. Alongside the 64-bit compiler, Embarcadero also promises to include a cross-platform compiler in RAD Studio XE2 which can compile 32-bit applications to Mac OSX and possibly Linux. The additions of these new features may finally revitalize the interest of developers in this language as most other mainstream language already have at least in some way the ability to compile to 64-bit platforms and platforms other than MS Windows.
You can sign up to get into the beta program for the 64-bit compiler, if you have a license to RAD Studio XE, Delphi XE or ToolCloud, you may get priority access to the beta.