As a developer, VMWare provides a great way to test your software and version control your entire development environment. You can do it for free too.
Version controlling your client requires just installing Delphi in VMWare and doing your development in the VM. Then when you have a release you backup the entire VM and move forward, able to change your packages, libraries and components without fear. Then if you need to go back and make a one off on the previous release you can go back to that backup and everything is setup just as you left it. Naturally you keep your source code in a version control system with the versions marked and forked correctly.
Technically VMWare claims to have 2 desktop versions: VMWare Workstation (their desktop powerhouse) and VMWare Player (their free version), but their base VMWare server is very similar to VMWare Workstation and is also free. I’ve always just used VMWare Workstation, which is what I recommend if you have the choice. But if you are on a budget, or want the latest version without upgrading (what happened to me) then here is a feature matrix of the differences for your reference:
||Drag & drop*
||Multiple and forks
||1 or 2 CPU (if host supports)
||Between host and guest
||No, w/ limited editing
||Yes, but can’t change
||Same as Workstation
||Same as workstation
||No drag and drop
- Drag and drop requires VMWare Tools to be installed.
- While player has no Snapshots, you can always backup the whole VM.
- Server has the added bonus of connecting to a VM on a remote VMWare server or locally.
- Only Workstation has multi-monitor support.
- Server and Workstation have a nice quick switch view for running multiple VM’s at once.
For development, VMWare Workstation is really the best. It has a number of other features not even listed here, like video capture of the screen. There are a lot of other features in common on all three too.
One last tip: If you can, get the Volume License version of Windows XP to install inside your VM since it does not require activation or reactivation. What an annoying feature of XP – make a change to the VM and it comes up telling you that you software is now illegal and no longer works. I believe the Volume License version of the Enterprise edition of Vista also circumvents the activation hurdle, although with 120 day evaluation, that isn’t such a big deal.
Are there other differences I am missing?