Unofficial Newsletter of Delphi Users - UNDU.COM - The Unofficial Newsletter
of Delphi Users. A free newsletter dedicated to users of Borland's Delph.
Borland Delphi (now a product of Borland's subsidiary, CodeGear) is a software
development package created by Borland. The eleventh and latest version, Delphi
2007 supports the Delphi programming language (Object Pascal) and C++ for the 32
bit Microsoft Windows platform, as well as Delphi and C# for the Microsoft .NET
Delphi's most popular use is the development of desktop and enterprise database
applications, but as a general-purpose development tool it is capable of, and is
used for, most types of development projects.
The Delphi product is distributed as various suites: Personal, Professional,
Enterprise (formerly Client/Server) and Architect.
The main features that distinguish Delphi and Kylix from other IDEs are:
* The Pascal-based programming language
* The VCL/CLX (Visual Component Library)
* A strong emphasis on database connectivity
* A large number of third party components.
* Delegation of interface implementation to a field or property of the class
* Implementation of message handlers by tagging a method of a class with the
integer constant of the message to handle
* COM independent interfaces with reference counted class implementations
* Can be compiled into native x86 code or managed .NET code
Delphi exhibits the following advantages:
* Rapid Application Development (RAD)
* Based on a well-designed language - high-level and strongly typed, with
low-level escapes for experts (McConnell 1993:49)
* A large community on Usenet and the web (e.g. news://newsgroups.borland.com
and Borland's web access to Delphi newsgroups)
* Can compile to a single executable, simplifying distribution and reducing DLL
* Many VCL (Visual Component Library) and third-party components (usually
available with full source code) and tools (documentation, debug tools, etc.)
* Quick optimizing compiler and ability to use assembler code
* Multiple platform native code from the same source code
* High level of source compatibility between versions
* CrossKylix - a third-party toolkit which allows you to compile native Kylix/Linux
applications from inside the Windows Delphi IDE, hence easily enabling
dual-platform development and deployment
* CrossFPC - a sister project to CrossKylix, which enables you to cross-compile
your Windows Delphi applications to multi-platform targets - supported by the
Free Pascal compiler - without ever leaving the Delphi IDE. Currently CrossFPC
is in a closed beta test, only available to members of the development team.
* Class helpers to bridge functionality available natively in the Delphi RTL,
but not available in a new platform supported by Delphi
* The language's object orientation features only class- and interface-based
* Delphi 2005, Delphi 2006 and Delphi 2007 all support advanced refactoring
features such Method Extraction, etc.
* Limited cross-platform capability for Delphi itself. Compatibles provide more
* A reluctance to break any code has led to some convoluted language design
choices, and orthogonality and predictability have suffered.
* The newer versions of Delphi have suffered from a number of stability issues,
which however generally have been fixed in Delphi 2007.
Delphi was one of the first of what came to be known as RAD tools, for Rapid
Application Development, when released in 1995 for the 16-bit Windows 3.1.
Delphi 2, released a year later, supported 32-bit Windows environments, and a
C++ variant, C++ Builder, followed a few years after.
The chief architect behind Delphi was Anders Hejlsberg, who also developed its
predecessor Turbo Pascal. Hejlsberg would later move to Microsoft in 1996, where
he worked on Visual J++, and was a key participant in the creation of the
Microsoft .NET Framework, becoming the chief designer of C#.
In 2001 a Linux version known as Kylix became available. However, due to low
quality and subsequent lack of interest, Kylix was abandoned after version 3.
Support for Linux and Windows cross platform development (through Kylix and the
CLX component library) was added in 2002 with the release of Delphi 6.
Delphi 8, released December 2003, was a .NET-only release that allowed
developers to compile Delphi Object Pascal code into .NET CIL. It was also
significant in that it changed its IDE for the first time, from the
multiple-floating-window-on-desktop style IDE to a look and feel similar to
Microsoft's Visual Studio.NET. But still, the new IDEs have the "Classic
Undocked" windows layout available, for a classical look and feel.
The next version, Delphi 2005 (Delphi 9), included the Win32 and .NET
development in a single IDE, reiterating Borland's commitment to Win32
developers. Delphi 2005 includes design-time manipulation of live data from a
database. It also includes an improved IDE and added a for ... in statement
(like C#'s foreach) to the language. However, it was criticized by some for its
bugs; both Delphi 8 and Delphi 2005 had stability problems when shipped, which
were only partially resolved in service packs.
In late 2005, Delphi 2006 was released and federated development of C# and
Delphi.NET, Delphi Win32 and C++ into a single IDE. It was much more stable than
Delphi 8 or Delphi 2005 when shipped, and improved even more after the service
packs and several hotfixes.
On February 8, 2006, Borland announced that it was looking for a buyer for its
IDE and database line of products, which include Delphi, to concentrate on its
ALM line. The news met with voluble optimism from the remaining Delphi users.
On September 6, 2006, The Developer Tools Group (the working name of the not yet
spun off company) of Borland Software Corporation released single language
versions of Borland Developer Studio, bringing back the popular Turbo moniker.
The Turbo product set includes Turbo Delphi for Win32, Turbo Delphi for .NET,
Turbo C++, and Turbo C#. Each version is available in two editions: Explorer—a
free downloadable version—and Professional—a relatively cheap (US$399) version
which opens access to thousands of third-party components. Unlike earlier
Personal editions of Delphi, new Explorer editions can be used for commercial
On November 14, 2006, Borland announced the cancellation of the sale of its
Development tools; instead of that it would spin them off into an independent
company named CodeGear.
Photo of Delphi 2007 box as released by CodeGear in spring 2007.
Photo of Delphi 2007 box as released by CodeGear in spring 2007.
Delphi 2007 was released on March 16, 2007. It was the first Delphi release by
CodeGear. Furthermore, it was the first version of Delphi since version 7 that
only allowed compilation of native 32-Bit Windows Applications. New features
included support for MS Build and enhancements to the Visual Component Library
for Windows Vista. Furthermore, CodeGear introduced DBX4 as the next version of
dbExpress. For the first time, one could download Delphi online from the
internet and activate it using a license key. International customers were
immediately served by releasing the product not only in English on this day, but
also in French, German and Japanese. RAD Studio 2007, which inclues .NET
development, was released on September 5, 2007.
See also: Delphi 2007 on the Delphi Wiki
Delphi was originally a confidential research project at Borland which evolved
into a product that was to be called AppBuilder.
Developer Danny Thorpe chose the Delphi codename in reference to the Oracle at
Delphi. One of the original goals of Delphi was to provide database connectivity
to programmers as a key feature and a popular database package at the time was
Oracle database; hence, "If you want to talk to [the] Oracle, go to Delphi". As
development continued, the name grew on them and there was growing support
within Borland for the name Delphi.
Shortly before the first release of Borland's AppBuilder, Novell AppBuilder was
released, leaving Borland in need of a new name. After much struggle, the name
Anders Hejlsberg, the main architect of Delphi and Turbo Pascal, was hired by
Microsoft in 1996, where he has since led the design of both the Java dialect
J++ and C#, the most popular language for Windows' .NET platform . Chuck
Jazdzewski, who was chief scientist and architect of Borland's Delphi
technology, left Borland and joined Microsoft in 2004 . Danny Thorpe, Chief
Scientist at that time, likewise left Borland and joined Google in 2005 only to
later join Microsoft in 2006. .
Delphi for PHP
Delphi for PHP is an IDE for PHP. It provides true RAD functionality. It
features Delphi or VB like form designer, integrated debugger (based on Apache
web server). It also includes VCL library ported to PHP. Support for Web 2.0
features like AJAX, makes it a unique IDE.
This Product was announced in March 20, 2007 and is based on Qadram Qstudio.
Qstudio is no more in production at Qadram since codegear is now whole and sole
owner for the Qstudio codebase.
Products developed with Delphi
There are many products developed with Delphi. The most well-known ones are
(grouped by areas):
* Borland products: Borland Delphi, Borland C++ Builder, Borland JBuilder
versions 1 and 2
* Call Accounting Software: PhoneControl
* Computer games: Astral Masters, Astral Tournament, Smugglers series, Soldat.
* Customer relationship management: Sage SalesLogix
* Database management: MySQL Tools (Administrator, Query Browser, Migration
* Database development: Quest Toad
* Engineering Software: Altium Designer/Protel (Electronics Design)
* Image viewers: FastStone Image Viewer, FuturixImager
* Internet messaging: Skype (VoIP and IM), The Bat! (e-mail client), PopTray
(e-mail check tool), FeedDemon (RSS/Atom feed viewer), XanaNews (newsgroup
reader), Xnews (newsgroup reader)
* Medical Imaging: Sonomed VuMax II Ultrasound Biomicroscope.
* Music production: FL Studio (formerly FruityLoops)
* Shells: SharpE
* Software development: Dev-C++ (IDE), DUnit, Help & Manual (help system
authoring), Inno Setup (installer engine)
* Web authoring: Macromedia HomeSite (HTML editor), TopStyle Pro (CSS editor),
Macromedia Captivate (screencast)
* Web browsers (MSIE shells): Avant Browser, Netcaptor
* Utilities: Spybot - Search & Destroy, Ad-Aware (anti-spyware), Total Commander
(file manager), Copernic Desktop Search, PowerArchiver, ASuite
Clones and alternatives
There are several Object Pascal compilers out there, but there are also products
that try to clone the whole framework provided by Borland Delphi.
Some of these can get Delphi code running in ways not possible with Delphi (such
as supporting different operating systems, free distribution and educational
use, and allowing examination of the compiler source) and allow for some vendor
independence. These are generally used educationally and to get the server parts
of Delphi apps running on non-mainstream operating systems; most had Linux
support years before Kylix.
* Bloodshed Dev-Pascal - A very polished graphical 32-bit Windows editor (though
not RAD) as a frontend for both GNU Pascal and Free Pascal.
* Lazarus is an RAD IDE which uses the Free Pascal Compiler. The internal
classes hierarchy can base itself on several graphical toolkits, such as GTK,
Win32, Windows CE API, Qt and others.
* CrossFPC - a free toolkit to integrate the Free Pascal compiler, targeting
various OS and hardware platforms, into the Windows Delphi IDE. See more about
it from this mailing list discussion.
* OpenSibyl is another effort to build a RAD on top of Free Pascal. However it
is geared towards OS/2, and still in initial stages.
* Virtual Pascal is a x86 32-bit Turbo Pascal and Delphi compatible compiler
mainly aimed at OS/2 and Windows, though it developed a DOS+Extender and an
experimental Linux cross-compiler too. The compiler is on the level of Delphi 2,
the site hasn't changed significantly in two years and the development of
Virtual Pascal has stopped.
May 5th, 2003
Ronald Douson has reviewed a third-party compression component called
FlexCompress from AidAim Software. Read his review here.
April 1st, 2003
Meetup.com is a service that links people together in local communities who
share a specific interest. They added a Delphi category about a week ago, and 70
programmers have signed up since that time.
March 27th, 2003
Marc Scheuner has submitted an article and component called TMSEPayload - a
container for a single file within your EXE.
March 20th, 2003
Thanks goes to our friends in Michigan at Jet Computer Services, Inc. who have
provided an article and component called the TJETClrBtn component. Described in
their own words: "While working on our Text Search and Replace utility (TextRep),
we needed a button that could display a color bar as well as standard button
text. We wanted a visual indication of the color along with text to describe the
option. This component is what we came up with."
July 7th, 2002
UNDU's new job board is open for business. Search for jobs or post a job on the
new UNDU Job Boards. Post your jobs now during our special free introductory job
March 15th, 2002
UNDU is BACK! Welcome to the NEW home of UNDU.COM, generously hosted by Mystic
Software, Inc. As the new owner and administrator of UNDU.Com , let me say how
excited we are to be able to continue the fine legacy of this site. UNDU.COM has
always been an excellent source of Delphi (and Kylix) information, tips,
source-code examples, reviews, etc., and we intend to keep it that way. We will
be updating the site and posting new content frequently, so check back often! We
welcome anyone who would like to submit articles for publication, products to be
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