My blog about HTML5 Builder has been elementary and positive so far. But I've had problems--I just haven't mentioned them yet. Well, it's time to do that before going further. I'm using the product on two different machines and am having two different experiences.
My main development machine is an older custom-built desktop running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit on an Intel Core2 Quad CPU running at 2.4 GHz with 4 GB RAM. It has a 120 GB solid state hard disk where all the applications are installed, loading HTML5 Builder is pretty quick, only 8 seconds, and loading a simple PHP web server app that loads all the libraries and stuff takes 28 seconds.
My other machine is a Dell Inspiron Duo laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit on an Intel Atom CPU running at 1.5 GHz with 2 GB RAM. It does not have an SSD, but just a standard 300 GB internal hard disk. Starting HTML5 Builder takes 33 seconds and loading a simple PHP web server app with all the libraries, takes almost 1½ minutes. Quite a difference!
Disappearing Property Values and Buttons
The first thing I noticed when developing on my laptop is that whenever I click on a property in the object inspector, the value disappears. I can type in a new value, such as a caption for a label, but I can't see it in the object inspector until I click somewhere else. This does not happen on my desktop machine--I always see the values and what I'm typing. My hunch is the difference stems more from the version of Windows (Home Premium 32-bit versus Professional 64-bit) more than anything else, but why weren't both of these tested and supported before released?
One time, after switching to Options and specifying a default browser, I re-loaded a recent project and found all the tool bar buttons except New Items and Open Project were gone. Remembering F9 as the "Run with Debugging" option, I clicked that and up popped the associated button as it tried to start to run. Loading a different project refreshed all the buttons, going back to the first project had the problem with most buttons missing. It seems like the context in which buttons are loaded might also be tied to the project themselves. Perhaps my project file got corrupted somehow.
Mysterious Break Point
The first day or two just after installing on both machines, I was able to go through simple tutorials and run the simplest of PHP scripts, running through a local browser. I can still get one app to run on my laptop, it simply changes a label at the click of a button. But another one, the original Hello World with nothing more than a label, an edit box, and a button that sets the label to "Hello " and whatever is entered in the edit box, breaks. If I run with debugging, it stops in classes.inc.php in a function called cData. There's no error message, it's as if I put a break-point there. Hitting F9 runs and stops again in the same spot. I have no idea why. Ctrl+F2 stops the application just like Delphi and puts me back in the code editor. I try running without debugging and the web browser comes up giving me hope which is quickly dashed as I read the error message: Call to undefined function use_unit() in classes.inc.php on line 26.
Seriously? I'm having problems with Hello World a few days after installing the product? And why is the function use_unit undefined? Why is the RPCL unit that I haven't touched having problems?
I try different browsers, rebooting the machine, creating a new project, reinstalling HTML5 Builder, uninstalling and reinstalling--all to no avail. What happened???
But one thought comes to mind before I give up. I've been developing on two different machines, sharing the development folder over DropBox. Perhaps the project file doesn't like being opened by two instances of HTML5 Builder on two different operating systems? So I completely shut down my laptop, shut down DropBox and SkyDrive on my desktop, and create a brand new project on my desktop. Another very simple one with just a label and a button. Run, save.... nothing. Nothing?
Nothing happens, no error message, no browser appears. The editor has switched to ReadOnly mode (weird) and all the menus in HTML5 Builder are opening very slowly. It's like the program is doing a lot of something in the background. But while it's taking up nearly half a GB of RAM, the CPU usage is zero.
One more idea
I had noticed that while I was attempting to add components, failed ones were remaining in the list, but just unchecked. I also noticed that uninstalling and reinstalling did not clear anything from the registry. So I went cleaning. I cleaned out the recent projects list, the recent files list, the packages list, everything I could think of that had something to do with what I had been working on. Perhaps some dangling error was still tripping things up.
I loaded HTML5 Builder again (on my laptop) and the simplest PHP app I had worked on, hit Run without Debugging--and it worked! I tried slightly more involved Hello World and that worked, too. I tried Run with Debugging and got that endless loop in cData() again, so I guess I won't be doing any debugging for a while.
After all this, I'm down to one machine. The above semi success was on my laptop; my desktop won't run any PHP app of any sort any more, debugging or not. And it won't exit when I tell it to--it just hangs and I have to "end task" it.
While I got one thing to work, this has been very time-consuming and is very definitely a huge negative against the product. I'll keep going for now because I'm curious about the mobile part, but I'll have to have some very positive experiences with other portions to make up for this.
Well, I was going to keep trying other aspects of HTML5 Builder and work around some of the issues hoping there would be updates eventually, but I ran out of time before the trial ended. With such a bad start to the experience, and so many others online with similar or worse situations, I just can't justify the time.
You'd think after all this time, this product would at least have the PHP part working well. They started with PHP for Delphi back in 2007 (see Dr. Bob's roadmap), had two versions of that, had two versions of RadPHP XE, this is the fifth major release and it still can't run for more than a week? That's completely unacceptable.
I'm disappointed to have to do this, but... Good-bye HTML5 Builder.
DPI problem in Windows
I also had this disappearing text problem in the property editor, I suspected that it could be related to the large font (DPI) settings in windows.
I have a Full HD resolution laptop and I had the 125% setting set. Once I set it to 100% I could see the properties and edit them normally.
I have had many other problems when developing with the 125% font size, not only disappearing texts. (Let's just say I will not be using this setting anymore).
David, you have my sympathy. I went through most of this with RADPHP in XE and then XE2. More fool me that I put down good money for XE2, but I just couldn't believe it was the product failing. Surely it was a well-tested quality product from the folk who sell Delphi, so it must be my fault!
I too went through the multi-machine testing, total uninstall, re-install, strip down to basic elements, work it out step-by-step, and found the darned thing just didn't work.
At least this time, (HTML5-Builder) I just downloaded the trial, and didn't spend weeks on it.
Final straw was when the thing crashed, it wants to send home a message to the developers: the email address it sent it to bounced! I guess they didn't want to hear any more.