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Thoughts from David Cornelius

For Historical Purposes

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Early in my career, I was studying the code of an application written for the Apple II in preparation for developing something similar on the PC and would often ask questions of the original programmer. Most of the time, I'd get valuable information about the purpose of a routine or why something was done a particular way. But every once in a while, when pressed for an explanation, the programmer would think for a minute, then simply utter, "For Historical Purposes" and walk away chuckling.

Thankful for Delphi

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This time of year in the United States is marked by a major holiday, Thanksgiving, the last Thursday of November. It is during this time that ad campaigns, religious organizations, and families everywhere tend to step up their recognition of everything they're thankful for. As a software developer, I'd like to hook into this theme and highlight features of programming tools I use that make my life better--most notably, Delphi--and create my own "thankfulness" list.

Resisting Windows 11

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I like to keep all my computers upgraded with the latest versions of their respective operating systems. This goes for Mac and Android devices as well as all machines running Windows--even my virtual machines get the most recent upgrades whenever I use them. My development systems all use Windows but only one has been upgraded to Windows 11--the rest are still on Windows 10.

Multiple Installs of Firebird

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As a Delphi developer, you might be working with the popular and free Firebird database engine. There are several versions and if you have multiple clients or applications, including some legacy ones that are in maintenance mode, there might be a need to have multiple instances of the Firebird servers installed side-by-side. If you're like me, you might forget which versions are listening on which ports and so use a utility like CurrPorts to remind you. But if you don't use a particular database service very often, it might not be started--or not even installed on the machine on which you're working. If you also have InterBase running, there might be conflicting or generic service names like "gdb" which doesn't tell you which engine it's for nor which version. This confusion can be reduced if you make a few configuration file changes and install the Firebird services yourself. Here's how.

Using the Vault API

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Nearly two years ago, Idera acquired apilayer, a collection of various cloud-based APIs. Idera being Embarcadero's parent company (and Embarcadero being the publisher of my favorite development tool, Delphi), I was interested to see what this was all about and looked at the handful of APIs available. One caught my eye and I made a note to come back and check it out more when the time was right.

Delphi Debates: Assigned

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As a Delphi MVP, I was surveyed on my stance of the use of FreeAndNil. In that questionnaire was included a question about the use of Assigned(). Really? Is that debated as well? I couldn't find anything on the internet debating this except for an old discussion on StackOverflow. I use this function frequently and as I looked more deeply at what it does, I'm even more confident of its use.

Delphi Debates: FreeAndNil

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When freeing an object in Delphi, simply calling its Free method calls the object's destructor and releases the memory allocated to the instance of the object. But it doesn't change the address of the referencing variable which, therefore, still points to the place in memory where the object existed. The released memory can be quickly reused by other objects or resources and if you try to access the object again without re-creating it, you could get an Access Violation or some other error or worse yet, unpredictable behavior.

Delphi's Find in Files Trick

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You've probably used Delphi's Find in Files feature to search for an identifier or library function through multiple folders of source code. If you have backups of your source or multiple projects with copied or similar sets of routines and check the "Include subdirectories" checkbox, the search results could contain a lot of duplicates taking extra time to wade through them all. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to fine-tune the folders being searched?

There is!

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