Coming in Delphi 12 is very cool feature that will save cross-platform developers a lot of time. But first, a reminder: This blog post is based on a pre-release version of the RAD Studio software and it has been written with specific permission by Embarcadero. No feature is committed until the product GA release.
As I've been going through the Delphi 12 beta, I'm delighted to see many fixes and enhancements in the IDE to help the programming experience feel more fluid and intuitive. As with all beta versions being discussed, this blog post is based on a pre-release version of the RAD Studio software and it has been written with specific permission by Embarcadero. No feature is committed until the product GA release.
There have been several iterations of the Delphi IDE's Welcome Page, or the first page that you see by default when you start Delphi without a project. This space has been used for keeping a list of favorite projects for convenient loading, marketing of related products by Embarcadero, and quick links to tutorials and resources. Delphi 11 introduced, in my opinion, the best interface yet as it's completely customizable by the user and provides an API for writing your own plug-ins to provide additional functionality.
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.
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.
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.
The Delphi Debate series continues with another topic that has been discussed back and forth for ages. This time, instead of a procedure or function in the RTL, we are talking about three reserved words: the with, goto, and label statements which pre-date Delphi--they are part of the core Pascal language itself!
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.
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.
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?
In my last blog entry, I explained how I converted my original company logo in JPG format to SVG. That's sort-of like reverse-engineering to get the source code. Now that I have my logo in SVG format, I can more easily manipulate it and create custom derivations for specific purposes.
I do a lot of contract programming in a niche market that requires small, custom-written, import/export programs. Some of these can are copied with few modifications for similar customers. Once in a while, there's a common need where the application can be used by several customers. In those instances, I need to implement some form of licensing and accountability but I didn't want anything too elaborate nor do I want to incur ongoing charges for an online API for the one-time pricing structure of the projects I work on.
Writing REST applications in Delphi is pretty simple with the advanced components we have available these days. The functionality encapsulated allows us to spend time on the business and user interface aspects of development rather than the nuances of connecting to an API and parsing JSON results. When starting a new REST app, I usually use the REST Debugger that comes in RAD Studio to test out an API before building the app itself. There are other REST API tools but this one has a great feature that saves me time building my Delphi app that no other tool has.
At the top of Delphi's code editor, is a Navigation Toolbar with several "jump lists" as I like to call them. They help you find and jump to places in your code quickly by selecting them from lists built by the parsing engine in Delphi. There are also shortcut keys that allow you to use them without taking your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse.