Wednesday, September 28, 2005

World Premiere: DeXter IDE at EKON 9

Well, finally I get around to show you the first pictures of DeXter, the fourth generation of Borland Developer Studio. Presented by DavidI and Jason Vokes, it was a great show with live(!) coding, which didn't happen in a long time. However, first Markus Hebach showed us Together, but I wont care at this point. He got 10 minutes only, anyway.

And then, Jason started his DeXter show. And yes, it was a show, no PowerPoint slides, just DeXter. What a great thing to do.

First off he showed us that the dbExpress components made it into the IDE database explorer, you are not tied to the BDP anymore.

Next he showed us the integrated Together product, at least a first hint. Within the IDE you can now model UML 1.5 and 2.0. So finally a reason to learn that as well. Btw, those are two way for the Delphi personality now. Code and go to the design, change the model and go back to the code!

Another new neat feature is the posibility to position the client window within the IDE. At the lower right corner of the designer you see a small window where you have a icon of your window and you position it relative to the desktop or the main window of your application.

Some have seen them in VS.NET 2005 beta editions and we get them as well: Designer Guide Lines :-) As you move close to borders or at the same level of other components on the form those appear and help you to align controls to each other.

Especially interesting are the guide lines which are shown to guide you when trying to align text base lines with each other.

We've seen it already on BDN, but to see it live is better. Guide for save states of your code. No color (or white) is unchanged code since loading of the file (or project?), green has been changed and saved and yellow has been changed, but not saved yet.

New are the code templates. They integrate right into the code insight dropdown list. While typing they automatically complete your code and give you code navigation to complete the code as fast as possible. Though, it takes some time to get used to it ;-)

Having code templates is great, but it comes better. They are fully programable. The templates are held in XML and the original all come with their source for us to learn from.

We get many new refectorings for Delphi. Jason only showed, time was short, the possibility to alter the parameter list with just a few clicks. cool!

Then he continued to show some Together funtions. Fast, he added a few foo-classes to a Delphi VCL-form unit and switched into the Together designer.

Then he changed the classes a little in the designer and added some properties and methods. And switched back to the code (sorry, got no picture from that). So yes, we get a two-way-designer interface.

Here the Classes unit in the Togther diagram.

Not good? Oh yes, it is. He started the automated documentation tool and we got a fully browsable HTML site explaining the classes, properties and methods of the unit. Great, but again, no picture of the browser, I'll ask around.

Next, he showed a little of the power of the Designer. We will get pattern support for the different personalities of the IDE. Simply choose one and let Delphi do the rest for you.

While class models are to be expected, DeXter will bring along a few more, like use cases, component design, and so on.

Last, but not least he showed some DeXter features. A simple many-to-many-to-many relation with *tadaaa* state machines. State machines will allow you to define the state of any object and create a workflow for their use in the model.

At the end DavidI showed us some of the many new features of the C++Builder personality. Mostly he showed things which come for C++Builder, but are not available in the Delphi personality yet. But he also showed things like the history view and designer guide lines, which are available as well in C++Builder.

And a great feature for C++Builder is the possibility to manage build events. You can define actions to be taken in Pre-build, Post-build, and the Pre-Link events.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jason Vokes does his product presentation

Well, back again online. Jason Vokes presentation was right after DavidI's jvokes and now I'll show you some of the things we saw there. First off, Jason has shown what he likes to show, slides with some of the awards Delphi has collected over the recent ten years.

DavidI at EKON 9

He has shown some slides featuring ECO, the Enterprice Core Objects, and he has said how great it is to use. Though he forgot to tell us how to actually use it, which imo is still very hard to get started with.

DavidI showing ECO success

Also, he has shown the same slides as DavidI did, the Delphi roadmap, hopping not to loose his job over showing that. I don't think he will. Well, once again he mentioned something about a native 64 Bit compiler for Delphi and C++Builder.

Delphi roadmap 2005-2008

Then, finally he has shown first bits of DeXter, though just inside his PowerPoint slide show. You see the new VCL bubbles in the designer, it's either a love-or-hate thing for me. Further he talked about new "live designer guide lines," which will come with DeXter. Further and finally a long dreaded wait has ended, we get our very own block completion. But see it in the picture of his slide.

DeXter features

With DeXter we will get a fully integrated Together, the UML designer from Borland.

Together in DeXter

Now, even better. Borland has replaced the old an outdated memory manager with the one provided by the opensource FastCode project. This will boost the performance of the IDE as well as in our applications - just by recompiling! Something to look forward to.

FastCode Memory Manager inside DeXter

ECO, the flagship of the Delphi Architect editions will come with its basics into all DeXter editions. So, even a "Professional" user can get started on ECO and try out the power within. Though, as previously mentioned, try to get started before getting excited about it ;-) For the larger editions, we will get "State Machines" for our models and other nice features.

DeXter, ECO and all

Next, a simply fully filles slide with some of the new and improved things in the VCL and the database side of the Borland Developer Studio.

New in DeXter

And finally a slide for the C++Builder users. They will get an up-to-date VCL, the same that Delphi users do get, not one version behind. They will get all the same tools: refactoring, project manager, really cool build option settings, and, and, and...

C++Builder in DeXter

Stay tuned for more...

EKON 9 - Keynote by DavidI

Well, now that Jason Vokes speaks about Delphi 2005, I'll blog the first information about DavidI's (Chief Cheerleader) keynote here at the EKON. He shortly talked about the developer point of view on ALM and SDO, we've all heard in the last months/years so much about.

DavidI at EKON 9

In the second half he presented a roadmap of Delphi for the next two, three years. Interesting to see what will come. He talked about DeXter, the next version of Delphi, which brings back C++Builder to the Borland community.

Delphhi, C++, Delphi.NET, C#

He made sure that each of us understands that DeXter is about quality, that Borland has understood that last versions wheren't up to the standards we expect, that even Borland themselves expect. So I think that's a good start.

Productivity and Performance

Last, but not least, DavidI talked about the future of Delphi. He announced DeXter for the end of this year, including 64bit support for .NET, which is just a milestone to native 64 Bit! Highlander, for .NET 2.0 is coming along and will be available through different milestones in the middle of next year. Further, Borland is working on Delphi for Windows Vista and brings the VCL to Avalon and again in a time frame of 2 to 3 years, there is a good chance for Delphi and C++Builder 64 Bit native compilers!

Delphi and C++Builder 64 Bit

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Developing for .NET Compact Framework with Delphi "DeXter"

On Tuesday, Jeroen Wiert Pluimers will show at the EKON how to develop applications for the MS.NET Compact Framework. He will be using Borland DeXter, the next generation of Borland Delphi which includes Delphi for Windows, Delphi for .NET, C#Builder, and C++Builder.

Be sure to come back and check my blog. I will take some pictures with my digi cam and post them here. Or do you want to miss more pictures of your favorite IDE? Too bad though I'll miss Bernd Ua and Bob Swart, which both held sessions at the same time.

P.S.: I hope the session wont be canceled, and I hope they'll allow pictures ;-)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Going to EKON

Next week the EKON - Entwicklerkonferenz (engl. developer conference) - will be held in Frankfurt. The main event will be from Tuesday to Thursday, while Monday and Friday "Power Workshops" are held. Further Monday is a "Management Day" with a focus on strategic topics in technology.

I will be at the EKON Monday through Thursday and during some/most of the breaks at the Borland booth. I would be glad to meet you there. I'll try to blog daily something about the events there.

Come and join other developers. Btw, I will meet DavidI there and give him the questionaire I have mentioned before. Let's see what will happen ;-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Redistributing the MS .NET Framework 2.0 Beta 2

Sinan Karaca of InstallAware has published an installer for the MS .NET Framework 2.0 Redistributable in the InstallAware Forum.

This sample project has been tested on all supported .NET 2.0 platforms, including Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, and 2003. Various service packs have been tested and the installation successfully installs .NET 2.0 beta 2 on each supported platform.

The whole package is 19MB in size and(!) includes the MS Installer 3.0. The savings, compared the Microsofts original package are apprx. 30%.

So, once again he has demonstrated the power of InstallAware, which is available from

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Access Violation when importing Amazon Webservice WSDL

When importing the WebService interface from Amazon into Delphi 7/2005 you'll get an access violation. While this is not the only WSDL with that problem, this is probably the most well known one.

The problem lies in the Delphi WSDL importer, which cannot distinguish inlined complex types, such as 'items' in 'CartAddRequest'. The problem is in the logic that maps a named array (in this case 'items') to a class. That logic must be enabled for the top level type but not for the nested ones. Unfortunately, Delphi doesn't distinguish between the two and enables it for the nested one as well. You should be able to avoid the AV by turning off that mapping (i.e. by using the -Ok- command line switch).

However, the code generated will not work in cases where you need to access an serialized array with a specified name, since Pascal and C++ don't
provide for a way to associate a type name with an array (syntactically they
do but that information is not kept in the compiler's typeinfo about the
type) the array element name will be serialized with the wrong name.

Now, it is possible that the code generated might work for you if you are not using some operations that involve named array types.

Thanks to Jean-Marie Babet for pointing that out.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Allen rules :)

Allen has done it again! Yesterday he has posted yet another patch for Delphi 2005 which should help to eliminate some (or most or even all) hangs that repeatidly stop you from working with Delphi 2005. It is once again a "no risk - no fun" patch and an all extremely informal and no warranties, expressed or implied patch to make Delphi just better :-)
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