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.


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