Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Developer Studio 2006: finally targetting the impaired developers again

Borland, especially Steve Trefethen, has put a focus on getting the VCL (read ActionBand Components) ready to be used by visually impared people. Since Borland Delphi 6, the Delphi IDE has used those components itself, virtually making it impossible to use by people who have to rely on screen readers, such as JAWS. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into Windows, helping those people. Learn more about it at the Microsoft Accessibility web site.

Well, with the Developer Studio 2006, Borland has enhanced the VCL components to work with (for) such screen readers. And thus, the Developer Studio itself can be used again by visually impaired (read: blind) people. The first edition in 6 years!

Recently I got to know Marco, who is in this situation. He is happy being able to work with the new Delphi. Not everything works just now - image using Together without seeing, but the base parts are back working. He can design forms, use the editor, use the IDE menu again, read error messages, etc. Be sure to check with his blog he just started. He is in the midst of getting JAWS scripts ready to work with the IDE, hopefully he will share tose, or even sell them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Eager to use Delphi.NET for .NET 2.0? Start now!

Yesterday I played with the DCCIL command line compiler and noticed an interesting compiler switch called clrversion. And yes, it does exactly what its name suggest, it loads another CLR version of .NET, rather than the default one "v1.1.4322".

Therefore, I took out my .NET 2.0 installer and installed it in my BDS 2006 test VM. It never saw the version 2.0 of .NET before ;-) So far so good. I started the Developer Studio 2006 and created a new, simple console application. Thanks to the .NET SDK from my Visual Studio 2005 VM I found a simple test case rather fast.
program SimpleSampleNET2;



System.Console.BackgroundColor :=

Console applications for the MS.NET Framework 1.1 do not support changing the background color through System.Console.BackgroundColor. So it does not compile within the Developer Studio against the .NET 1.1.

Okay, create a .dpr file, copy this "complex" lines into it and save it into a folder on your disk with the name SimpleSampleNET2. Enter following command line into your command line (will not work yet, but never mind that now; not the path for the -NS switch!): dccil -CC -NSC:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 --clrversion:v2.0.50727 --no-config SimpleSampleNET2.dpr

You'll see the Delphi compiler loading the .NET 2.0 framework. The success is announced in line 3: .NET Framework v2.0.50727 loaded. Next it'll load some of the assemblies needed and create the "dcpil" files as needed. However, it stops with an error when trying to include the Borland System unit: SimpleSampleNET2.dpr(1) Fatal: F1026 File not found: 'Borland.Delphi.System.dcuil'

Well, go to $(BDS)\source\dotNet\rtl and copy the file Borland.Delphi.System.pas to your application path. Now you simply need to recompile the system unit for .NET 2.0, using the following command line: dccil -CC -NSC:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 --clrversion:v2.0.50727 --no-config -Q -M -y -Z -$D- Borland.Delphi.System.pas. Never mind the warnings and that single hint there.

Now, compile your little application again: dccil -CC -NSC:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727 --clrversion:v2.0.50727 --no-config SimpleSampleNET2.dpr. Success!

Now, in the command line, start your little application. If you do not have "Blue" as background color already, it should be changed now, as we have done just that in our code. It works! It is a .NET 2.0 application written and compiled with the Delphi 2006 .NET compiler. Just to be sure, copy that little application on a computer that only has .NET 2.0 installed (not .NET 1.1) and test it. It'll work just the same there.

Take it from here and have fun!


On Request I have bundled a small package for you ( 8KB). It contains:
  • make.bat
  • SimpleSampleNET2.dpr
  • SimpleSampleNET2.exe
It does not contain the Borland.Delphi.System.pas file! Copy that from your installation path as instructed above prior to running make.bat.

Borland "DevCo" publishes an updated Road Map

You may recall my post from the EKON 9 where I showed you the road map Borland showed us for Delphi for the first time ever. Well, we all have heard by now, that Borland has been doing some updates and when you read the PDF from the DavidI has shown during the Japan Developer Conference, you will see the new road map on page 19.

Updated Road Map

Besides the updates names you see a few small changes in the time line. Highlander has moved back to the beginning of 2007, rather than the middle of this year. Delphi for Vista seems to have moved a little, too. Therefore Windows Vista is mentioned for Highlander as well and(!) much more interesting, ECO will be coming for the VCL.NET. That is something I call commitment to the VCL.

Take yourself some time and read the full PDF, there are more road maps and some interesting information in it ;-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Connecting your Work Areas

Today I called a friend of mine at Borland Germany. Last time I visited their offices he told me about a program he uses to connect his computers to one keyboard/mouse setup. Since then I forgot all about it, including the name.

As life goes, I talked with another friend of mine about just this, so as written above, I called Borland ;-) The program he mentioned is called Synergy.

It is open source and works on different platforms (Unix, Linux, Windows, ...). You install the program on each computer/work station you want to connect. One has to be the server. This computer will offer the keyboard and mouse for each of the computers you connect. After the initial setup you can use the same mouse and keyboard on each of the connected computers. This considerably cleans up your desktop. All you have to do is get enough room for all those screens ;-) Anyway, it's quite cool. It even shares the clipboard among all computers.

Go and give it a try ;-)

More Delphi Videos launched today

Daniel R. Wolf has published two new videos for the Borland "DevCo" Developer Studio 2006 at the Delphi-PRAXiS.

The first video (German) demonstrates the new Refactoring and Together Features, that came with the Borland "DevCo" Developer Studio 2006. The second video (English) is a little more fun and shows the powers of DOOM in Delphi. You have to watch that one!

Both videos are available in 1280x1024 and in 960x768 resolution. The bigger ones are usually less in size, since the smaller ones are render down using anti-aliasing, which again the video codec does not shrink as good ;-)

Have fun and enjoy!

Do you have a Delphi Blog in your Language?

If so, please send me the Blog URL, RSS, RDF or Atom Url and just to be sure, tell me which language it is written in.

Mail to dwischnewski {at} gmail [dot] com

Thank you,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Task accomplished, moved our system onto Delphi 2006

After I had crashed my office computer two weeks ago, I finally decided to install Delphi again. Now, usually comes the question which versions do I want and in which order would I want to install those.

Since we do not actively support our product version 3 anymore, which is out of development over three years now, I decided to not install Delphi 5 again. If a bug arises within the core our customers have lived with it for about 4 to 5 years now. So there will be a sensible way around. Further did we not receive any bug messages for over 2 and a half years on this version, so that I feel fine with this decision. Delphi 5 will not be installed on the development machine again. Good bye good ol' friend. *wave*

Now, I had to decide for our current product release, Content ACE v4, which is in release 3 by now. The baby is one and a half years old and I did do big changes at its core during the last three months. Not even bug fixes on my part :-) So, I decided, I do not want to install Borland Delphi 7 again, just for our main product ;-)

Dare me! I will try to move the whole setup to the Borland Developer Studio 2006 and finally get the advantage of those new memory manager, the FastCode Project functions, better string handling and so on. Especially the IDE is what prompted me to take that step.

Five hours later I just got finished with the first test runs of the system. We are talking here of about 100 MB Source Codes (including the ModelMaker models) compiled into 50 executables, libraries, resource files, etc. I had to get the three 3rd-party libraries up-to-date and installed, which was relativly painless. Worse was the setup of the whole environment as we had restructured our server infrastructure last week. All search paths needed to be adapted. :-|

Anyway, we have just moved the binaries to our primary web server and after 5 minutes of update-time it is up and running again. First performance results should be in within 48 hours, a more detailed set of data in about a week. Stay tuned to see what a simple re-compile of your old Delphi 7 applications will do to their performance with the Borland "DevCo" Developer Studio 2006.
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