Posts Tagged delphi 2010

Lots of Little Bits

  1. My last post, Inducing The Great Divide, got quite a reaction. I didn’t really expect the approach to be particularly controversial, but it turns out it was. Lot’s of people asked for more source code and more complex examples and I am happy to oblige. Perhaps it’s a little close to year end to start a series of posts, so we’ll see how that goes.
  2. I really wish Embarcadero would get a Delphi 2010 update out the door already. At first I was really impressed with the product quality, but using it day to day on really big project groups can be really frustrating.
  3. I thought IDE insight would be the number one new feature of Delphi 2010. I use it a lot, but the real winner for me is the new “File groups” feature in the find dialog. I hardly even use the Find in project/group/folder options anymore.
  4. Here is a little oddity I found. Create a new form and place a group box on it. Then, align the group box to a side of the form and restrict its size. For example, align right and set a MaxHeight constraint. In all Delphi versions 2007 and older the effect is similar to setting anchors to the group box. In Delphi 2010 the entire form resizes.

    Funny how seldom-used techniques and undocumented VCL changes can conspire to waste an entire afternoon. And of course that only happens when you are really, really close to a deadline.

  5. I downloaded the new Office 2010 beta and I think I finally figured out Microsoft’s master plan: They are primarily focused on messing with the world’s programmers.

    Seriously.

    Developers that use .NET can tell you all about libraries that replace libraries that replaced libraries that do the same thing. And of course there are two versions of MAPI and three different things called Collaboration Data Objects.

    A quick tour of the Ribbon’s history illustrates the point:

    1. They created the Ribbon as part of Office 2007, Knowing full well that the pressure will be on development shops the world over to bring the latest “Office look” into their apps. Do they make a redistributable library available? Nope, you need to implement it yourself or wait for component vendors (thanks, Jeremy) to implement it.
    2. As soon as all that work was done, out came Windows 7 – with a Ribbon common control library! You can’t – as far as I know – get a redistributable for this to deploy your apps to Vista or XP, so it is only theoretically usable. And of course, it looks completely different.
    3. Out came the Office 2010 beta. Low and behold, it looks completely different! The round Office button that everyone just implemented has disappeared and the Quick Access toolbar is different. You now need a File tab to the left of Home – something they specifically chose not to do in Office 2007 and all the glossy gradients have made way for something that really does represent an AJAX control more than anything.
  6. On the topic of Office – does anyone else find it irritating that Word, Excel and PowerPoint have all implemented MDI in completely different ways?

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Better than you’ve been told…

Strangely, the Delphi 2010 hype machine have slowed down somewhat as we got closer to release date. But I just had my first full day with the new IDE and it’s good.

The installer, I have to say, deflated me somewhat. It was slow, and it kept prompting me for the various bits that needed to be installed – DBPack, Boost and Rave. Unfortunate that they managed to regress in that regard, because the new black look of the installer looks really sharp. Quite unlike 2007/2009’s dove-gray slug.

But i wasn’t let down by the actual product.

All the much-hyped bits are there, and they all seem to work. As noted elsewhere, IDE Insight can do with some synonyms and other little tweaks. But it pops up in under a second and it found everything I went looking for. In time, I’m sure it will become even more handy.

I really wish I had some place to use the new touch features, but that is simply not what my day-job entails. I decided to give it a whack in any case. Literally under a minute’s worth of work to get it going.

I even tried designing a gesture of my own. Not only was it dead simple and intuitive, but the gesture editor even gave me let me know when my gesture was too close to another one. Real slick. Useless to my day-to-day work, but really slick.

What also pleased me are the little gems I found as I went along – Microsoft’s one stated aim with Windows 7 was to delight “early and often” and Delphi 2010 certainly emulated that second bit. Here are the little bits I stumbled upon that I didn’t see mentioned often or at all:

  1. Tab indents a block of code, Shift-Tab unindents. How obvious is that? I use lots of editors (Notepad++ and Visual Studio 2008 both very often) and it’s nice to see Delphi adopt something that’s become a convention.
  2. DBGrid is themed! Fine, they are a little late on this one but a simple recompile of your app can give it an instant UI update.
  3. Class constructors. I know Alan mentioned them after Delphi Live but I didn’t see any mention about them in the recent flurry of information. These are really cool, and I can think of a few places that will receive immediate attention.
  4. Various different views and new icons in Project Manager. Much more intuitive now, and they have even put in some effort to reduce that ridiculously long context menu. The one in the editor though, still sucks.
  5. Find in files now support file groups. So Delphi source folders go into one group, my project source go into another and all the Delphi demos and my own test/play projects go into another. Or something like that. This looks real handy.
  6. New icons for the IDE and applications. This sounds silly, but I presently have icons for Delphi 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 on my quick launch bar. Guess which is the only one to look distinctive. And I think the new icon is very cool.
  7. Windows 7 ITaskbarList3. You know, for all the cool jump lists, progress bars and thumbnail toolbars.

The real winner for me though, is the new RTTI library. I know all the rave reviews have been about attribute support – and I’m sure that rocks – but I was already blown away before I got to it. Just querying objects for their characteristics has now become so rich that it is bound to change the way many things are done.

I have a particular example in mind that I’ll show in a few days.

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