Thursday, November 13, 2014

Delphi in Spaaaace!

Ok, not in space, but writing software in support of a really cool mission in space.

I was also a little jazzed to hear about some Canadian participation in the Rosetta project.

This isn't a one shot deal, either. Apparently, Delphi has been used at NASA as well.

Update:

David I followed up with Kristofer Skaug, who commented some more on the Rosetta project and Delphi.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Developer Skill Sprints are resuming

After taking a short break for CodeRage, Embarcadero has announced their next series of Developer Skill Sprints.

These are short, bite sized tutorials, each focused on a specific feature or topic. There is a new sprint scheduled for every Tuesday between tomorrow (November 4th) and the end of the year.

Sessions are broadcast at 6AM, 11AM and 5PM PST, followed by a live Q&A. If you can't attend the original broadcasts, replays will be made available. Be patient with the replays. They are cleaned up and edited to include relevant parts of the Q&A, which can take some time.

The list of topics looks really good. I'm looking forward to attending at least half of these.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book! Book! Book!

"You cannot open a book without learning something."
-- Confucius

I have always had a thing for technical books, both printed and, now, electronic editions. EBooks are convenient and searchable, but there's just something about having a physical book that's hard to beat. As it turns out, I'm in luck. There are a surprising number of Delphi books being published right now, each with their own unique perspective and most are (or will be) available in both formats.

Here are some recent examples.

1) Object Pascal Handbook (Marco Cantu)

Marco is the Rad Studio product manager and a well known author in the Delphi community with his Delphi Handbook series and many other titles. This latest book promises to be a comprehensive reference for the Object Pascal language as it exists in Delphi today. It includes thorough explanations of concepts and language constructs along with code examples to help drive the points home. There is plenty of commentary, too. I especially liked the sections on GOTO and WITH.

A draft copy (70% complete?) is available now as part of a current promotion. Once it's completed, a printed version will be published.

One minor quibble - I understand that the product name is Delphi and the language is (and always has been!) Object Pascal, but it wouldn't hurt my feelings to see the word "Delphi" on the cover somewhere. Just sayin'...


2) Coding in Delphi (Nick Hodges)

There is more to software development than just coding. Nick has chosen to write about several modern programming concepts and then how to take advantage of these in Delphi. This feels less like a Delphi reference book and more like one of those deep conversations you might have with a bunch of fellow developers about the cool and interesting things everyone is working with.

Nick's book is available to registered users of XE7 (and maybe earlier?). In fact, it's available to anyone who downloads and registers the XE7 trial. It is also available for sale as either an e-book or hard copy. This book has become a permanent fixture on my desk.


3) Delphi Cookbook (Daniele Teti)

The "cookbook" format is one of my favourites for technical reference books, and Daniele's interpretation is no exception. The book includes 50 useful and non-trivial recipes that guide you through the steps to implement each of them in a way that makes it all look easy. I especially liked the chapter on servers.

I learned about this book by accident while listening to an unrelated webinar shortly before it was released and pre-ordered the electronic and printed versions (now on my desk next to Nick's). I was surprised that I didn't hear about it sooner, but I'm glad I didn't miss it.


4) Delphi Courseware Manuals (Bob Swart)

If you want to take a deep dive into any subject, the best way I can think of is through instructor-led training with someone who knows it inside and out. The next best thing might be the course material written by that same person. In addition to books for previous versions of Delphi, Bob has three manuals for XE7. One has been released, and the other two will be out soon.



The courseware gets refined and added to over time, and the electronic version includes twelve months of updates. I wouldn't mind seeing more of these available in hard copy, though.


Funny story - My brother and a good friend of mine had children born around the same time. I sent them both a printed copy of Delphi XE Development Essentials (an excellent release!) with the note "Baby's first Delphi". My friend was all for it. My brother thinks I'm being a bad influence. :)


Conclusion:

If you find any of these useful or interesting, then consider showing the authors some love and ordering a copy (or three). Even the ones that registered Delphi users get for free.

Writing a book, especially a good book, is hard work and it takes a lot of time. I want to do anything I can to encourage these guys (and anyone else) to write more of them. For my part, I intend to buy a copy of every (English language) Delphi book that is published from here on out. Let me know if I've missed any.

Update: Wait! There's more!

5) Delphi in Depth: ClientDataSets, 2nd Edition (Cary Jensen)

ClientDataSet is my absolute favourite component, even edging out FireDAC's FDMemTable. I use it EVERYWHERE. Cary has talked about ClientDataSet more than anyone I know and then wrote the definitive book on the subject.

I strongly considered including this book in the original list even though it isn't a new publication. And then today (Oct 30), while listening to one of Cary's CodeRage lectures, I learned that he has been working on an update that brings everything up to date with Delphi XE7. It should be ready later this year and will also be available in printed and electronic forms.

Honourable Mention:

Delphi Developer Days Coursebook (Bob Swart & Cary Jensen)

This is the culmination of many years of Delphi Developer Days conferences and contains some information that I haven't seen published anywhere else. The latest version weighs in at over 400 pages and is updated every year to include the latest Delphi features.

However, this book isn't available for sale anywhere. You can only get a copy by attending Delphi Developer Days. Stay tuned to their site for the 2015 dates.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rad Studio XE7 stealth feature - IBLite for desktop!

IBLite is a free, embedded version of Interbase that was released last year. First for iOS and then for Android. The Interbase roadmap hinted that a desktop version was in the works, but if you weren't looking for it, you might have missed that support for Windows and OS X was included with Rad Studio XE7. Stephen Ball goes in to more detail. (Original link seems flaky. Here is a cached copy)

I thought there would be a higher profile announcement. I don't currently use Interbase, and kind of stumbled across this by accident, but it certainly caught my attention.

Some of my applications are stand alone or occasionally connected with their own local database storage. Situations where installing a separate database server would be overkill. When I can, I like using the same database for this everywhere. This means consistent features and SQL syntax, I can share common code and data I don't need separate data administration tools for different applications. Cost is also a consideration. I'm fine to pay for a good database, but I don't like license fees at the best of times, let alone for an embedded database.

There are any number of great solutions for this on Windows, and everyone has their favourites (I'm looking at you ElevateSoft), but there are fewer choices once you throw Mac and mobile into the mix.

Which leaves me with two options - SQLite and now Interbase (IBLite), each with its own advantages.

I have been using SQLite and like it, but IBLite seems to be more robust with support for stored procedures and more complete SQL. I've also been bitten a couple of times by SQLite's dynamic column typing.

Either way, both databases are fully supported in Delphi Professional and higher on every platform that Delphi currently targets - Windows, OS X, iOS and Android.

I like having options.

Friday, August 22, 2014

RAD Studio XE7 World Tour in September

Lately there have been more and more hints that RAD Studio XE7 is about to be released, and if you buy XE6 before Sept 5th, you automatically get the upgrade to XE7. That might be a pretty good hint that a release is pretty close.

Of course, an even bigger hint would be announcing the launch tour.

One leg of the tour will include:
- New York - Sept 9
- Montreal - Sept 10
- Santa Monica - Sept 10
- Toronto (yay!) - Sept 11
- Vancouver - Sept 11

More dates to follow.

If you're planning to attend, register early before they run out of space. And make a point of sticking around and talking to the presenters. Part of their job is to take your feedback and concerns back to Embarcadero.

If you can't make it to one of the live events, Tim Del Chiaro announced a preview webinar on September 4th.

And apparently, the Vancouver and Santa Monica events will be broadcast live. That's something new.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New link for Ray Konopka webinar

I previously posted about Embarcadero's Developer Skill Sprints, and in particular, today's session with Ray Konopka.

Unfortunately, if you registered for the skill sprints, the confirmation you received may be for sessions that begin on August 5th, skipping today's sessions.

Here is the direct link for at least the 6:00 AM PDT session, already in progress.

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 6:00 AM - 7:00 AM PDT


Update:

This seems to be a bit of a registration snafu.  Since it skips this last session for anyone who either registered at the last minute or re-registered for the new sessions before receiving the link for today's webinar, Embarcadero has decided to replay today's sessions on August 5th.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Learn about generics from Ray Konopka

Over the past couple of months Embarcadero has been hosting Developer Skill Sprints.  Each one is a short presentation concentrating on a specific topic or feature, followed by a Q&A session.

A new skill sprint is presented every Tuesday and Thursday and is shown at 6:00 AM, 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM PDT.  Registration and replays are available on the landing page.  They cover a wide range of topics, so everyone will hopefully find at least a few of them really interesting.  Replays are edited to include the relevant parts of the Q&A, so they aren't always available right away.

They have recently added a new session for July 31 - Effectively Using Delphi Generics with Ray Konopka

Knowing Ray, there will be something to learn whether you have used generics since they were first available in Delphi 2009 or just haven't gotten around to it yet.

This is the last skill sprint listed, but it was mentioned in one of the Q&A sessions that more will be added, so stay tuned.

Update:

Nine new sessions have been added and are listed on the registration form.

Update 2:

 Apparently there was a registration problem with today's webinar.  Embarcadero will be replaying it next Tuesday on August 5th.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Free Appmethod SKU - Download available

After teasing a free version of Appmethod at AnDevCon last week, Embarcadero released a new version of Appmethod today, which includes the "Free Forever" SKU.  The download link and FAQ are available on the pricing page.

While the previous version was based on XE5, the new one is based on Rad Studio XE6, Update 1, which was also released today.

I was hoping that the free version would include Delphi.  Sadly (for me), it seems that only C++ is supported.

Update:

If you want to take a look at what's new, including the free version, Embarcadero has a webinar on June 25th.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Free Appmethod SKU announced at AnDevCon

If you've been following the progress of Appmethod since it was announced in March, you might remember that a free version was mentioned, but we haven't heard a lot about it since.

Recently Embarcadero has been doing the rounds at different mobile development conferences.  At AnDevCon, Palak Shaw and Sarina Dupont did an interview where they confirmed that a free version will be released for Android devices and that it should be available in the next couple of weeks (around the 20 minute mark).

Nice!

For more information on Appmethod, check out the official page or the Community site.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RAD Studio XE6 released - First Look webinar tomorrow

RAD Studio XE6 was released today. Customers with support and maintenance are downloading it now, and a trial version is available.

More details are available on the official product page and In the What's New section of the DocWiki.  In addition to new features (more on these later), and as promised, there is also a fairly impressive, but apparently incomplete list of bug fixes.

Embarcadero will be showing off this new release tomorrow with a First Look webinar followed by a Q&A session.  If you can't attend tomorrow, then a replay should be available soon.