It is almost time for a new release! If you’d like to see what 3.07 will contain – or if you just want to test it before it is out – click here. [If you are a serious OTL user - and especially if you are using pre-Seattle Delphi - please test your program(s) with the beta release. Thanks!] I have started work on OTL 4.0 which will (fingers crossed) fully support cross-platorm work. Yup, it will work on all platforms that Delphi can compile for! Multiplatform support was implemented by Sean B. Durkin so if OTL/Mobile is something you were waiting for a long time, go to OmniThreadLibrary-For-Mobile Google+ community and express your gratitude. Read more »--- Published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license
Nick and Jim discuss cool mobile apps built with FireMonkey.
SoundJuke turns your smartphone into your personal jukebox at any public site. It uses a combination of these Embarcadero tools in building the app: Delphi for iOS and Android, Cloud API, Parallel Programming API, REST Client Library. If your customer likes what they hear, they’ll spend more time in your store.
EarMaster turns your iPad into a private music training classroom. Powered by FireMonkey and TMS iCL plus it also uses SQLite, SSL, In-App purchases, XML and Indy components in the app. The IDE extensions CnPack and MMX were also very valuable. This video provides an excellent introduction. EarMaster is the Most Advanced App for Music Theory and Ear Training on iOS.
Pocketslip will eliminate those pesky paper receipts once and for all. Pocketslip it is powered by Delphi for iOS and Android, Cloud API, Parallel Programming API, REST Client Library and FireDAC. Fast and secure point-of-sale, integrated digital receipts for you and your customers. These videos will provide insight into Pocketslip.
Switchboard turns your iPhone into, well, a fully featured and networked phone system in the palm of your hand. It is for the iPhone only and uses Delphi for iOS, Cloud API, Parallel Programming API, and REST Client Library. This video will provide some details.
Alpemix is a remote desktop for increasing your productivity wherever you might happen to be in the world. It is a multi-platform system compatible with iOS, Windows Mac OS X and Android so you can be productive under all circumstances and is built on the Delphi platform. More detail is available here.
ValidIN is a mobile medical app that networks Croatian biomedical laboratories so that blood samples can be validated quickly and accurately. It is built on the Delphi platform for iOS and Android using FireDAC and DataSnap as well.
MindGlow is a powerful meditation tool you can use to induce your mind into states of peace in those times when stress might just be a bit too much. It uses Embarcadero Delphi and FireMonkey but also Apple’s Core Audio and Google’s Android AudioTrack. More and more, the research is showing that meditation has physical health benefits. From reduced cortisol, to increase in HRV, meditation can and will improve your health. To gain the most of these physical benefits, Delta sessions is critical. Serious trainers and elite athletes know that recovery and rest is an essential component to pushing past physical limits and improving overall health. Delta meditation does this in spades! MindGlow is a fascinating app. Learn more here.
In today's development landscape, natively compiled code is making a significant comeback, even if in a fairly different variety of scenarios. RAD Studio has always been focused on it and developers using Delphi and C++Builder probably experience its advantages without even noticing them.
Natively Compiled Code: A Comeback?
Let me clarify the terms first. I refer to natively compiled code as code that is compiled (at some time of the process) into machine code the target CPU can execute. As you start your application, there i no further conversion to take place. I mean, like the output of a traditional compiler producing a binary executable, but not only.
Now while this model is still extremely popular (and it is going to remain mainstream, I'm not suggesting the opposite), there are many signs of a significant comeback of natively compiled code:
Android has started implementing an "installation-time" compilation (ART), compiling Java ByteCode to binary when the application is downloaded. This "compilation" happens on the user devices, depending on the device CPU and OS version. Beside making it very time consuming to do a system update (as all apps needs to be recompiled), this is making Java apps execution faster.
Also on Android it might come to a surprise but most of the best-selling apps are not written mostly in Java, but in C++ using the NDK. Which is the same model Delphi and C++Builder use. If you don't believe me, read for example Microsoft as they said (one year ago):
"Platform defining, cross-platform, new trendy applications such as Facebook Moments, Dropbox, Office, Skype, popular games (e.g. Fruit Ninja, Clash of Clans, EA Sports titles) are all written in cross-platform C++. Talking more numbers if you take a look at the top 50 android applications a vast chunk of them (~75%) of them leverage C++."
On the Windows platform, most applications have always been native, despite Microsoft pushing .NET for a long time even Office and their mainstream applications are natively compiled and likely mostly written in Visual C++, even if there are exceptions in which Delphi is used ;-). But the trend to opening more native apps has become even more significant after Microsoft opened the Windows Desktop Bridge, with many companies previously trying to build native WinRT apps and now back the business as usual to support Windows 10 with traditional applications -- although to be honest some of them are actually .NET-based. A good example is Telegram, written in C++, which seems to have scrapped UWP WinRT plans in favor of a Desktop Bridge approach. We are witnessing a large number of Delphi (and C++Builder) applications landing to the Windows Store via the bridge.
Web services space is also seeing significant migration from scripting (PHP, Ruby) to more efficient solutions in terms of processing. The original idea of "let's throw more hardware at it" doesn't always scale as expected. If you need to 2x machines (like 4 machines instead of 2) no big deal. But when you need 10x machines and the system is huge, 100 servers instead of 10 might push you to rethink the strategy. Including the fact that these servers can be power-hungry and power-consumption has become a significant decision factor. Although limited, some migration to natively compiled server side code has been happening -- or at least, migration from less efficient scripting solutions to more efficient execution environment solutions.
By Why Natively Compiled?
There are many reasons for this push towards natively compiled apps, at very different levels. There are also many reasons this is considered far from ideal, and (as you've seen in the list above) it happens different levels, not always in the development phase and with classic development tools. Anyway, some of the reasons include:
a reason for compiling code upfront (compared to BitCode or Android installation JIT) is full control on the application: if the code being executed by your customers is different from what you wrote, even testing it becomes fairly less deterministic
more on the business side, the fact your company might already have existing natively compiled code that you can even move to new platforms without doing a full rewrite (for Windows 10 Store, but even in the mobile space) ca be a significant advantage
single source can be native, despite claims (in the mobile space, mostly) that native code ends up being written with different languages, IDEs, and tool chains, there are technologies that allow a good balance of natively compiled code, native platforms support, and code reuse. Visual C++ is one of those (despite the fact that it has no cross-platform framework) and Microsoft is using it for their mobile apps -- and not Xamarin, it seems, while Qt and RAD Studio (on the C++ or Delphi side) offer also higher-end cross platform libraries, covering platform features and also UIs.
While I know things are way more complex than I've tried to depict in this blog post -- and sorry if I skipped or missed some relevant details -- my point was to underline the fact that "execution environment" are not the only model you should consider, they are not they way to the future, but the present is and the future will continue to be a mix of natively compiled and intermediate compilation or scripting. While a few years back things were more one sided, there are now even more signals that natively compiled code has a place and it is going to stay and receive continuous investment, both by the platforms vendors (Apple, Google) in terms of post-development tuning and by development tools vendors focused on the natively compiled space.
This is a reason Delphi and C++Builder have and will keep having their role, bringing natively compiled applications to Windows 10 (Store included), the mobile space, and soon also the Linux platform -- as we saw optimizing server side code execution is also relevant. Having different options and solutions for different projects remains critical for developers. Don't rule out natively compiled code, if you thing it is just going away, you might want to reconsider.
And if you have been staying on the natively compiled side, keep appreciating its value and virtues. Alternative options do have merit, for sure, but natively compiled code has a place. And not a small one!
With the 22.214.171.124 release of the TMS FNC UI Pack we have introduced a TMS FNC Core separation. This means the TMS FNC Core needs to be installed as a prerequisite in order to successfully install the TMS FNC UI Pack. Apart from this separation, the new core setup will not introduce breaking changes in your application, as the file names for both the TMS FNC Core and TMS FNC UI Pack have remained the same. The separation gives us the benefit of writing components that all rely on a single core, instead of duplicating units that offer exactly the same features in multiple component sets. All current and future TMS FNC products will build upon this common core.
Custom Component Development for FNC
Now the TMS FNC Core is released, you'll have a series of units available that can be used to write custom components yourself for our FNC framework.
Note that with this set of units, you are able to write a custom component from scratch. A tutorial on writing a custom component can be found in this blog post: http://www.tmssoftware.com/site/blog.asp?post=346
Over the last months I met hundreds of customers. It is somewhat humbling to learn about the many powerful applications built with D6, D7, Delphi 2005/2006/2007, XE2/3 and newer RAD Studio versions. Especially astounding is the number of great applications that are still maintained and evolved with D7 or 2007 technology. One of the great things about these is that they keep working and working, so why modernize and invest now? Tech is changing faster than ever before, so unless your app looks and feels modern, unless your app architecture is flexible – it can be obsolete faster than you think. Also, Windows 10 is changing a lot of things - eventually some of these old versions may not run so well and we recently informed selected customers that may be impacted.
Of course, we all benefit from your modernization! We can invest more and you have even better applications...
You may be surprised how much of the new trends, such as micro-services, REST APIs, Cloud Hosting are supported with RAD Studio 10.1.2. Our new Webinar series and exciting education initiatives will keep us not only on par with the competition, but leapfrog them in many areas. Our support for IoT, for example, is pretty cool.
I push the Product Team by constantly asking what is new and interesting that gets customers excited, and they gave me a nice bullet list that I thought to share…
Windows 10 is a BIG Deal! Microsoft is reinventing itself and Windows 10 adoption is the highest ever (400M devices as of September). We support all the latest features of Windows operating systems (from complete Unicode support to newer capabilities, such as push notifications). UX is more critical than ever before and Windows 10 brings amazing modern look and feel; you get better performing native apps with 64-bit support; 10.1.2 enables Windows App Store Deployment even before Visual Studio! Not only will your apps be better looking and have more options with the latest VCL, but they will be much more stable and “future-proofed”.
You need to be mobile! Many consider mobile as a nice to have, but there are few better ways to demonstrate the value of your tool than to create a nice looking mobile app (and do it fast). FMX is production ready with lots of improvements in the latest versions and continues to evolve as the best native framework available. You can be a winner and you can start small with app tethering or build an awesome full scale app. You should just check-out some of our recent Cool Apps for great examples.
You can improve app connectivity to the latest major databases with the powerful new FireDAC data access framework. This increases your flexibility making easier future infrastructure or vendors changes.
You can use your code to enable new web clients and capabilities by updating your application architecture with DataSnap and RAD Server. Don’t get left behind with other teams speaking about N-Tier architectures - you can have modern middle-tier application servers or REST-based microservices with RAD Studio today. You can also build modern REST-based thin Windows clients using the new REST VCL Client support.
You will also greatly enhance your development productivity with huge increases in IDE functionality. Whether it is through code editor enhancements or improvements to the form designer, you can develop faster than ever with the latest RAD Studio IDE.
You get the power of the latest Delphi language features such as anonymous methods, parameterized types (generics), and more. They are more powerful and more useful than you expect!
C++ leverages the latest C++ libraries and language features while taking advantage of the power of RAD through the VCL -- an unprecedented combination. There is no other framework for GUI development that is more efficient – we compare very well against Qt and FMX makes cross-platform development with C++ much easier.
If you care about IoT (and you should) RAD Studio allows you to build applications that work with all the latest gadgets, devices, and sensors. We hold IoT awards for most innovative products!
LINUX support, planned for 10.2 will get you further savings and another platform!
And YES, new migration tools get you to the future faster.
We can sell Delphi and even C++ Builder better. We tend to be too shy about what we bring to the table. The analysts have not been especially kind, as they look for the next new thing. I think that what we bring is incredibly relevant to the market. Fast and efficient development does not get old and we do it better than anyone else.
Our team put together a really nice summary of Embarcadero for developers, "We Are Embarcadero" that I encourage you to download and share!