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Dateline: 1998.

BDE replacement-TOPAZ

Why (not) BDE?
Let's face it. BDE (Borland Database Engine) is (was) good for most of us. It comes in the box (no extra money needed). There is a great amount of third-party tools (components) that are designed to ease developing process. Every custom Grid, combobox, date selector, and every other kind of data-aware component is designed to work with the BDE. Yes, BDE has a history of numerous bugs, but fixes are arriving, slowly but they are arriving. Not to forget web-based support is finally quite good.

On the other hand, BDE also has a number of weaknesses, which is why there are so many BDE alternatives. First, and not last, there is a question of large amount of DLL's that have to be installed (separately) with your application. BDE is not compiled in your executable. Anyone who has worked with machines where there are multiple copies of the BDE installed, will know what I am talking about.

If you were considering some alternative approach to database development, it would be good idea to read an article about Choosing a BDE Alternative from Kyle Cordes.

Let's try something else.
Topaz from Software Science, Inc (SSI), of California is a library that allows you to ork with dBase format database tables and .NDX index files. The key feature of Topaz is that it does not require any separate "engine" files (DLLs or whatever): everything is compiled right into your exe file.

Plug 'n' Play
Topaz is a plug 'n' play, native VCL replacement for the Borland Database Engine. It comes with over 250 pages of documentation including tutorial, technical reference and numerous code samples.

Topaz components

Topaz offers a component library of 16 visual components and a library of over 200 useful date and time math, string and file manipulation routines. Topaz for Delphi integrates a broad spectrum of procedures, functions, and components into a versatile programmer's tool-kit. Topaz enables programmers to write with "dBASE-like" syntax in Delphi and use standard dBASE data and index files. Topaz includes utilities, numerous programming examples and sample programs. Topaz provides a powerful and comprehensive platform from which you can quickly develop applications of any type. Develop both single-user and multi-user database applications for 16-bit Delphi and 32-bit Delphi under MS Windows 3.x, Windows 95, 98 and NT.

Topaz is fully compatible with QuickReport. Since Topaz provides cross-component support, you can use it and QuickReport freely without any code modifications or special considerations (just the same way as when using QR with the BDE). Topaz, as well as many of the third party libraries, conforms to the standards of the open dataset architecture. Therefore, you may use it with the third party component library, providing that you compile with Delphi 3 or 4, and the third party library can also link or access Delphi's standard TDataSet or TDataSource component.

Finally
The ability to create genuine standalone database applications, with no need for separate "engine" files, is probably the greatest incentive to use Topaz. The fact that it uses dBase tables provides a degree of comfort factor, too: the file format is standard, easily fixed and easily imported/exported by other applications. If the worst happens, it's a lot easier to rescue dBase files than Paradox files.

Some more replacements:

  • BDE Alternatives Guide
    Purpose of this guide is to make Delphi developers aware of all of the BDE alternatives.


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