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A journey through the Delphi IDE
Page 1: Main menu, Toolbar, Component palette
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Welcome to the second chapter of the FREE online programming course:
A Beginner’s Guide to Delphi Programming.
A quick journey through the main parts and tools of the Delphi integrated development environment.

   The Delphi IDE
As explained in the first chapter of this course, one of the ways to start Delphi is to choose Programs | Borland Delphi 6 | Delphi 6 from the Windows Start menu.

When Delphi starts (it could even take one full minute to start - depending on your hardware performance) you are presented with the IDE: the user interface where you can design, compile and debug your Delphi projects.

The Delphi IDE

Like most other development tools (and unlike other Windows applications), Delphi IDE comprises a number of separate windows.

The menus, toolbars
The menus, toolbars and the Component Palette
The main window, positioned on the top of the screen, contains the main menu, toolbar and Component palette. The title bar of the main window contains the name of the current project (you'll see in some of the future chapters what exactly is a Delphi project). The menu bar includes a dozen drop-down menus - we'll explain many of the options in these menus later through this course. The toolbar provides a number of shortcuts to most frequently used operations and commands - such as running a project, or adding a new form to a project. To find out what particular button does, point your mouse "over" the button and wait for the tooltip. As you can see from the tooltip (for example, point to [Toggle Form/Unit]), many toolbuttons have keyboard shortcuts ([F12]).
The menus and toolbars are freely customizable. I suggest you to leave the default arrangement while working through the chapters of this course.

The Component Palette
The Component Palette

You are probably familiar with the fact that any window in a standard Windows application contains a number of different (visible or not to the end user) objects, like: buttons, text boxes, radio buttons, check boxes etc. In Delphi programming terminology such objects are called controls (or components). Components are the building blocks of every Delphi application. To place a component on a window you drag it from the component palette. Each component has specific attributes that enable you to control your application at design and run time.

Depending on the version of Delphi (assumed Delphi 6 Personal through this course), you start with more than 85 components at your disposal - you can even add more components later (those that you create or from a third party component vendor).

The components on the Component Palette are grouped according to the function they perform. Each page tab in the Component palette displays a group of icons representing the components you can use to design your application interface. For example, the Standard and Additional pages include controls such as an edit box, a button or a scroll box.

To see all components on a particular page (for example on the Win32 page) you simply click the tab name on the top of the palette. If a component palette lists more components that can be displayed on a page an arrow will appear on a far right side of the page allowing you to click it to scroll right. If a component palette has more tabs (pages) that can be displayed, more tabs can be displayed by clicking on the arrow buttons on the right-hand side.

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