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A first look at Delphi 6
Read about exciting new features in the latest incarnation of today's best RAD environment for writing cross platform applications - Delphi 6.
 Join the Discussion
"Should I stick to Delphi 5 (and <) or Delphi 6 really kicks ass?"
Discuss
 Related Resources
• A first look at Kylix - Delphi for Linux

• Book: Mastering Delphi 6
• Book: Building Delphi 6 Applications
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Delphi 6 Home Page
• Delphi 6 Updates
• Konto - Croatian Borland Partner

Finally. There is a new Delphi version on my Desktop, thanks to Konto. Borland Delphi 6 is the first rapid application development environment for Windows (and Linux) that fully supports new and emerging web services. With Delphi 6, beginner Windows developers are able to build GUI applications with the fastes RAD development environment on the market; profesionals can create next generation e-business applications quickly and easily.

Let's see what's new in the latest incarnation of Delphi...

   Delph 6 Editions and Pricing

Delphi 6 (Proffesional) system requirements
Recommended System Requirements:
·Intel P2 400 MHz
·256 MB
·CD-ROM drive
·350 MB hard disk space
Delphi 6 comes in three editions - Enterprise, Professional, and Personal. The Personal edition (previously known as Standard) offers the least set of functionality and is available for free download. This edition is aimed toward beginner developers and is suited for developing non-commercial Windows applications. The Personal edition lacks database support and other advanced features. The Professional version enables database and cross platform develoment but has no support for new XML and WEB services technologies. The Enterprise edition has it all.
As stated, the Personal edition is available for free download, the Professional edition is $999 for new user and you have to put away $2999 for the Enterprise edition.

   What's new in Delphi 6?
Delphi 6 introduces new features and enhancements in the following areas (some features are not available in all editions of Delphi): IDE, Internet, XML, Compiler, COM/Active X, Database support...

in the IDE
Object treeview There have been many changes to the IDE, including changes to the window layout and the component palette. Located in the upper left-hand corner of the IDE, the TreeView is a tree diagram that displays the logical relationships between visual and nonvisual components on a form, data module, or frame. Relationships include parent/child, collection/item, datasource/dataset and similar. I have found the TreeView very handy when selecting nested components with their alignments set so that they are "invisibe" on the form. Another great feature of the TreeView is dragging and dropping components in order to change a component container without losing connections with other components.

The Diagram page on the Code editor provides visual tools for setting up a diagram of boxes and lines to display relationships among visual and nonvisual components. It is a documentation tool, since it illustrates these relationships schematically and lets you add comments to the diagram. The diagram is not build automatically, you need to drag components from the TreeView to the diagram.

The component palette has been changed to reflect the growing variety of options available when working with Delphi 6. Since Delphi 6 supports cross-platform (on Linux with Kylix) development with CLX, two component librarires are avilable for a delphi developer. When you create a new project you choose which of the two libraries you want to use: VCL or CLX - the component palette gets rearranged to show only those components related to the current library.
Several changes have been made on the database Component palette pages. All the BDE-related components have been moved onto their own BDE page - to emphasize that the BDE is one choice among many. Each of the several individual data access mechanisms now have a dedicated Palette page: BDE, ADO and InterBase and dbExpress. The Midas page has been removed, as has use of the term MIDAS. The client dataset and dataset provider that used to be on the Midas page has moved to the Data Access page.

Expanded properties Several new aditions to the IDE are also available. In the Object Inspector, expanded inline component references display the properties and events of a referenced component without having to actually select the referenced component. This is handy when you need to set some of the dataset properties while working with the Data Source component. Another change for the editor is an update to Code Completion feature: it is now resizable and has diferent colors to help distinguish different items. As you type := after a property or varable, Delphi lists all other variables of the same type.

in VCL/RTL
There are several new components and features. Components can now own other components that create subcomponents. The TLabeledEdit is an addition to the Additional pallete and demonstrates using sub-components. It is an Edit control that has a label attached to it. The Label appears as a property of the control. The new TComboBoxEx is a combo box control that allows images to appear next to the items in the list. Various components have had additional properties added. TScreen has a new set of properties for getting the work area of the desktop (WorkAreaRect, WorkAreaTop, WorkAreaLeft, WorkAreaHeight, and WorkAreaWidth). TRegistry now supports reading and writing binary data using a stream. TToolBar has a Menu property. The new TValueListEditor is a custom grid used for editing TStrings that contain key/value pairs. It works similarly to the Object Inspector. There are several new units like ConvUtils.pas which is a collection of routines for converting between measures. Delphi 6 brings modern user interface elements with new ActionBands, ActionManagers, and Shell Controls to easily create dynamic user interfaces that follow the latest Microsoft UI trends.

in database development
Delphi 6, among several data access mechanisms, adds dbExpress - set of database components that support cross-platform development. This is lightweight set of database drivers that provide access to SQL database server with both Delphi 6 and Kylix. The components on the ADO page of the Component palette are now collectively known as dbGo (previously ADOExpress). Perhaps the best news for many Delphi developers is that dbGo for ADO is a part of Delphi 6 Professional.

in e_something
Delphi 6 features compiler-level support for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language), which means programmers are able to Web enable their applications without writing extra code. New components let you write WebServices applications and support writing client applications that access WebServices using SOAP. Also new to Delphi 6.0 are BizSnap, a Web-services platform for building and integrating components; WebSnap, a Web application design tool; and DataSnap, a tool for creating Web-enabled database middleware. I'll write more about this new technologies in some of the future articles.

   All in all
New features. Plenty of them. Price. Hm, be sure you really need the Enterprise features and I suppose it's a good investment. Cross-platform. Delphi 6 is Kylix compatible. Using the CLX and you can build high-performance portable applications for Windows that can easily be recompiled. Snap. Delphi 6 radically simplifies building next-generation eBusiness applications on the Internet with complete SOAP based Web Services and XML data exchange support. Web Services are an integral part of the forthcoming .Net platform and provide the primary object communication and invocation for the Microsoft .Net platform.

That's it for now. I suppose I'll be writing more about new Delphi 6 features in some of the future articles. I call you to post your thoughts to the Delphi Programming Forum.

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