We’re heading to Delphi 2011 (which will bring Delphi on Macs and Linux) and after this we’ll have yet another hurdle which is 64-bit compiling. With so many convoluted paths (ok, ok, the team will do the best to make the transition(s) as smooth as possible, but still…) a question arises: What components shall we use?…
The short answer is obvious: Use any components you wish. Here we will NOT speak about the quality of certain components neither we’ll say that some are better than others, we will just make some interesting comments about a phenomenon which is to be found in the Delphi community.
In fact, choosing the components for your project seems a very easy and pleasant task (like arranging the dices in the picture above) but when you’ll look closer you’ll see that getting it right might be harder than it seems. And here, because as time passes by, there were some component vendors which went out of business and (hence) didn’t provide an upgrade path to newer Delphi versions, that’s why there is a thinking current saying that: We will use only the components which ships out of the box. Well, knowing the Delphi community for enough years now, I’d say that this policy isn’t quite the best (even if I can understand the reasoning) and it can be greatly enhanced.
On one side, there are enough very big vendors of Delphi components which can provide support and upgrade paths for new Delphi versions (not to mention there – they are outside of the scope of this post), and on the other hand, there are other components which are so well written and small enough that one can afford to maintain them if their original author(s) choose to not support them anymore.
But this post is mainly about another kind of components: Let’s call them The VCL Cousins. There are components which, even if they aren’t shipped with Delphi, have different ties with the product and most probably they will get updated for a new version when this will appear.
DISCLAIMER: Sons, this doesn’t mean that they will be updated – only God knows this. But because (again) these components have some special relations with the product they most probably will be updated. Don’t complain here if some of the following components won’t have a Delphi 2011 version.
Having in mind the above disclaimer, read on:
JEDI – The well known library with more than 600 components powers the Delphi’s IDE AIR subsystem (AIR stands for ‘Automatic Incident Reporting’ – no connection with Adobe or Nike – sorry, folks). AIR is the Gallileo’s exception handler: the part which when IDE encounters a problem (read: throws an exception / crashes etc.) pops up that window full of info about our system, stack trace etc. and offers to generate a Quality Central report based on your info. Also, DavidI (VP of Developer Relations at Embarcadero) stated that [we] “make sure that JEDI works”. Link here, screenshot bellow:
Also, a very interesting thing in David’s comment is that he mention FreeCLX (guys, the FreeCLX’s page is hosted at SourceForge and not at Borland’s site – take care). See, even if the last public activity on FreeCLX project was 1600 days ago, David I mentions it. Perhaps we will assist at a FreeCLX revival under Embarcadero’s blessing? A cross-platform counterpart for JEDI? Sounds really interesting, in theory. And, like someone said, in theory, there isn’t difference between theory and practice. But in practice there is.
Virtual TreeView – The famous component written by Mike Lischke is one of the basic pieces of RAD Studio’s IDE since at least Delphi 2005. See the Virtual TreeView’s gallery for a small notice. (Search in page for ‘Borland Delphi’). And because one of the main stress tests for any new Delphi release is exactly the IDE (re)build one can confident enough that the component will be updated.
DeHL and RADTweet – two pet projects written by Alex Ciobanu (the former) and by Andreano Lanusse (the latter). DeHL is older and much more known. Enough hints and advertising done by other ‘team members’ give a clue that DeHL is on their radar and most probably enough features will be included in D2011’s RTL. On the other hand, RADTweet is a much newer project (a very nice one btw, even if it is still in beta) on which Andreano put enough effort. Have a look.
TurboPower ecosystem – As some of you know, there are enough users who depend on these components hence upgrading TurboPower toolset is an important thing for Embarcadero. That’s why Nick made a poll and supervises the TurboPower arena, even if it seems that he’s more focused on TSmiley :-) (dunno if we’ll have a
What’s interesting is that Nick is Administrator (together with Roman Kassebaum) on another SourceForge project: PowerPDF and developer to the Subversion Plugin for Delphi’s IDE. Interesting. Very interesting… If you are interested in these project be sure to give a helping hand.
At the end, perhaps it is worth mentioning that the IDE took a lot of attention lately. Andreas Hausladen’s Component Toolbar is included in Delphi 2010 – so, be sure to check out his IDE fixes and enhancements. You never know what will be included in Delphi 2011… Also, Nick Hodges (the link points to Nick’s poll about GExperts) and Allen Bauer (see on the 2nd link the Nick’s comment and Allen’s response) gave clear hints that at least a part from GExperts will be, most probably, included in the IDE, besides the fact that they ‘work very closely with the GExperts team to make sure that it is ready for every new release of Delphi, and Delphi 2009 was no different.’. On the other hand, the other similar (and bigger) project, CnPack became ‘Embarcadero Technology Partner‘ thing which is very interesting for a free, open-source project.
Well, I state once again that this doesn’t mean that the above components will get updated for Delphi 2011 – we never know – perhaps the 3rd World War will start soon – and then…
But, given the persons involved in the projects and their relation with the main product, I do think that most probably these components will have a future and if not, at least, it is interesting to see the company’s areas of interest and give the appropriate feedback.
What do you think?
PS: Did I missed something? :-)