Organisations seeking increased competitive advantages via reduced development costs will want to keep Inprise's Delphi 5, Beta 3, on the radar and plan to evaluate it after its release late this summer. This world-class rapid application development environment is a solid choice for those who need to expeditiously complete Web or Windows projects.
Despite recent rumblings concerning Inprise's future direction and possible acquisition, the company continues to offer some of the best development tool support in the industry. Delphi, in particular, offers impressive competition for its rivals, such as TopSpeed's Clarion, Magic Software's Magic, and Microsoft's Visual Basic.
For the moment, Magic 8.20 has a leg up on Delphi now that Magic has extended support to Linux . Inprise is also considering extending support to Linux in the near future.
Delphi has always been a highly productive environment to work within, and this release adds even more tools and features to speed developers along. In this regard, Delphi continues to up the ante for rival Microsoft's Visual Basic.
During my exclusive evaluation of the Delphi 5 beta release, I did uncover some minor beta bugs and pieces of new features that were not fully implemented.
One example of the latter is TeamSource, a workflow extension for versioning and source-code management, which was only partially functional. The company expects to resolve these issues prior to release.
Beta issues aside, I was impressed with many of Delphi's new additions. In particular, developers will find new tools with which to build thin clients that use Dynamic HTML and Extensible Markup Language (XML).
Inprise has also infused Delphi 5 with Microsoft technologies. This includes support for ActiveX Data Objects, which helps developers integrate relational and non-relational data more easily into applications.
Additionally, component support within the development environment now includes Microsoft Office automation. I particularly liked the Decision Cube components that have been added in this release.
Using these components, I found it easy to build a number of decision-support applications in a relatively short period of time.
Delphi 5 offers a bevy of new productivity tools and features. Some of these include project-browsing capabilities, Data Module Designer views for simplifying data integration, graphical to-do lists, and more wizard support to speed up the coding process. Delphi's tools did indeed speed up my progress.
This release of Delphi also boasts added internationalisation support for companies with deployment plans around the globe.
Delphi applications can be developed for multiple locales with included tools that help manage translation.
Once Delphi 5 is released, it will be a must- have upgrade for current "Delphites" and a must-consider for companies that need a solid, productive solution for developing Windows and Web applications.
The bottom line ****
Delphi 5, Beta 3
Summary: Developers will find Delphi 5 ideal for expeditiously building distributed Web and Windows applications.
Business Case: Delphi 5 is a solid choice for sites that want to save time and money during the development cycle. The development environment is packed with productive tools that will reduce training needs and speed up projects.
Pros: Dynamic HTML and XML client support; Added data accessibility via Microsoft's ActiveX Data Objects; Internationalisation support; Multiple productivity additionsCons: Some features not yet fully implemented; Minor beta bugsPlatforms: Development: Windows 95/98 and Windows NT; Deployment: Web and Windows.
Cost: to be announced.
Ship Date: Late third quarter.