Delphi Versions - 2006

Some comments on using Delphi 2006 (Enterprise) - the .NET version. Delphi ASP.NET is ok and the IDE has a few improvements, but I still prefer Delphi 5.

This version is similar to Delphi 2005 and I have just started the evaluation.

Built-In Help

One of Delphi's strong points was (past tense) its built-in help ...

For instance

This is a joke - I am developing a Delphi for Windows application and every time I ask for help (press F1) I have to tell the IDE what type of application I am developing (assuming that I get anything at all). (This is really crap!)

But, if you want to do .NET development ... then the help works much better.

(Originally, I think that I had to select between 3 options in Win32 development, but now there are only 2 - Delphi win32 and C++ Builder. Perhaps my memory is poor, or I may have modified something.)

Even though Delphi 2006 now uses html help (displayed in the required IE 6 browser) instead of the old Windows help, it appears that the help uses the same rtf files as before - but the instructions for creating a help file are pretty worthless.

Specifically, the help page - "Adding component Help files" - is missing and the other 2 pages are worthless (contain no data).

Using Delphi 2006 win32 components, F1 help does not work at all ... it is totally worthless. Instead, you must use Ctrl-F1 (not documented anywhere) or you have to manually type the class name (don't forget the initial 'T').

The lousy html help no longer has a separate display window for properties and methods - they display in the same window as the normal help. On the plus side, there is one line of help next to each entry (this is pretty cool).

(But, overall, html help really sucks.)

BDS Help Expert (workaround)

Borland provides an expert that opens the old style Delphi *.hlp files via Ctrl-F1, Shift-F1, or Alt-F1 ... that means up to three different help files. Instead of an *.hlp file, the expert can be configured to go to a web url like google's web or newsgroup search.

The *.bpl file is for BDS 2006, but, since the Source is included, you can compile one for BDS 2005.

Windows API Help

The windows API (Application Programming Interface) help is provided as a part of the Windows SDK (Software Development Kit).

Since I use this all the time (because some critical functions are missing from the VCL), accessing it is a major issue

One of the problems (features) of the Windows help system was a limitation on the size of the indices. This is the most probable reason that the Windows API help was removed from Delphi 6 help indices ... but it does not explain why it was deleted from the Help menu. Microsoft could have fixed that limitation, but instead they "fixed" it in the new html help.

Tour of the IDE

In BDS 2006, the default Welcome page contains several links - these comments refer to "Tour the IDE"

This "help" describes creating only .NET type forms - some tour ... you would never know the true power of this product because native win32 applications are not mentioned.

Small Firebird program size

I created the "same" small Firebird database access program in several versions of Delphi (separate programs with the same components ... not separate compiles of a single program) Debug means that "debug DCUs" was enabled.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Languages / Delphi / Delphi_Versions_2006.html