Where to start?

Posted on 2004-08-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-05
Hi Everyone!

I am preparing for learning Borland Delhpi v6. I have good knowledge and experience (especially on web development - PHP & MySQL/MS-SQL) on programming.

And now, i want to increase my knowledge and starting developing Windows softwares. I have choosen Borland Delphi because it is stronger than VBasic but easy as VBasic.

Could you please suggest me sites or books for starting Delphi coding and Borland Delphi. I don't have so many experience on Windows programming.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:blacklord

Expert Comment

ID: 11928241
Have a look at www.marcocantu.com

Specifically these examples of Delphi 6 may help you




Expert Comment

ID: 11928599
Like Hypoviax suggested, Marco Cantu has made a couple books for delphi that are very good and his site is very informative.
If you want to buy a couple books on Delphi I would recommend "Mastering Delphi 6" (by Cantu) and "Delphi in a Nutshell" (a reference book).

a couple websites I visit alot are:

http://www.torry.ru/  (lots of tips and components)

delphi is a great language to first learn, luck to you :)
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 11928968
You would be surprised of how many nice and interesting things you cand find if you do a search on google for " delphi tips" "delphi howto" "delphi tutorial" "delphi faq" and so on....
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 11928974
And by the way delphi it's a lot easyer that VBasic, and of course it's stronger... :)
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

Wim ten Brink earned 400 total points
ID: 11929742
If you can afford it, consider an upgrade to Delphi 8, especially if you like web development. With Delphi 8 comes a free version of Delphi 7 so you can develop for both WIN32 as the .NET environment. In Delphi 8 you could then focus on writing ASP.NET pages with Delphi as the background engine while you'd use Delphi 7 for the regular desktop applications.

Depending on the Delphi subversion that you're using (Standard, Professional, Enterprise) you might not be able to run all examples that you see on websites and in books. But that should not stop you from learning.

Good books at Amazon:
And the book series "Tomes of Delphi" also has a few interesting titles.

About websites, well... This site, of course. http://www.borland.com/delphi/ will link to Delphi itself. http://bdn.borland.com/ for the Borland Developer network. http://www.dow.wau.nl/aew/DelForExp.html for an interesting formatting tool for your Delphi source. http://www.delphizine.com/ for a magazine that has gone down, recently but you can order a CD there with 10 years of published magazines as PDF's. http://delphi.icm.edu.pl/ for lots of free code, but also commercial solutions. http://www.gexperts.org/ for a nice add-on wizard in Delphi. http://www.undu.com/ for some more interesting Delphi stuff. http://www.thedelphimagazine.com/ for what I think is the last existing Delphi magazine. And http://www.drbob42.com/ for one of the many online Delphi experts with website. http://www.delphi-gems.com/ for some interesting graphics stuff. http://www.madshi.net/ for another Delphi expert.

But keep in mind, while Delphi is a very powerful language, it seems to lose a lot of the glamour it had in the past. About 8 years ago, Delphi really rocked, but the competition (read: Visual Studio) has taken a big share of the market already. And while Delphi is superior to VB, chances are that Delphi will be extinct in 5 to 10 years. Most Delphi developers won't like to hear this but fact is that there haven't been many new (good) Delphi titles in the bookstores lately. And the number of Delphi-only magazines worldwode has just gone down to 1... If Delphi is going to survive then it must be because the future Delphi 9 will offer miracles to all users. (E.g. multi-platform support combined with support for importing C++ headers and some other powerful features.)
When Delphi appeared on the market, it was mostly used as a powerful database front-end generator. Suddenly people could create powerful database applications with nice GUI's in a lightning-fast speed. Today, Delphi is still a powerful database front-end generator but so are many other systems. And Delphi has lost it's advantage. Borland invested in the Linux market with Kylix but wasn't very succesful. Borland also created a .NET version of Delphi which is interesting, except for those companies with an MSDN subscription who would get Visual Studio for "free"...

Thus, to be honest, Delphi is a good choice if you want to learn to develop software, and develop it correctly. I still consider Delphi to be way more powerful than VB anyway but it's like how BetaMax lost it's battle against VHS. BetaMax was a better videotape system, more powerful, better options. But unfortunately VHS had a better marketing plan and thus they won the battle for the best VCR systems. Today, I don't think you can even buy a BetaMax system anymore. Like the dinosaur and the dodo, extinct... :-(
And Delphi is on the endangered species list too now...

Author Comment

ID: 11929900
Thanks Alex, your thoughts are really interesting. So, which windows programming language should i learn? VBasic, Delphi, or anything else? C is hard to learn so no need to consider C :(

I think VBasic is good but in my opinion it is not so powerful programming language, right? What would you suggest? I don't want to spend my valuable hours learning Delphi and then see Delphi out-of-date in a few years :(

If i learn VBasic, will i be able to do any kind of windows softwares?

What would you suggest? Thanks!


Assisted Solution

snehanshu earned 100 total points
ID: 11929985
  Your analysis is interesting.
  But I think that Delphi 8 should help keep Delphi alive for some time. We had some not-very-old applications written in Delphi 7 and it was recently decided that we would deliver a .net enabled solution.
  While we wrote new applications in C#, it was amazing how quickly we could compile the old Delphi 7 code into a .net compatible form with Delphi 8 for the very complex existing applications! More interesting was the fact that along with the existing Delphi code, we could easily use .net specific statements by including "System" etc. in the uses clause!!
  And I simply love it when I can easily use ini files in the .net world with zero effort with Delphi 8. So, even with a  visual studio available for all developers, we still considered buying Delphi 8.
  Our company has recently bought quite a few Delphi 8 licenses, so I would say Delphi still has got some life left :-)

  And blacklord, my favorite Delphi teachers are Marco Cantu, Delphi help files and Pas Files and experts-exchange.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wim ten Brink
ID: 11930617
Delphi is still a good option to start learning but it's just that I cannot guarantee that it's still in demand over 5 years. Then again, there's also a chance that the .NET soapbubble will explode, with everyone suddenly moving to the Linux platform. :-)
When I learned programming about 20 years ago, I started with Basic but quickly moved to Pascal. I've always kept an eye on both languages and just saw Basic becoming more and more obscure while Pascal just improved to a gread RAD tool. (Delphi) But all this time Basic continued to stay popular since it's such an easy language to learn.

If you want to learn to program, Delphi would still be fine but focus more on algorithms and structures. Also keep an eye on other programming languages and try to get at least a basic idea about their syntax and perhaps a bit more. AFAIK, the future of VB will be to generate the GUI front-ends for lots of programs with C++ or C# as the back-end of these products. It will mean that developers will be specializing more into certain techniques, with VB being the most popular one since it's so easy. I have to admit that C++ is quite hard for an inexperienced developer but the alternative could be C#. (But it will tie you down to the .NET platform.)

Personally, I would choose to learn two languages at once. (Delphi and C#) It's not easy but it allows you to "wait and see" what the future will bring.

The problem with Delphi 8 is that people (and especially companies) need to BUY the product. Unfortunately, many companies have an MSDN Subscription, providing them free or cheap Visual Studio licences combined with several other bonuses. Spending $3000 per licence on Delphi 8 is quite expensive for most of them. In price, Borland is losing this competition.
But true, Delphi did create a nice .NET product but this too has a flaw. To publish your Delphi-created product you might need to include a few of the Delphi.NET assemblies. With VS you don't have these worries in general, unless you're using 3rd-party components. Besides, while MS claims it would end the DLL Hell, I just think it just replaces the DLL hell. I've already had problems in applications just because one or more assemblies were missing. True, these problems are easier to solve but still, it bothers me that you need to include the Borland .NET assemblies with your product while you don't have to do this with any VS-generated product. (Unless you're not using the VCL in your Delphi programs, of course.)
I'm personally not that fond of .NET anyway and won't use it for any desktop application. It does have it's strength in webdevelopment, though. Which is what I'm using Delphi 8 for. For all other applications I'm still using Delphi 7. More familiar too. And unfortunately for Borland, many other developers are thinking in similar ways.
There's also a minor problem if you're trying to use Delphi 8 for mobile devices. (SmartPhones for example.) While VS does support mobile devices, you won't find similar support from within Delphi. And all the while the mobile market is becoming quite interesting. Still, the mobile market is mostly dominated with java applications and platform-specific C++ applications but Microsoft is trying to gain a bigger market share with their Mobile Windows versions with .NET support...

All I'm hoping for is that Delphi 9 will offer mobile code support in some way, next to WIN32 and .NET support. And perhaps even Unix support. But we'll know more about this in about 6 months or so...

Expert Comment

ID: 11931853
Well ... and what about Java?

Java 1.5 looks like impressive. I really think .NET needs a lot of work to do yet, it's not a perfect platform. I think in near future there will be a "batlle" between C# ( .net ) and Java. Borland positioned in both sides ( J Builder and C#.NET / Delphi 8 .NET ). Of course .Net has a lot of advantage ( it will be imposed by microsoft, as always ), but i think Java has a great defense. The only think i'm agree with Alex is that Delphi will become a "rare" development environment except if Delphi 9 does some kind of miracle like  modifing again Pascal ( adding operator overloading, templates, true multiplatform code generation, .... ) and including more powerfull tools.


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