Saturday, August 25, 2012

Making Sense of the Whole Delphi WinRT Thing

I'm not one of the "Low-Level" "Deep-Inside" Delphi smart guys. I'm just an average software developer who uses Delphi to create simple applications I sell to other average people. Oh, I learn a lot hanging around the smart guys but I seem to get lost when the discussions and comments take a deep dive.

It's no doubt that Allen Bauer's post created quite a stir around the community and the new release of XE3. I've tried to make sense of all the buzz going back and forth but at one point it just got way over my head.

Since I am just a Micro-ISV, I am looking for a simplistic answer to what this whole Delphi - WinRT crap is all about and I think I have figured it out.

I posted this on the Delphi Developer group on Facebook:
I've been trying to follow all the talk about what is going on with Delphi and WinRT ever since Allen Bauer's post went viral. I'm not as smart as most of you Delphi guys. Can someone please explain in very simplistic terms what it means when Delphi either can't or is excluded from creating WinRT apps? How does this effect a Micro-ISV like myself in terms of distribution and sales?
I received this response...
For example, you will probably not be able to sell your app through the MS Application Store, which could really hurt your exposure to prospective new customers.
Okay. So I started googling Microsoft App Store and discovered a couple interesting tidbits.

I started off reading a post by George Ou called ARM Battery Life Advantage Myth Lives On

This lead me to a post by Steven Sinofsky called Collaborating to deliver Windows RT PCs

Which lead me to another post by Steven Sinofsky called Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture

Here is what I think is going on and how it effects me and you who sell software to the average consumer.

Microsoft is leading a push to compete directly with the iPad. So, Microsoft invented a new operating system called WOA or Windows on ARM which in my opinion is a Reduced Instruction Set Computer. This new operating system is a subset of Windows 8 and will be available on the new WinRT PC's soon to be released.

It sounds like WinRT PC's (I'd prefer they were called tablets) are a separate line of personal computers designed to compete directly with the iPad market. No disk drive, no expansion slots, one or two USB ports and completely mobile. Which requires a long life battery, hence the first post I sited above. These devices will be RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computers) running the WOA which includes WinRT. This limits the applications to only those applications that conform to the WinRT subset of instructions.

All other Non-WinRT PC's will come with a full blown Windows 8 OS in addition to the scaled down WOA running WinRT. This lets you run all the currently developed Windows Applications (those created using Delphi) and any of the new applications that conform to the WinRT subset of instructions.

What does all this mean to you and I...

Given that the WinRT PC's (I'd prefer they were called tablets) have a subset of the real Windows 8 OS, the only way to install software on these machines will be through the use of the Microsoft App Store. Since Microsoft controls this store they will make sure that any app in the store will run without problems on the new WinRT machines.

The bottom line, we (Delphi developers) will still have a huge user base availabe to us. Not everyone will flock to these new WinRT PC's (I'd prefer they were called tablets). When EMBT finally does get the details worked out and makes it available to us... we can retool, recompile and look forward to a windfall of new WinRT customers.

Enjoy - Semper Fi
Gunny Mike

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Priceless: Behind the Code with Anders Hejlsberg

I just watched this interview with Anders Hejlsberg for the first time. This is truly an amazing interview. It's rather long, about 1 hour, but it is so worth it. I'm not giving anything away... you'll have to just watch and enjoy.

Enjoy - Semper Fi
Gunny Mike

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Raize Components Makes Id/Value Pair Logic A Breeze

I have known about Raize Components for a long time. The buzz I've always heard was something like this... "Oh yeah, Raize is good if you want a nice consistent look to all of your components within your program."

That's not really very exciting when you are thinking about spending $400.

Then I watched a video from Code Rage 5 where Ray demonstrates and talks about his components. Wow, did this change my mind. I purchased Raize Components 6.0 three days later. Here is the Code Rage 5 video I'm talking about UI Design with Raize Components.

There's also an XE2 Code Rage 6 video UI Design with Raize Components and RAD Studio XE2

You owe it to yourself to watch one or both of these videos.

Anyway, I have a passion for using Id/Value pairs in all of my lookup code. I find it much easier to pass around an integer Id instead of the actual string value. I guess this comes from years of creating databases with lookup tables based on nonsensical auto-increment Id's.  For example:


So, I was very excited when I learned that the TRzComboBox component from Raize supports Id/Value Pairs.  You just right click on the control, choose Edit Items & Values and enter your Id value pairs.
When you want to retrieve the Value associated with the ItemIndex of the control you simply reference the TRzComboBox.Value property.

Okay that was the easy part. Now how do you go about doing the opposite, setting the control so the ItemIndex refletcs the Id value? That's a good question.

Suppose we have the value 7 which represents "Seven" stored in an interger variable and we want to set the control so that Seven is the highlighted item.

You simply iterate through the control testing each of the values to see if it matches. Upon a match you set the ItemIndex.

Raize makes this easy beacause it exposes both the Value property and the Values property. Value corresponds to the ItemIndex and Values is a TStringList of all the values.

Below is a simple little program to demonstrate how to do set the ItemIndex to the Value. It does require Raize Componets 6.0 from

The key is a little helper procedure that accepts two parameters. The first is a TRzComboBox, and the second is the Id value. By passing the TRzComboBox by reference it allows any changes to the ItemIndex to happen directly to the control itself.

Procedure SetComboBoxValue(var cb:TRzComboBox; x:integer);
var i :integer;
  for i := 0 to cb.Count - 1 do
    if x = StrToInt(cb.Values[i]) then
      cb.ItemIndex := i;
As you can see, it simply iterates through the list of values looking for a match and when found it Exits.

Semper Fi - Gunny Mike

 UPDATE 08/08/2012  9:25 PM EST

I just received an email from Ray Konopka regarding TRzComboBox.Value property. It turns out that the Value property is a read/write property. That means you can assign a value to the Value property and it will change the ItemIndex property automatically! How simple is that...

RzComboBox1.Value := IntToStr(7);

Thanks Ray and keep up the great work.

object Form1: TForm1
  Left = 0
  Top = 0
  Caption = 'Form1'
  ClientHeight = 203
  ClientWidth = 226
  Color = clBtnFace
  Font.Charset = DEFAULT_CHARSET
  Font.Color = clWindowText
  Font.Height = -11
  Font.Name = 'Tahoma'
  Font.Style = []
  OldCreateOrder = False
  PixelsPerInch = 96
  TextHeight = 13
  object RzButton1: TRzButton
    Left = 64
    Top = 112
    Width = 110
    Caption = 'Value = 1'
    TabOrder = 0
    OnClick = RzButton1Click
  object RzComboBox1: TRzComboBox
    Left = 64
    Top = 32
    Width = 110
    Height = 21
    TabOrder = 1
    Text = 'One'
    OnChange = RzComboBox1Change
    Items.Strings = (
      'One Hundred'
      'Nine Nine Nine')
    ItemIndex = 0
    Values.Strings = (

unit SetComboBox;


  Windows, Messages, SysUtils, Variants, Classes, Graphics, Controls, 
  Forms, Dialogs, StdCtrls, RzCmboBx, RzButton;

  TForm1 = class(TForm)
    RzButton1: TRzButton;
    RzComboBox1: TRzComboBox;
    procedure RzButton1Click(Sender: TObject);
    procedure RzComboBox1Change(Sender: TObject);
    { Private declarations }
    { Public declarations }

  Procedure SetComboBoxValue(var cb:TRzComboBox; x:integer);
  Form1: TForm1;


{$R *.dfm}

Procedure SetComboBoxValue(var cb:TRzComboBox; x:integer);
var i :integer;
  for i := 0 to cb.Count - 1 do
    if x = StrToInt(cb.Values[i]) then
      cb.ItemIndex := i;

procedure TForm1.RzButton1Click(Sender: TObject);
  i,j : integer;
  i := Random(RzComboBox1.Count);
  j := StrToInt(RzComboBox1.Values[i]);
  RzButton1.Caption := 'Value = ' + IntToStr(j);

procedure TForm1.RzComboBox1Change(Sender: TObject);
  RzButton1.Caption := 'Value = ' + RzComboBox1.Value;