Which target platforms do Delphi and Electron support?
The “Discovering The Best Cross-Platform Framework Through Benchmarking” whitepaper evaluates two frameworks supporting multi-platform desktop application development: Delphi and Electron.
Delphi, encapsulated in the Rapid Application Development (RAD) Studio IDE, is Embarcadero Technologies’ flagship product. A proprietary version of the Object Pascal language, Delphi features graphical application development with “drag and drop” components, a WYSIWYG viewer for most mobile platforms, and robust style options including platform-standard and unique palettes that provide a fully customized look and feel. Among other features, included libraries provide GUI controls, database access managers, and direct access target platform hardware and platform operating systems. The Delphi FireMonkey (FMX) framework will compile projects to native code for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux, allowing users to develop and maintain one codebase reaching most of the market. Delphi has been available for over 25 years.
This post is part of a series of blog posts that look more closely at each of the individual metrics used in the study, and how Delphi and Electron each fared on these metrics. The first can be found here.
Benchmark Category: Flexibility
Framework flexibility was examined qualitatively through research and conversation with experts in Delphi and Electron and sought to analyze the application of each framework to business problems and requirements.
Delphi’s major advantage in the flexibility category is its ability to deploy one body of source code to any major desktop or mobile platform as a native binary executable, maximizing application market reach while minimizing maintenance/upgrade headaches due to code duplication. The framework supports projects of every scale from logic controllers for industrial automation to world-wide inventory management and functions within every tier from database-heavy back-ends to client-side services. Finally, Delphi’s standard libraries provide simplified access to most database products , fully support Unicode and other modern standards, and broaden access to operating system functionality on every platform as well as I/O devices and sensors.
Electron is an open-source framework targeting all desktop operating systems through its Chromium base. It typically focuses on web-centric, client-side applications but can accomplish middle-tier and database services using runtimes and libraries like node.js and node-postgres. Hardware access and limited operating system interactions are provided by node.js libraries and Electron’s Chromium core ensures compliance with modern Unicode standards. After reviewing both frameworks, Delphi holds the lead in the flexibility category due to its flexible and automated deployment to all major platforms, scalability to every level of development, and visual design system. Electron enjoys a lower barrier-to-entry and more development tool options but requires manual deployments and lacks the same hardware and operating system access of its competitor.
Benchmark Metric: Target Platforms Support
How many user platforms can the framework deploy an application to? Great frameworks will support most platforms on the market, whether mobile,
desktop, 32-bit, or 64-bit. Businesses benefit from multi-platform support because they can develop and maintain one codebase to reach many customers. One codebase rather than separate code for each target application reduces development time, bug potential, maintenance requirements, and time-to-market for new features.
Delphi Score: 5 (out of 5)
Delphi can compile to native 32-bit or 64-bit code for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux using the FMX framework. In the latest versions 32-bit support is being phased out for platforms that have dropped 32-bit support.
Electron Score: 3 (out of 5)
Electron packages for cross-platform desktop use within the Chromium browser rather than compiling to native code.