Developer Stories: Pietro Ruvolo Shares His D.Fence Application

Pietro Ruvolo has been programming ever since 1988. He has a showcase entry (D.Fence) at the Delphi 26th Showcase Challenge and we talked to him about his programming journey over the years. Check out his website on D.Fence.


When did you start using RAD Studio Delphi and how long have you been using it?

I started programming in 1988 at the time of MS Dos, dBase III, and Clipper. Then at the release of Delphi, I switched to OOP programming and since then I have followed the evolution of the product. I started converting my old programs in Delphi for 26 years. I created my first software company in Rome, Italy dedicated to the development under the “new” MS Windows.

What was it like building software before you had RAD Studio Delphi?

It was the time of MS Dos and procedural programming, where programs generated sources of infinite size and where debugging, with languages like Clipper, Fortran, basic was a real nightmare. I started to learn OOP and Delphi RAD allowed me to create more and more lean and easily maintainable programs, as well as to create classes of objects reusable between projects, gaining a lot in development time. With the advent of Firemonkey there was a further leap in quality, introducing the possibility to maintain the same code for different platforms (macOS, Windows, Android, iOS and Linux) expanding my market to a new type of user.

How did RAD Studio Delphi help you create your showcase application?

In 2015, I used Delphi to create a distributed risk management platform for a client (using REST Technology). Two years later I moved to MALTA to continue the development and maintenance of the platform of that client. This activity lasted until December 2020 when I opened my own software company in Malta and started again to create products in RAD Studio. The first product we decided to develop was dictated by the pandemic situation in which we found ourselves and it is D-Fence, a product for social distancing and contact tracing. Being composed of a software platform and having to interact with the BLE sectors mounted on wearables, and with APP of different operating systems, Delphi and Firemonkey were the best and most effective solution for the realization of the entire software suite.

What made RAD Studio Delphi stand out from other options?

As mentioned before, the use of Firemonkey made possible the realization of this project in a short time and without the need to have different teams of programmers for each operating system, ensuring cross-platform development. The server platform uses REST technology, the apps use native compiler for IOS and ANDROID and access to the wristbands is via Bluetooth Low Energy. Finally, it is very important to maintain a single version of the source code so that any changes made becomes automatically available on all platforms.

What made you happiest about working with RAD Studio Delphi?

Surely the ease of reusing already used source codes is one of the most pleasant aspects of Delphi together with a powerful debugging engine that helps to develop important software in a limited time. I am also happy to have been able to reopen in Malta my original activity as a software developer.

What have you been able to achieve through using RAD Studio Delphi to create your showcase application?

Delphi has made it possible to quickly develop a comprehensive product that we believe will be useful in mitigating the spread of the current pandemic. The wristbands are equipped with Bluetooth sensors to measure distance and body temperature. When the distance between two wristbands is less than the safe distance, a visual and audible alarm is generated and contact record with anonymous data and timestamp is recorded. Apps created for iOS and Android, interface with the wristbands and monitor the temperature. At regular time intervals, they collect data along with alarms in case of too high temperatures, and automatically send them to the server in cloud (via REST). From the platform it is possible to analyze the data of the contacts occurred, their duration, their severity, and it will be possible to trace the chain of people to be contacted in case of infection reported for a user. In this case, it will be possible to act in a targeted way to isolate people at risk without the need to stop the activity of an entire department or office. The control can be extended to non-employees as well, since a visitor management is foreseen within the platform.

What are some future plans for your showcase application?

We plan to add new features to the product to adapt it to any new needs once the Covid-19 pandemic is resolved. Being highly parametrized, the software can easily be adapted to other uses, for example in houses of the elderly, school, or even hospitals. We are also developing new software for authentication of people and validation of documentation based on block chain technology, exploiting the features of Delphi and its RAD.

Thank you, Pietro! Visit his showcase entry by clicking the link below.