Extendibility means a framework can be extended as required in its own language. If a framework needs plug-ins or extensions to be written in a different language. it will force additional costs on the businesses that use it.
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.
26 Benchmarking Metrics
This post is part of a 26-part 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: Functionality
Functionality Framework functionality was examined qualitatively through research on the business aspects of each framework ranging from initial investment through long-term maintenance of the products created. Business functionality refers to a framework’s business suitability and impact on long-term plans. Excellent functionality allows companies to easily build custom tools or extensions, develop on a platform of their choosing, protect their source code from exploitation, and have confidence that their applications will be maintainable for decades.
Benchmark Metric 11/26: Tool Extension
Tool Extension: Can the framework be extended in its own language? Frameworks that require plug-ins, extensions, or modifications to be written in a different language impose costs on businesses that require altered functionality. Rather than creating the required tool from resident knowledge, businesses may have to invest time and resources to hire an external contractor or build in-house skills in that alternate language.
Delphi Score: 5 (out of 5)
The RAD Studio IDE for Delphi is written in Delphi. Users can build their own extensions and tools in Delphi, eliminating the need to learn a new language and handle language boundary problems. Additionally, extensions and tools can be built in C++ via the C++Builder side of RAD Studio.
Electron Score: 3 (out of 5)
Electron lacks a native IDE but can use plug-ins available in IDEs such as Visual Studio Code. Additional Electron tools might have to be developed in-house from scratch or integrated with a 3rd party tool such as Visual Studio Code. There are a large number of open source projects around tooling and functionality for Electron.