We know that technology is progressing at a rapid pace. The software systems built five years ago using the then-modern technologies might not be relevant today due to outdated versions. Every software that aims to scale and provide effective services to its consumers must be open to modernization. Modernization of software systems enhances their longevity and keeps them relevant to the technological age in which they are operating.
This thought process is equally valuable to desktop apps. Application stakeholders have an imperative to recognize the need to modernize desktop software in a timely manner to efficiently continue providing services which remain competitive in the face of competition; embracing new technologies, advancements in techniques and user interface design and even fashions for UX paradigms which wax and wane. In this blog post, we’ll look at how you can modernize your Windows apps on time and that too under your approved budget.
How can I modernize my Delphi app?
Embarcadero Technologies published a whitepaper titled “Successfully Modernizing A Popular Windows C++ IDE” that discusses the aspects and strategies used to modernize DevC++ IDE. This migration and up-gradation activity is an extremely important and valuable learning resource for the teams that plan on app migration.
The upgrade of DevC++ IDE was done in two phases. The first phase aimed at making the least possible changes to make the application compile with the newer version of Delphi. After that, the second phase involved changes such as compiler upgrade, Unicode support, and full support for Windows 10 with Embarcadero DevC++ 6.0.
The case study mentions that there were some important third-party upgrades as well. The most important of all were SynEdit, FastMM4, AStyle, and TDM-GCC. The Embarcadero team identified the components to be upgraded and that is indeed one of the essential and crucial steps towards any third-party migration.
The upgrade, as a result, provided a new and modern interface along with a faster and smoother Windows development in C++.
Just like the DevC++ IDE upgrade, you can also follow similar steps to migrate your Delphi application for a smoother and better developer and user experience.
Read the Successfully Modernizing A Popular Windows C++ IDE whitepaper to explore more about the DevC++ IDE upgrade.
What are some of the essential elements for migration and up-gradation?
If you are considering modernizing your legacy Delphi desktop application, you might think of the following essential migration and modernization strategies, to begin with.
Why was Unicode important?
Prior to the mid 2000s, Unicode was not often considered a technology of enough importance to include in most systems available on the market. With a more widespread adoption and availability of internet connectivity support for character sets which were able to render a broad range of languages became a pressing issue. People wanted their programs to be displaying text in the language they spoke and read rather than English which had become the Internet’s Lingua Franca (an ironic phrase if you think about it). Unicode allowed, for example, Russians to read and use Cyrillic characters or Japanese users to choose to display screens using Kanji should they choose to do so.
Unicode support was added to Delphi, C++ Builder, and RAD Studio in 2009. There are multiple resources that help with the migration and upgrading of legacy Delphi applications to a newer version which supports Unicode changes.
For more information about Unicode resources, you may visit the Unicode section of our Migration and Upgrade Center resource.
Is 64bit migration important?
When dealing with legacy applications built for 32-bit operating systems you might think that modernizing your applications for a 64-bit operating system will be a troublesome and labor-intensive task to do. In many cases, can be true; but not with Delphi and RAD Studio.
Beginning the emergence of Delphi XE2 and continuing to this day, it is now extremely simple to generate 64bit applications using the same codebase as that for 32bit applications. This migration process is significantly easier compared to other languages that require changes to variable and record/structure types to bridge the gap and resolve differences between the 32 and 64 bit platforms.
For more information about 64bit migration, you may visit the 64bit migration section of our Migration and Upgrade Center resource.
How does database and middleware fit into modernization?
Database migration is probably one of the most crucial elements for evolving software applications. The teams that look for database migration and optimization opportunities remain successful in the long run as they can more easily adapt to newer market requirements for the most critical part of application experience: data.
The older-style desktop databases, Borland Database Engine (BDE) and dbExpress have been removed from Delphi installation in favor of a new, feature-packed and vastly more powerful FireDAC. The migration is simple, easy, and straightforward.
For more information about database and middleware, you may visit the database and middleware section of our Migration and Upgrade Center resource.
What 3rd party components are available to help modernize our apps?
If your legacy Delphi application is using 3rd party components and libraries, they need to be rebuilt for the current Delphi version. If you already have the source code of third-party components, then this becomes easier as you will just need to rebuild your application.
On the other hand, if your legacy application is using third-party resources without the availability of the original source code then you will have to use updated versions of those components that are compatible with newer Delphi.
For more information about 3rd party components, you may visit the 3rd party components section of our Migration and Upgrade Center resource.
Here is an interesting video that talks about modernizing your legacy Delphi projects in great detail.
Also, this recent webinar about automation, workflows, and modernization involving Embarcadero MVPs Glenn Dufke and Wagner Landgraf can also help you figure migration and modernization strategies for your legacy Delphi projects.
What are a few modernization ideas for a Delphi application?
- In-app payments and ads – Delphi has components for this
- Data connection security with SSL
- Create and deploy icons for your app
- App activation and deactivation events – a standard Event mechanism in modern Delphi versions
- Business analytics
- Multithreading for better responsiveness – recent version of Delphi have really great libraries and classes which make threading a much easier task than in years past
RAD Studio Delphi is the fastest way to turn your ideas into modern native applications which work on the very latest versions of Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS and Android. Why not download a free trial today and see for yourself?