I keep telling anyone I can, Delphi is superb language for developing applications for all platforms, desktop, mobile or the web. Delphi can make gorgeous apps for the desktop such as Windows, Linux or macOS and yet is just as capable for mobile devices such as iOS and Android. You can create web apps with Delphi – not just simple pages but fully capable involved creations which contain all the power and functionality that is possible on the modern web.
But don’t just take my word for it – take a whizz through any of the articles on this blog, watch sessions from DelphiCon 2021 and the Desktop First Summit or visit the wonderful DelphiBooks website and take your pick from the many authors on there. In fact, this year has proven to be a bit of frenzy when it comes to new Delphi books, driven in part by Packt who are fast proving to be major champions of books relating to Delphi. There’s even an updated Delphi Alexandria 11 version of the Delphi must-have Object Pascal Handbook by Marco Cantú which you can download for free.
It’s Packt who once again are the publishers behind the most recent addition to the Delphi literary library: Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi by Delphi MVP David Cornelius. As soon as I read chapter rundowns during the run up to the release period, I pre-ordered this book. It was worth every cent. Here’s my review.
Why Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi?
I only have one issue with David Cornelius’ book “Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi” and it’s the title. This book should have been called something like “how to do almost anything you could ever want with Delphi” because that’s exactly what this book is. A handbook on how to write modern applications using the Delphi language so that they look, work, and behave nicely on almost any computer or device you can think of.
It’s an opening opus of quite spectacular proportions. It’s a love story of the power and flexibility of the Delphi language. It’s a gripping tale of diving into a sea of development tasks and possibilities and emerging with the pages dripping with tips, tricks and techniques which cover almost absolutely anything you could want to do as an application developer writing apps that can work on desktops, mobile and even the web. I struggle to believe this is David’s first book. If it is then he must be encouraged by us all, and Packt his publishers, to draw on his skills to write some more.
“Fearless Cross-Platform Development With Delphi” takes us on a journey from the basics of using the IDE, Delphi’s integrated development environment, project management tips, through more esoteric topics like the command line compiler. After that whirlwind “this is how to do it” introduction, suitable for newcomers to RAD Studio’s development ecosystem, David goes on to give a brief overview of how Delphi’s Object Pascal language came about, emerging as it did from the likes of Apple Pascal and the greatly-loved Borland Turbo Pascal. He takes care to point out how Delphi has continued to evolve from those early beginnings so that it incorporates a whole range of modern programming language features embracing constructs and capabilities to ensure it not only remains technically competitive but also leverages that modernity to do many things faster, better or more succinctly than ever before. Often, Delphi not only matches other programming systems but, in many cases, provides faster, more robust application solutions with a low-code ethos which helps to reduce the amount of coding effort. Why write too much code?
Who is the book for?
The book doesn’t just target those who are new, or returning, to Delphi; it also includes discussions of more advanced topics such as metadata on classes and objects to enable the use of RTTI to automate saving and reloading of settings to files and databases to achieve things like persistence.
And that is only the first third of the book.
The sections following on the initial focus guide us to the bread and butter of the book – developing applications which work on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android mobile devices. Just to round off this head-spinning collection of desirable targets for applications David features an extended practical section on how to target the massively popular low cost Raspberry Pi and even Amazon Fire tablets.
It’s a showcase of what you can really do with Delphi and a little time and knowledge.
There are in-depth discussions on LiveBindings, 3d rendering, where and how to correctly store data on mobile devices, working examples of using hardware sensors such as GPS as well as a long section, with full code, of client and server Bluetooth and Bluetooth beacon interaction; RAD server is covered, web modules for IIS and Apache; even how to deploy suites of applications.
How does the book reinforce the lessons learned?
Page after page of exactly the right kind of Delphi programming knowledge that will both inspire and point you on the path to, yes, I’ll say it, fearlessly go cross platform. Each chapter ends with a recap of the topics it introduced along with a little mini quiz to reinforce that knowledge. Any examples are also available on a public Git repository so you can download and try them for yourself. Many are expanded beyond the code listings in the book so that they offer a more complete and rounded demonstration of the key elements introduced in the text.
Is “Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi” any good?
There are so many different topics covered in this seriously chunky stack of knowledge I can’t believe there would be anyone who would not find it a must-have book to add to their collection. This year has been a true literary renaissance for Delphi books with superb 2021 releases from Marco Cantu, Alister Christie and Dalija Prasnikar, with Dr. Holger Flick releasing his third consistently excellent volume. “Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi” by David Cornelius absolutely deserves to be on your list of essential reading.
Where can you get “Fearless Cross-Platform Development with Delphi”?
Use this link to go to Packet’s official book page. It’s available in both printed hard copy and e-book form.