Category Archives: Delphi For The Mac

VCL and the FireMonkey Framework (FMX)

We all know and love the VCL. So the qurstion looming large is how will the new FireMonkey son-of-VCL measure up?  Lars Fosdal has a great blog post showing the difference and thankfully the similarities of the VCL and the new FireMonkey framework, which has is know as FMX.

He sums it up as,

This was just a very shallow outline of some of the differences between VCL and FMX, but it is perhaps enough food for thought to make you realize that you most likely will have to put some effort into moving from VCL to FMX. In some cases, you can get away with minor adjustments, but when it comes to sophisticated GUI – or stuff that is based on Windows functions – you will need to rewrite parts of your code.

Details of Third Party XE2 & FireMonkey Support

DevExpress is one of my favorite Delphi component vendors.  So I was interested to read Julian Bucknall’s blog post outlining DevExpress’ plans for XE2, 64 bit and FireMonkey.  While DevExpress will fully support VCL in both 32 bit and 64 bit flavors, when it comes to FireMonkey he said,

we’re going to take a long term view for our support for FireMonkey. We will not support it immediately. Instead we will experiment to see what is involved in converting our controls to use it and will also monitor feedback and the market for it in order to make better informed decisions next year

So, quite sensibly they are taking a “wait and see” strategy.  Personally I think the demand for FireMonkey components will be significant. So I’m anticipating DevExpress committing to FireMonkey in 2012.

RemObject are taking the plunge and providing Hydra support for FireMonkey.  On the RemObject’s blog, Alexander Krakovskii said,

FireMonkey support in Hydra will ship soon™ after Delphi XE2 is generally available, and will be a free update to any customer with an active Hydra subscription.

Personally, I’m hoping TMS jump in and commit to FireMonkey.

Which components would you like to see for FireMonkey – please comment?

Windows Ribbon Control & FireMonkey?

I’m starting to think about the practicalities of developing for FireMonkey. One of our applications would be ideal for the Mac and would have little competition. Of course I’d like any FireMonkey applications to run on both the Mac and Windows (I accept iOS will need a separate GUI). So I started thinking about what the GUI would look like, and sketch out some plans.

All of our apps use Microsoft’s ribbon paradigm. I know some people hate the ribbon but I think it is an improvement over a simple menu and toolbar. And I think it’s here to stay.

So how will the ribbon paradigm translate to FireMonkey? I see the following options:

  1. Go back to a normal menu bar and toolbar (e.g. like Office XP) and ignore the benefits of the ribbon
  2. Create two GUIs, one with the ribbon for Windows and one without the ribbon for Mac
  3. Create a cool menu component which runs as a ribbon on Windows and a normal menu on Mac OS
  4.  Create a ribbon component for FireMonkey which brings the ribbon paradigm to the Mac (as well as Windows)

I don’t want to go back to a vanilla menu bar for Windows; and I don’t want to create two GUIs for Windows and Mac (it defeats the point of FireMonkey). So let’s hope there are some creative component developers which can deliver either options 3 or 4.

What do you think?

Introduction to iOS for Delphi Developers

Phil Hess has updated some of his iOS for Delphi programmers material.  All good stuff – and worth a read.

One point Phil makes is that iOS development in XE2 will be via the ARM Free Pascal compiler.  He says,

Because you’ll be using Free Pascal with Delphi XE2 to compile for both iOS Simulator and iOS devices, be aware that there are a few differences in language features between Free Pascal and Delphi. In general, these are either newish Delphi language features not yet supported by Free Pascal or somewhat esoteric features that you might not even have known about, much less ever used.

Is this correct?  Does anyone have a reference for this.

If it’s true then I must say I’m a little disappointing. I would have liked to see a 100% Embarcadero iOS compiler in XE2.  I think there’s probably two reasons for my disappointment.  Firstly, FireMonkey for iOS is the first departure from the Intel x86 chipset.  This is exciting. If they can do it, and do it well, it bodes well for other platforms. Secondly, I don’t like the idea of Embarcadero being dependent upon the vagaries of an open source project like Free Pascal.  This is probably an unfounded irk on my part (as I sit here typing on my opensource WordPress blog!), but nevertheless it means Embarcadero will have less control.



First Delphi Firemonkey Demo on YouTube

This YouTube video showed up today.  It’s posted by Lazy Mule. It seems to show a simple Delphi application being created and deployed on a Mac.  The code is written using a Windows IDE.  Then there is a remote link to a Mac.  So this would seem to imply there is no Mac IDE.  I guess that’s not a problem if the Windows and OS X versiona share 100% of the code