Borland Delphi, C++ Upgrades Eye .NET Interop

Borland's latest upgrade to its Delphi, and C++Builder tools sport features that will make it easier for these non-Microsoft devs to participate in .NET-based projects. IDN takes a drill-down look at how Borland's Enterprise Core Objects (ECO) technology brings devs using Borland's Delphi 2006 and C++Builder 2006 key enterprise features to .NET, including object-relational mapping and transparent object persistence.

Tags: Delphi, ECO, Windows, Devs, Customers, Applications, Design,


Borland's latest upgrade to its Delphi, and C++Builder tools sport features that will make it easier for these non-Microsoft devs to participate in .NET-based projects.

As a result, Borland's Delphi 2006, C++Builder 2006, are combined with C#Builder 2006 in Borland Developer Studio, creating a rich multi-language developer environment for both Windows and .NET applications.

IDN takes a drill-down look at how Borland's Enterprise Core Objects (ECO) technology brings devs using Borland's Delphi 2006 and C++Builder 2006 key enterprise features to .NET, including object-relational mapping and transparent object persistence with a chat with Borland's director of product marketing Rob Cheng and Michael Swindell, director of Borland's product management - Windows and .NET applications.

But first, a quick overview of the tools enhancements for 2006.

--- Delphi 2006 supports reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, and advanced IDE integration with UML modeling, requirements management, version control, bug tracking, and team collaboration. Delphi 2006 includes native support for Microsoft's NET Framework, as well as ASP.NET, VCL.NET, VCL, and Win32 SDKs,

--- C++Builder 2006 also adds RAD and ALM features for mission-critical C/C++ development, including C/C++ build configuration and project management capabilities for organizing multiple build settings, and WYSIWYG web design and application development capabilities.

--- C#Builder 2006 also leverages the ECO III capabilities familiar to J2EE programmers, like object-relational mapping, persistence, UML modeling, and transactions. In addition, C# users can design applications at the state-diagram level, helping eliminate time-consuming, low-level application work.

Borland's upgraded ECO approach to its multi-language 2006 IDE (Delphi, C++Builder and C#Builder) reflects two key needs from customers, Cheng and Swindell told IDN.

1. "One of the things hearing strongly is that Delphi and Java customers have plans to move to .NET, but not an overnight move," Cheng said. "So the are looking at Microsoft offerings, such as Vista, Avalon and Indigo. But our customers are also telling us that that most of their applications are still native Win32, and so they want a way for a paced transition to .NET ."

2. "Also, we're seeing a lot of customers with specialized applications with low-latency, rich GUI apps -- such as factory floor automation, trading floor apps - looking for ways to seamlessly transition those to .NET," Swindell added. "So, our goal is to support new native code dev for Windows and a seamless migration to .NET. So, out of the box, we support native code and .NET development, and provide a lot of transition technology. "

Putting these upgrades into perspective, Borland's Swindell says he sees a comparison between how Delphi spurred rich client appdev a decade ago, and what ECO can do to help spur a .NET on-ramp among non-.NET developers.

"Ten years ago people looked at rich Windows development as expensive and time-consuming, and we rolled out Delphi that attitude changed and became 'Of course we can do Windows development," Because Delphi made it easier to build rich client apps, devs become enthusiastic. We're thinking the same will happen here with spurring non-.NET devs to be more encouraged about writing for .NET. A lot of our early ECO customers were a bit timid with .NET, and now they are just ECO enthusiastic and that is boosting application development for Windows and .NET."

Inside Borland's 2006 IDE, ECO III Upgrades
Borland has infused its 2006 IDE suite with a wide array of abstraction and metadata (UML) technologies, as well as core enterprise support often used by Java/J2EE developers, including ORM and transaction object persistence.

Among the ECO II highlights are:
  • ECO's design-driven development paradigm is delivered via Borland's UML-based model-powered framework, which is optimized for building web services, ASP.NET, and Windows Form-based database applications. Model-powered applications can be created using the new ECO Synchronization Server, which provides "multiple synchronized object caches" for increased scalability and performance.
  • ECO III's "Live Templates" system enables users to tab through fields and insert points of any template, with an added "Smart Block" completion feature that anticipates and adds block closures as you type, and a new editor "Change Bar" that indicates modified lines and saved session modified lines. The live templates also include advanced re-factorings that automate source code changes and seamless integration. The idea is to reduce the time and cost of building, managing, maintaining and extending both Windows and .NET applications.
  • Enhanced Visual Component Library (VCL) - The updated VCL provides easy graphical user interface (GUI) development with a large selection of GUI components. New "Live Designer" guidelines enable users to drag lines, margins, padding, with text-based alignment, and a new Flow Panel and Grid Panel offering HTML- and Table-style form layouts.
  • Support for "State Diagrams," - State diagrams make it possible for devs to focus on business-centric design, not low-level application plumbing, as well as reuse parts of their application models across different types of applications

    Delphi 2006, C++Builder 2006 and C#Builder 2006, all part of Borland Developer Studio, will be available for pre-order between Oct. 17 and Dec. 1, with customer shipments scheduled for early December. Customers pre-ordering these products will be entitled to a 15 percent discount.

    More information about Borland Developer Studio 2006's products are available from Borland's website.



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