Memories of Turbo Pascal

Working with Turbo Pascal back in the early 80’s was so much fun that a robust application for DOS could be generated and used by various folks.   The compiler was fast and the language was simple to learn.  The original package was a solid manual as well as the famous diskettes.  Once installed the world was open to generate a single executable that could be used on any DOS machine.

At that time I was developing a package for OSHA using DBASE III which was another great product, simple to use and affordable database manager.  I needed to get a dynamic editor inserted so that the DBASE application could shell out to execute it and allow the end user to write documents which were stored in the DBASE database.  It took about 2 to 3 days to get the tested product ready and inserted into the DBASE application.

I wrote so many utilities as well as applications using Turbo Pascal that I will never stop forgetting and thanking Philippe Kahn who put a robust package along with a cheap, and I do mean cheap price so that anyone can get it as well as fighting against the Microsoft machine that was gearing up for world domination.

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The Tomes of Delphi Algorithms and Data Structures by Julian Bucknall

The Tomes of Delphi Algorithms and Data Structures by Julian Bucknall has been revised and is currently selling on lulu.com. Bucknall is the chief technology officer at Devexpress which writes software for Delphi and Microsoft Visual Studio. It does seem that Devexpress is heavily moving towards the Visual Studio product line and will not put too much into the Delphi VCL product line. Their products are very well written but the cost to the development is extremely high where you can begin to spend about $900 for the low end or as high as $2200 for the yearly subscription.

Their competition in the Delphi world is TMS Software and that is something Bucknall does not want to speak about since TMS is about 2/3 lower in cost and the components are well written.

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Bucknall wrote the original book back in 2001 and decided to have it republished for the current date. Now that being said I found the book to still have the original content from 2001 (speaking about accessing the CD which is not even part of this revision) so in basic terms, I could have found a copy from 2001 and use that instead of purchasing the newly bounded book.

The books does provide an overview of using algorithms and data structures as well as a discussion of algorithm performance, and provides simple coverage of topics such as arrays, linked lists, and binary trees. The book also provides search algorithms (sequential and binary searches) as well as including bubble, insertion, Shell, quicksort, merge sort, and heap-sort. There is a limited view of hashing, hash tables, priority queues, state machines and regular expressions which wraps up with data compression techniques.

It provides source code but using very early Delphi versions, you wonder if Bucknall was looking to cash in by doing a simple reprint without doing any sort of work as well as selling this as if it was updated to a Delphi version that at least is in this decade or did he sell the rights to the book for someone to do this sort of deceitful publishing.

Bucknall tends to come off with such a heavy head you wonder whether if can walk down the street informing folks that this book was sold for a huge amount of money when in fact I would feel sorry for a fool and their money.

My recommendation is to get the PDF at the low cost because you will not be using it very often.


Product Details

Publisher: Julian Bucknall
Published: September 25, 2006
Language: English
Pages: 524
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink: Black & white
Weight: 2.28 lbs.
Dimensions (inches): 7.44 wide x 9.68 tall

Delphi Developers Day 2015 Meet Up

During the Chicago Delphi Developer day on April 13th, Embarcadero is having their night time meeting to go over neat new devices as well as getting fed. Last time in Baltimore you were able to see various new techie toys like Google Glass, a brain scanner that could move devices by impulse and other stuff.

If you are going to the Chicago event you can register at http://forms.embarcadero.com/2015DelphiDeveloperDaysMeetup?cid=701G0000000tKU2

Register for Delphi Developers Day 2015 at http://www.delphideveloperdays.com/

Microsoft Windows 10 upcoming features

At this writing things may change either losing some of these features or gaining a few more with the Microsoft Windows 10 preview release. As always Microsoft will show you a batch of nice features which could be in the final release or if they are truly buggy they will get dropped.

Top features on Windows 10

1. The Desktop

Houston, you have a desktop! Yes, Microsoft finally understood the vital mistake they made by throwing out the desktop which is why people did not drop XP, Vista or Windows 7 to jump to Windows 8. Win10 will fix that by giving the desktop the top priority.

2. The Start menu

Windows 10 returns the Start menu to its rightful spot in the lower left-hand corner of the desktop. Windows 10 Start Menu mixes the Metro Start screen’s functionality, sprinkling Live Tiles of Windows 8-style apps next to shortcuts to more traditional PC software. You can turn off the Live Tile, unpin all the Metro apps or you can choose to have the Start menu expand to the full screen. Freedom of choice is back in action.

3. Metro apps

Windows 10 will launch a Metro app on your PC to a desktop window instead of a full screen which confused a lot of people. The windowed apps have a mouse-friendly toolbar of options across the top, and even alter their interface to best fit the size of the window.

4. Action Center notifications

Notifications with popups reminding you of all sorts of useful information.

5. Cortana

Siri may get jealous while Cortana makes the jump to PCs with Windows 10. Control of the operating system’s search functions, Cortana will attempt to gain access to everything you are doing on the workstation, it may be better suited to a phone or tablet but it will be a cool feature in the beginning until it becomes annoying such as the Microsoft Office 97 smart helpers were let loose. Cortana can help you call a friend, schedule a reminder, set an alarm, check your calendar, compare stocks, and more, all via natural language queries you ask using text or voice commands.

6. Continuum

The Continuum feature will allow the user that enjoyed the quicker touch mode for opening apps will be available so that depending on the device you can dynamically switch the interface between the desktop to a Windows 8 flavor. Depending on the device you are using one will default to either the tile or the desktop.

7. XBox

With Sony PS4 killing XBox ONE and Microsoft investing so much you knew that they wanted to get something for the public to begin thinking about the XBox again. The center point is your Activity Feed, which is populated by your Xbox Live Friends’ activities, such as unlocking an achievement or launching a Twitch stream. The right side of the app lists your friends; selecting one offers options to view their game clips, invite them to a party, send an IM, and more. You can also view your own achievements, manage your profile, and more all right within the app. Eventually, you’ll be able to stream your Xbox One games to a Windows 10 PC or tablet.

8. Settings

Finally they will have Settings coming from the Start Menu instead of moving between screens to get to the Control Panel. This was attempted to be fixed in Windows 8.1 which did solve alot of lost users and hopefully this will be back to normal from the Start Menu.

9. File Explorers Home folder

This feature will present you with a HOME folder that displays the recent used files and folders so you can quickly figure out what you were doing yesterday.

10. Boot to the desktop

Finally they came to their senses instead of the useless start screen which you most likely did not use but swiped to get to the apps screen.

11. Virtual desktops

This feature allows you to see exactly what is opened, their presentation and how fast you can get to it. Almost like Apple, oops did I say that ?

Overall, this is Microsoft getting back on to the best path for the Windows user. By giving it for free they openly say ‘we care about you!’

Microsoft: Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users for 1 year after launch

Microsoft has announced that all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 for the first year of its launch. Sorry XP and Vista users you most likely will have to purchase a new machine. This is a good move by Microsoft to show that they are willing to admit that the Windows 8 release was a disaster and it is time to move on.

As always, Microsoft claims on numbers is very loose but they claim that over 650 million people have upgraded to Windows 7 SP1 and 200 million people updated to Windows 8.1 Update which means that they’ll be getting Windows 10 for free.

The Windows 10 release will be a big effort to indicate to the world that the desktop is not dead but quite honestly if you are using an OS such as XP or Vista, you will have to purchase a new machine to handle the Windows 10, do not attempt to upgrade unless you love feeling pain. Most of the hardware on these types of machines will not work with the latest 10.

To this day I still think it is so silly that Windows 9 was not even considered because of the Ballmer mistake which is not the first one but it was the last one that he made (unless you are thinking the LA Clippers are not worth that much money!).

Embarcadero Acquires Castalia and Usertility from TwoDesk Software

Embarcadero has announced that it acquire Castalia for Delphi and Usertility from TwoDesk Software. Embarcadero will integrate the productivity features of Castalia into RAD Studio’s integrated development environment (IDE) to enhance and optimize the coding experience for both Object Pascal and C++. RAD Studio will also feature Usertility, a powerful and easy to integrate service for monitoring app usage. This acquisition delivers on Embarcadero’s commitment to developer productivity by enabling RAD Studio users to get integrated support for these great third-party solutions, which will be sold and supported by Embarcadero.

Castalia provides the Rad Studio Delphi developer live syntax checking as well as other assorted IDE software tools. Usertility provides drop-in application usage analytics for software written in Delphi, where and how many active users, does the software crash, version information, as well as other stats that a developer needs when going to market to answer those types of questions.

The purchase of these products will close out the two desk software company but will add strong software tools for the developer in the long run.

Lazarus Version 1.2.6 for Windows is available!

The Pascal compiler Lazarus has released version 1.2.6 for Windows. The suggestion is to install the 32-bit Windows version due to the instability of the 64-bit version.

Lazarus comes in 2 other flavors, one for Linux and one for Apple OSX. The concept is that you write and use one source code base with only having to recompile on the operating system you are using at the moment which could be Linux, Apple OS or Windows.

You can install Lazarus based on your operating system by going to Sourceforge

Installation procedures

The Windows and Linux installation are pretty straight forward allowing you to remove the previous version or you can maintain multiple versions. That is up to the developer.

The Apple OS needs 3 different files to be installed to have Lazarus to work properly.

You need the Apple Developer tools, which are a part of the XCode development environment. They can be installed from the original Mac OS X installation disks or downloaded from the Apple Developer Connection (ADC), which requires free registration: Apple
As most developers on the Apple platform know that they have to have XCode installed.

To install Lazarus you have to download the following 3 files:
1. fpc – the Compiler, some command line tools, base units and non visual components like database access
2. fpcsrc – the sources of fpc and its packages, needed for code browsing
3. lazarus – the IDE, visual components and help files

Read more information here

Lazarus provides a pretty neat FREE pascal compiler that works on Linux, Apple and Windows, which allows a developer to create one source code base for 3 different Operating Systems.

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