Ten Things I Love about Delphi 2005. Okay, Eleven

Last time I wrote, to the shock of many I am sure, about the things I don’t like about Delphi 2005. Granted, a bunch of them were pet-peevish, but hey, it’s my column, and I can rant about pet-peeves if I want, right?

Well, of course you had to know what this column was going to be about. That’s right! Here it is: The Top Ten Things I Love About Delphi 2005. I had to do it, of course. You expect nothing less of me, I know.

  1. I love the History view. I especially love it when it is integrated with StarTeam. (Have I mentioned how much StarTeam totally rocks, and how you get a client license and the server if you buy Enterprise and above? I haven’t? Well, I just did!) The History tab has already saved my butt at least 100 times, mostly from my own silliness, and sometimes from the quirks of the IDE. It helps me be a bit more daring and brave with some hair-brained coding scheme that I come up with, knowing that I can always revert to an earlier version of my code. I have my history number at 90, the max. What’s your History Number?

  2. I love the integrated unit testing. I’ve only recently been seeing the wisdom and general coolness of unit testing, and the wizards in the IDE made doing it so easy that I started doing lots of unit testing. I started writing my code with the idea of it being tested. Shoot, I even started writing my tests before I wrote my code. And of course, once you get started, you get addicted, and then you are off to the races. Unit testing will help you write better code even if your code never fails a test. Unit testing garners the opposite of the advice I give on COM programming: If you aren’t doing it, start. If you are doing it, do it more.

  3. I love the ASP.NET Deployment Manager. I use this all the time now. I have two or three deployments for each of my ASP.NET applications so I can easily deploy an application from the office, from a hotel room, or lying in bed watching David Letterman. The thing just knows what files need to be deployed, and does it all with the push of a button. Can’t beat that.

  4. I love the DataHub/DataSync/RemoteConnection/RemoteServer components. I didn’t really have much of any idea what these things did. One day I started dropping them on a couple of forms. I hooked a few things up, set a few properties, and the next thing I know, I was serving up data over a .Net Remoting connection. I hadn’t even written any code. It was easier than getting Charlie to talk about open source software. Can’t beat that. Can’t do that in VS.Net.

  5. I love having all those languages in the same IDE. Despite the fact that I really can’t stand C#, I have to admit there is a lot of good code out there written in it. Delphi 2005 allows me to add in a C#-based assembly to a project and work with it, while still doing all my real coding in Delphi. I love the little icon in the toolbar that tells you what the current personality is. One of my favorite demos is to create a Project Group that has a Win32 VCL app, a VCL.NET app, a C# app, an ASP.NET app, and a VB app in it, and then hit Build All. Works a treat. Can’t do that in VS.NET.

  6. I love the for…in syntax. I find myself using this all the time now. All the time. It’s so natural now, I wonder how we ever got along without it.

  7. I love the StarTeam integration. This really rocks. (Have I mentioned how cool StarTeam is, and how wise and smart you’d be to start using it?). You can make a direct connection between a project in the Project Manager and a project in your StarTeam repository. You can easily check in and check out files right in the IDE. The StarTeam client is even integrated inside the IDE. Like I said, it rocks.

  8. Refactoring! I love the refactorings! This is probably at the top of the "How did I get along without this?" list. I love this stuff. I love "Rename Variable" and "Extract Method" the best. I find that I am actually starting to write code that I know will eventually be refactored. I’m making a big ol’ list of new refactorings that I’m going to start pestering Corbin about. This feature is really making my code better. Very, very nice. And unless I’m mistaken — you can’t do that in VS.NET without an expensive add-in.

  9. I like the new Welcome Page. Some people hate the welcome page, but I can’t really understand that. I guess some folks just can’t stand having valuable information at their finger tips. I like having the most recently used files right there, not hiding behind a menu. I like seeing the BDN feeds, as they contain lots of good info.

  10. I love ECO. Okay, I know almost nothing about it. I can’t hardly make it actually do anything just yet. But I sure do know what it is and what it can do, and that it does really cool things like making writing database applications about ten times faster, and a whole lot more fun. (Does anyone actually like writing SQL?) And you most assuredly can’t do that sort of thing in VS.NET. Microsoft will be glad to try to deliver some vaporware to you, but Borland is shipping this stuff today.

  11. I love the new icon. That Trojan helmet thing is cool. I really like it.

Okay, that was eleven. So I can’t control myself. Can you blame me?

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