RAD Studio XE

I visited the launch event for RAD Studio XE in Brussels yesterday, we got a 4 hour presentation about the new features in RAD Studio XE including a set of demos and there was some very tasty Delphi Cake. The cake wasn’t a lie…

I’m going to give you a small summary of what’s new in RAD Studio XE.

What does XE stand for? It stands for Heterogeneous Embarcadero and Toolcloud Enabled. All Embarcadero products will now be named XE, next year RAD Studio 2012 will be named RAD Studio XE 2 and so on.

A lot of focus now goes out to the Embarcadero All-Access product which allows you to access all Embarcadero products instantly including older versions of the products for testing backwards compatibility of your code. All-Access allows you to run these products without installing them and they run using a sort of visualization technology so it’s completely sandboxed.

For the future Embarcadero plans to create a new Delphi compiler which will be more flexible and will be easier to adapt to other platforms. Aside from that they plan to create a new better VCL library, move EDN up to the next level using new modern technologies and more. The x64 and xPlatform support that was going to be in RAD Studio XE has been moved up to the next release because it simply was not ready for release, so that’s certainly something to look out for.

“We do not want to publish another Delphi 8.”

Embarcadero is currently also working on a “Starter” edition of RAD Studio/Delphi which will be free or available for a low price, targeting students and hobbyists.

Inside the IDE we find the new Subversion integration as one of the main new features. It allows you to easily add a project to subversion and work with it, the IDE will only commit files you actually need to have in your repository, being the source files, dfm files, etc… The entire subversion integration has been open-sourced in the open tools api which allows 3rd party developers to modify or even add support for other version control systems into the IDE, however this is not done by default as Subversion is the most popular version control system available today. Subversion support is available in all products in RAD Studio including Delphi Prism. Another addition is improved support for code formatting. The code formatting has been improved upon and now works with profiles which you can import/export so you can format on a project-basis. You can now also format an entire project at once. Command-line support for the formatter has now also been included. A small addition to the form designer is that you now have the ability to copy a form and paste an image of it in for example paint. A last addition that was discussed is the ability to rename threads in the threads debugging view.

The Delphi language itself has gotten no extra additions, only the VCL library has gotten a few improvements and generics have been tweaked further. Embarcadero has however put a lot of effort in making C++ Builder comply with the ISO standards for the language.

UML support in Delphi has been extended, most people do not use the UML integration, but it is quite extensive, it can automatically reverse engineer your project and create an UML diagram for it, you can also add classes and more to your project from the UML diagrams. You now have the ability to generate sequence diagrams of your code in UML which allows you to visually inspect how your code works. Aside from this you can now also easily add ancestors of your classes to the diagrams.

The main focus of the XE release is the DataSnap technology and the newly added support for cloud computing with Windows Azure and Amazon EC2. It is now possible to create DataSnap servers in C++ Builder. Clients can be created in Delphi, C++ Builder, RadPHP, and so on. Extra wizards to create web servers have also been added to the program and the REST protocol for communication between server and client. Furthermore the Windows Azure support is component based, which will allow you to easily interact with the Windows Azure cloud. The cloud computing support for Azure is also very powerful and will let you easily execute functions inside of your server that is running in the cloud from clients as if they were running locally.

I’ll be receiving my own copy of RAD Studio XE Professional in a few days and will share my thoughts about it then.

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