Time for some Delphi and VCL news

31 March 2010

All this chatter since MIX10 about Silverlight and Windows Phone 7 and Visual Studio 2010 and this .NET thingy or that .NET wotsit is all very well, but let’s go native for a moment for a breath of fresh air.

The VCL team are implementing suggestions and requests for Build 50 (it’s the ‘half-century’ as they say in cricket). They’ve got a little way to go before release yet, but for a couple of beers they were willing to let me in on some of the stuff they’ve been working on (the support center ids are given so that you can click through to the actual support tickets):

1. A1543 - Make unified packages for Delphi/C++Builder personalities in BDS 2006, RAD Studio 2007, 2009, and 2010.

From Build 50 onwards, you can specify if you want to install packages to be shared with both personalities (Delphi and C++Builder). There’s a new option at the top right of the selection screen:

Setup selection screen, no shared packages

Select it and the selection pane changes:

Setup selection screen, with shared packages

If a particular product is not supported for one of the personalities (normally, that means C++Builder Smile), a warning icon is displayed next to the check box.

Setup selection screen, not supported icon

Shared packages are stored to a separate folder in the <DX Installation Folder>\Library folder and their names include RS (short for RAD Studio).

Using shared packages won’t be a problem if you have existing Delphi projects, but customers with existing C++Builder projects will have to update their project files with the new package names. We’re working on a Project Conversion tool (still being written) that will help our C++Builder customers accomplish this tedious task.

2. S90946 - Provide *.SKINRES files for built-in Skins.

Starting with Build 50, we'll be shipping the ExpressSkins Library with binary skin files (*.SKINRES files) containing our built-in skins. Each file will contain one skin. So, if you're dynamically loading skins in your applications, updating your look and feel with up-to-date versions of built-in skins will be as easy as ABC. *.SKINRES files are installed to the <DX Installation Folder>\ExpressSkins Library\Binary Skin Files folder.

3. S34045 - RAD Studio 2010 - Publish touch-based GUI related events and properties.

Break out your Tablet PC: the Touch property and the OnGesture event have been published in the TcxControl class. These members will now be available at design time in all TcxControl descendants. Touch FTW!

4. B131747 - cxGroupBox - Add the capability to specify the color of a caption when the PanelStyle.Active = True, or the Alignment = alCenterCenter.

To specify the caption color from Build 50 onwards, use the TextColor property of the Common.GroupPanelNoBorder skin element.

5. Q250737 - Grid - Add the capability to specify a group row's background, separator, and text colors if the OptionsView.GroupRowStyle property is set to grsOffice11

To specify these colors, use the additional Office11ContentColor, Office11SeparatorColor, and Office11TextColor properties of the Grid.GroupRow skin element:


6. S34521 - LayoutControl - Make a separate skin element for a layout group's expand button

We’ve introduced the Common.GroupExpandButton skin element to skin this particular button in Build 50. Previously, the button was skinned using the Grid.PlusMinus skin element.

I want to emphasize that these are just some of the items they’ve been working on during the three weeks or so since Build 49. There will be many more once Build 50 comes out, so this is just a taster. Plus, we’ve all just got away from all that .NET stuff for a little while...

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