FMX Grid: future plans

ctodx
02 December 2020

A couple of weeks ago, we published the latest release of the DevExpress VCL Subscription, v20.2. Now that the Thanksgiving break is over, it's time to talk about what we plan for FireMonkey. I'm afraid that it's not the best of news: we have decided to put our FMX development on hold and not enhance the grid beta any further. There are several reasons for this decision.

1. After some three years of experimentation and development with FireMonkey, we have come to the conclusion that it is too slow for the depth of functionality and the type of controls for which we're recognized. Actually, this is something we've encountered before with C# and Xamarin Forms: we had to concede that the only way we could develop useful controls for that framework was to write them natively. In essence, we write them twice: once for iOS with Objective-C, and once for Android with Java, and then create a "simple" Xamarin Forms wrapper to expose their functionality to the C# developer. We found it was the only viable way we could produce the user experience and performance for our controls that our customers expect. Of course, as you can surmise, it’s over twice the usual work and effort to produce a useable control. With regard to our Delphi customer base, we and the team would rather concentrate on producing the best-in-class VCL controls – witness the newly released beta of the Gantt control as an example.

2. Another reason, perhaps less paramount, is that the FireMonkey framework, the API if you like, is still not extensive or detailed enough for the depth of functionality we and our customers assume from our 22 years of using and capitalizing on the VCL framework. We keep on running into functionality roadblocks that require us to write extensions to the base FMX library.

3. Finally, and I'd have to say this is a little disappointing, we just didn't get the level of interest or feedback from our customers that we were projecting. Perhaps this was due to the fact that the grid and editors beta we released wasn't extensive enough that people were ready to try it out and provide feedback on the functionality, or maybe there just isn't enough interest in FireMonkey for, say, MacOS, and hence our desktop viewpoint didn't match expectations. Again, this leads us to believe that our customer base would prefer more and better VCL controls rather than splitting the team into two to provide FMX controls as well.

The current beta of our FireMonkey grid suite will remain available as a free download for VCL Subscription customers from the Download Center. As of this point in time, we have no plans to add any further documentation or enhancements.

If you have feedback about this decision or wish to discuss it, do please email me at julianb@devexpress.com.

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26 comment(s)
Claudio Piffer
Claudio Piffer

Hi Julian thanks for your info.

I have been using the DevExpress VCL suite for 20 years. I'm a little sorry but what I need is a major investment in the VCL suite. The .NET counterpart has many components and I would like the VCL suite to be closer to what was developed for .NET.

Best Regards

2 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Claudio: And that's what we do with regard to our new controls for VCL. Let the .NET team find out all the issues with a particular control or some specific functionality, and then take what they did and what works and convert it to Delphi. Boom! 😃

Cheers, Julian

2 December 2020
Zsolt Prezsnyak
Zsolt Prezsnyak

Okay, FMX discarded. Supporting CrossVcl would be a good alternative.

Best regards,
Zsolt

2 December 2020
Matthew Vesperman
Matthew Vesperman
I would actually love to see the Layout control for FMX match the VCL one better.
2 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Zsolt: Not something I've heard of before, but I would guess it would suffer from the same issues as my first point above. I'll get someone on the team to check it out though.

Cheers, Julian

2 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Matthew: I hear you, but it's not something that is going to happen at this stage, I'm afraid.

Cheers, Julian

2 December 2020
Zsolt Prezsnyak
Zsolt Prezsnyak

This is great, thank you very much! CrossVcl is maybe even better than FMX. For example, on MacOS, they look native in dark mode, changing the color of input elements and scaling.

All the best, Zsolt

2 December 2020
CRM-4e3154cb-12e2-4092-a673-37b53f87e314
Shaun Roselt

This is a bit disappointing, but understandable. 


The main reason we haven't ported all our apps over to FMX yet is because of DevExpress not being available on it, but I guess we're going to have to move on and port without DevExpress within the next 2 years.

3 December 2020
Denis Harms_1
Denis Harms_1
Very wise decision. Looking forward to the roadmap for 2021 and what to expect for the VCL. There are so many interesting things in the .NET counterpart...
3 December 2020
Charalampos Michael
Charalampos Michael

Well,

   Keep in mind FGX Native. https://www.fgx-native.com/en/

   Although it's mobile only it may expand to desktop OS in the future.

3 December 2020
Rodrigo Coelho
Rodrigo Coelho
Dear Julian,

Firemonkey it's a interesting way to application development for multiple OS, but we need to remenber several companies already develops your applications using Delphi, and they don't have time and resources to convert to Firemonkey. So, VCL is the focus.

I prefere improve my VCL application, instead create another from zero.

Sincerely,

Rodrigo.

3 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Charalampos: Another framework I've not heard of -- I need to get out more 😃. I'll pass it on to the team to see what they say. Thanks!

Cheers, Julian

3 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Shaun: I hear and understand what you're saying, but I will reinforce that this decision was not lightly made. Our VCL team are stalwart Delphi developers (and know way more than I ever did), and if they say X, Y, Z about Delphi and its ecosystem, I'm inclined to take them at their word.

Cheers, Julian

3 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Denis: Go on then, I'm intrigued. What are your top three controls/features that are in our .NET suites that aren't in our VCL subscription?

Cheers, Julian

3 December 2020
Denis Martyanov
Denis Martyanov
Top one needed feature from .NET: dashboards. IMO )
3 December 2020
Claudio Piffer
Claudio Piffer

.NET to porting in Delphi:

1. Dashboard

2. Chart

3. Splash Screens


3 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

...getting that common theme already: Dashboards (and all they'd entail) 😃

Cheers, Julian


3 December 2020
Jeff Weir
Jeff Weir
Thank you! +1 for the CrossVcl support.
3 December 2020
Rodrigo Coelho
Rodrigo Coelho
+1 Dashboards
4 December 2020
Matthias Schlegel
Matthias Schlegel

.NET to porting in Delphi:

1. Dashboard

2. Chart


Thank's
Matthias Schlegel

4 December 2020
Denis Harms_1
Denis Harms_1
Dashboard, SplashScreens
4 December 2020
Teksdata Yazılım ve Otomasyon Sistemleri Ltd. Sti.
Teksdata Yazılım ve Otomasyon Sistemleri Ltd. Sti.

Dashboard very important  ( and all they'd entail )


4 December 2020
D O'Toole
D O'Toole

Hi Julian,

I'm pleased that VCL will now be getting undivided attention.

Regarding cross platform, have you considered going down the WebApp route instead? Something along the lines of XAF for VCL.


Des

4 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@All: OK, OK, OK!!! I'm getting the vibe from everyone for VCL dashboards! 😂

Cheers, Julian

4 December 2020
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

@Des: The "XAF for VCL" thought is certainly something for the team to consider. I warn you though that it's not an idea we've considered as yet, though, so I'll have to have a chat with the XAF team to see what issues might arise.

Cheers, Julian

4 December 2020
rguss
rguss
yes, Dashboards and Splash Screens would be nice.
4 December 2020

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