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Tag - RTTI

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2015, Saturday November 21

Try to avoid RTTI (ab)use

There is a very trendy move, since a few years, to value so called "meta-programming".
In short, it is about the ability to treat programs as their data.
It is a very powerful paradigm in functional languages, and it was also introduced to OOP languages, even in SmallTalk a long time before this concept was trendy in Ruby, C# or Java.

In OOP compiled languages, reflection is used to achieve a similar behavior at run-time, mainly via RTTI (Run-Time Type Information).
Delphi supports RTTI since its version 1, as it was heavily used e.g. for all UI streaming.
In our framework, we rely on RTTI for its main features: ORMSOA and MVC - and even in some other parts, like Desktop UI generation.

But RTTI could easily be abused.
Here are some thoughts, started as a comment in a good old Mason's blog article about how RTTI performance may be a bottleneck.
My comment was to get rid of RTTI, and follow a SOLID implementation with explicit OOP code, like use of interface.

Continue reading...

2014, Sunday May 18

Automatic JSON serialization of record or dynamic arrays via Enhanced RTTI

Since Delphi 2010, the compiler generates additional RTTI at compilation, so that all record fields are described, and available at runtime.
By the way, this enhanced RTTI is one of the reasons why executables did grow so much in newer versions of the compiler.

Our SynCommons.pas unit is now able to use this enhanced information, and let any record be serialized via RecordLoad() and RecordSave() functions, and all internal JSON marshalling process.

In short, you have nothing to do.
Just use your record as parameters, and, with Delphi 2010 and up, they will be serialized as valid JSON objects.

Of course, text-based definition or callback-based registration are still at hand, and will be used with older versions of Delphi.
But you could be used to by-pass or extend the enhanced-RTTI serialization, even on newer versions of the compiler.

Continue reading...

2014, Friday April 18

Introducing mORMot's architecture and design principles

We have just released a set of slides introducing 

  • ORM, SOA, REST, JSON, MVC, MVVM, SOLID, Mocks/Stubs, Domain-Driven Design concepts with Delphi, 
  • and showing some sample code using our Open Source mORMot framework.

You can follow the public link on Google Drive!

This is a great opportunity to discovers some patterns you may not be familiar with, and find out how mORMot try to implement them.
This set of slides may be less intimidating than our huge documentation - do not be terrified by our Online Documentation!
The first set of pages (presenting architecture and design principles) is worth reading.

Feedback is welcome on our forum, as usual.

2014, Monday April 7

JavaScript support in mORMot via SpiderMonkey

As we already stated, we finished the first step of integration of the SpiderMonkey engine to our mORMot framework.
Version 1.8.5 of the library is already integrated, and latest official revision will be soon merged, thanks to mpv's great contribution.
It can be seen as stable, since it is already used on production site to serve more than 1,000,000 requests per day.

You can now easily uses JavaScript on both client and server side.
On server side, mORMot's implementation offers an unique concept, i.e. true multi-threading, which is IMHO a huge enhancement when compared to the regular node.js mono-threaded implementation, and its callback hell.
In fact, node.js official marketing states its non-blocking scheme is a plus. It allows to define a HTTP server in a few lines, but huge server applications need JavaScript experts not to sink into a state a disgrace.

Continue reading...

2013, Thursday March 7

64 bit compatibility of mORMot units

I'm happy to announce that mORMot units are now compiling and working great in 64 bit mode, under Windows.
Need a Delphi XE2/XE3 compiler, of course!

ORM and services are now available in Win64, on both client and server sides.
Low-level x64 assembler stubs have been created, tested and optimized.
UI part is also available... that is grid display, reporting (with pdf export and display anti-aliasing), ribbon auto-generation, SynTaskDialog, i18n... the main SynFile demo just works great!

Overall impression is very positive, and speed is comparable to 32 bit version (only 10-15% slower).

Speed decrease seems to be mostly due to doubled pointer size, and some less optimized part of the official Delphi RTL.
But since mORMot core uses its own set of functions (e.g. for JSON serialization, RTTI support or interface calls or stubbing), we were able to release the whole 64 bit power of your hardware.

Delphi 64 bit compiler sounds stable and efficient. Even when working at low level, with assembler stubs.
Generated code sounds more optimized than the one emitted by FreePascalCompiler - and RTL is very close to 32 bit mode.
Overall, VCL conversion worked as easily than a simple re-build.
Embarcadero's people did a great job for VCL Win64 support, here!

Continue reading...

2013, Saturday January 5

Domain-Driven-Design and mORMot

Implementing Domain-Driven-Design (DDD) is one goal of our mORMot framework.

We already presented this particular n-Tier architecture.

It is now time to enter deeper into the material, provide some definition and reference.
You can also search the web for reference, or look at the official web site.
A general presentation of the corresponding concepts, in the .NET world, was used as reference of this blog entry.

Stay tuned, and ride the mORMot!

Continue reading...

2012, Thursday May 3

Custom JSON serialization of records

By default, during interface-based service call, any record parameter or function result will be serialized with our proprietary binary (and optimized layout) - i.e. RecordLoad and RecordSave functions - then encoded in Base-64, to be stored as plain text within the JSON stream.

But custom record JSON serialization can be defined, as with any class - see this article - or dynamic array - see this article.

Continue reading...

2011, Tuesday November 8

Currency is your friend

The currency type is the standard Delphi type to be used when storing and handling monetary values. It will avoid any rounding problems, with 4 decimals precision. It is able to safely store numbers in the range -922337203685477.5808 .. 922337203685477.5807. Should be enough for your pocket change.

As stated by the official Delphi documentation:

Currency is a fixed-point data type that minimizes rounding errors in monetary calculations. On the Win32 platform, it is stored as a scaled 64-bit integer with the four least significant digits implicitly representing decimal places. When mixed with other real types in assignments and expressions, Currency values are automatically divided or multiplied by 10000.

In fact, this type matches the corresponding OLE and .Net implementation of currency, and the one used by most database providers (when it comes to money, a dedicated type is worth the cost in a "rich man's world"). It is still implemented the same in the Win64 platform (since XE 2). The Int64 binary representation of the currency type (i.e. value*10000 as accessible via PInt64(aCurrencyValue)^) is a safe and fast implementation pattern.

In our framework, we tried to avoid any unnecessary conversion to float values when dealing with currency values. Some dedicated functions have been implemented for fast and secure access to currency published properties via RTTI, especially when converting values to or from JSON text. Using the Int64 binary representation can be not only faster, but also safer: you will avoid any rounding problem which may be introduced by the conversion to a float type. Rounding issues are a nightmare to track - it sounds safe to have a framework handling natively a currency type from the ground up.

Continue reading...

2011, Saturday July 2

Is Object-Relational Mapping the Paradise of Computer Science?

There is a well known syndrome around, against ORM.

Do you remember The Vietnam of Computer Science article?

It is worth reading... and commenting.
Sounds a bit outdated by now. Tempus fugit!

Continue reading...

2011, Saturday March 12

TDynArray and Record compare/load/save using fast RTTI

The SynCommons unit has been enhanced:
- new BinToBase64 and Base64ToBin conversion functions;
- new low-level RTTI functions for handling record types: RecordEquals, RecordSave, RecordSaveLength, RecordLoad;
- new TDynArray object, which is a wrapper around any dynamic array.

With TDynArray, you can access any dynamic array (like TIntegerDynArray = array of integer) using TList-like properties and methods, e.g. Count, Add, Insert, Delete, Clear, IndexOf, Find, Sort and some new methods like LoadFromStream, SaveToStream, LoadFrom and SaveTo which allow fast binary serialization of any dynamic array, even containing strings or records - a CreateOrderedIndex method is also available to create individual index according to the dynamic array content. You can also serialize the array content into JSON, if you wish.

What I like with dynamic arrays is that they are reference-counted, don't need any Create/try..finally...Free code, and are well handled by the Delphi compiler.
They are no replacement to a TCollection nor a TList (which are the standard and efficient way of storing class instances), but they are very handy way of having a list of content or a dictionary at hand, with no class nor properties definition.
You can look at them like Python's list, tuples (via records handling) and dictionaries (via Find method), in pure Delphi. Our new methods (about searching and serialization) allow most usage of those script-level structures in your Delphi code.

Continue reading...

2010, Friday July 23

Unit Testing light in Delphi

Automated Unit Testing is a great improvement in coding safe applications.

If you don't know about it, visit http://xprogramming.com/index.php then come back here, and you'll discover how we implement unit testing in a KISS way, in pure Delphi code.

Continue reading...