Pascal Programming

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2018-11-12

EKON 22 Slides and Code

I've uploaded two sets of slides from my presentations at EKON 22 : Object Pascal Clean Code Guidelines Proposal High Performance Object Pascal Code on Servers with the associated source code The WorkShop about "Getting REST with mORMot" has a corresponding new Samples folder in our  […]

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2016-02-08

Linux support for Delphi to be available end of 2016

Marco Cantu, product manager of Delphi/RAD Studio, did publish the official RAD Studio 2016 Product Approach and Roadmap.
The upcoming release has a codename known as "BigBen", and should be called Delphi 10.1 Berlin, as far as I understand.

After this summer, another release, which codename is "Godzilla", will support Linux as a compiler target, in its Delphi 10.2 Tokyo release.
This is a very good news, and some details are given.
I've included those official names to mORMot's internal compiler version detection.
Thanks Marco for the information, and pushing in this direction!

My only concern is that it would be "ARC-enabled"...

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2015-11-21

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.

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2015-10-23

Letters of Hope

As we already notified in this blog, Embarcadero has been finally bought by IDERA. Delphi users received a letter from Randy Jacops, IDERA CEO. Written in my mother language, in perfect French. Nice! The letter states that they have 20,000 customers... It sounds more realistic than the numbers  […]

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2015-10-05

Delphi 10 Seattle Win64 compiler Heisenbug: unusable target

Andy reported that he was not able to validate its IDE fix pack for Delphi 10 Seattle, due to its Win64 compiler not being deterministic anymore. The generated code did vary, from one build to other. Sadly, on our side, we identified that the code generated by the Win64 compiler of Delphi 10 Seattle  […]

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2015-09-21

Embarcadero bought by Idera

Just a link found on Internet. Jefferies is also leading a US$425m covenant-lite credit to back Idera's acquisition of Embarcadero Technologies. Idera is backed by TA Associates. The deal, which launches on Thursday, includes a US$25m revolving credit, a US$300m first-lien term loan and a US$100m  […]

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2015-09-17

AVAST did detect ALL Delphi programs as dangerous

Today, an avalanche of "false postitive detection" of AVAST heuristic engine did occur.
Any executable built with Delphi XE8 or Delphi 10 Seattle was identified as a Win32:Banker-MGC [Trj] threat!

Heuristic analysis is a method employed by many computer antivirus programs designed to detect previously unknown computer viruses, as well as new variants of viruses already in the "wild".

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2015-08-31

Delphi 10 = DX Seattle is out, mORMot supports it

We expected Delphi XE9, and now we have Rad Studio 10 Seattle, with Delphi renamed as Delphi 10 Seattle, or simply DX. No big news for the Delphi compiler itself (we are still waiting for Linux server support), but a lot of FireMonkey updates, Windows 10 compatibility enhancements, enhancements to  […]

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2015-08-24

Introducing Delphinus PackageManager

You may have missed the news. So I relay here the information from Delphinus PackageManager blog article. Delphinus is a new Package Manager, which runs on Delphi XE and newer, directly from within your IDE. It is GitHub-based, and fairly easy to add a reference to. Of course, I tried to add mORMot  […]

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2015-06-21

Why FPC may be a better compiler than Delphi

Almost every time I'm debugging some core part of our framework, I like to see the generated asm, and trying to optimize the pascal code for better speed - when it is worth it, of course! I just made a nice observation, when comparing the assembler generated by Delphi to FPC's output. Imagine you  […]

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2015-06-06

GetIt "Spirit" Concerns

I'm confused by the GetIt Submitting official blog page. Reminds me the darker ages of Delphi licensing change of XE3. GetIt is the new XE8 package manager for RAD Studio. Information about how to submit your libraries to GetIt has just been made available by Embarcadero. The idea behind GetIt is  […]

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2015-05-24

Introducing BeginEnd.net

Did you notice the new https://www.beginend.net web site, by Eric Grange? It is a blog feeds aggregator web site, dedicated to Delphi! It features: a maintained list of websites (including our very little blog); fast to load - thanks to good use of CDN; is not polluted by ads; nor breaking the links  […]

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2015-05-08

I do not like people shoot in my foot, do you?

There was some discussion about the new TStringHelper feature introduced in latest versions of Delphi.
I was told to be some kind of archaic guy, not able to see the benefit of this.
Reducing opinions to a conservative/progressive approach - another famous 10 kinds of coders - is very reductive.

Of course, this was IMHO unfair and my point was that I have the feeling that some decisions about the Delphi language and RTL are inadequate.
Some changes are welcome. I enjoy the introduction of generics - even if it is was painful, and even buggy (do not use TList<T> with managed record types in XE8!).
But some upcoming changes about the string policy - breaking everything just because we want to align with mainstream C# or Java habits - are just non sense to me.
I really think that Embarcadero deciders like to shoot their own foot.
Or - certainly worse - our own feet!

I will post here some part of the discussion...
So that we may be able to share our ideas.

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2015-05-03

SOLID Design Principles

Single-to-rule-them-all class

I've just updated the documentation part about the SOLID Design Principles.
The former blog article (almost 4 years old!) sounds like a bit deprecated now...
This is why I would extract here an updated version of this material.

Ensure you checked the corresponding part of the mORMot documentation, which is the updated reference, and probably the easiest to read - including links to all the other documentation.

The acronym SOLID is derived from the following OOP principles (quoted from the corresponding Wikipedia article):

  • Single responsibility principle: the notion that an object should have only a single responsibility;
  • Open/closed principle: the notion that "software entities ... should be open for extension, but closed for modification";
  • Liskov substitution principle: the notion that "objects in a program should be replaceable with instances of their subtypes without altering the correctness of that program” - also named as "design by contract";
  • Interface segregation principle: the notion that "many client specific interfaces are better than one general purpose interface.";
  • Dependency inversion principle: the notion that one should "Depend upon Abstractions. Do not depend upon concretions.". Dependency injection is one method of following this principle, which is also called Inversion Of Control (aka IoC).

If you have some programming skills, those principles are general statements you may already found out by yourself. If you start doing serious object-oriented coding, those principles are best-practice guidelines you would gain following.

They certainly help to fight the three main code weaknesses:

  • Rigidity: Hard to change something because every change affects too many other parts of the system;
  • Fragility: When you make a change, unexpected parts of the system break;
  • Immobility: Hard to reuse in another application because it cannot be disentangled from the current application.

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2015-04-20

Delphi is not a cross-compiler, but a set of cross-compilers

It is worth saying again.
I'm not speaking this time about performance issues, but about a common misunderstanding of what the latest version of Delphi offers.

Since Delphi "NextGen" compilers did break the memory model (introducing ARC), and also reducing low-level types (e.g. RawByteString/AnsiString), we can not say that Delphi is a single cross-compiler.
In practice, it has a set of cross-compilers.

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2014-09-13

Some thoughts about "modern" pascal, generics, code and data structures

In a comment of a Google+ announcement about new C# features, Stephan did react about my naive enthusiasm about SmartPascal.

Apart from the fact that he did miss the numerous ways of creating Windows executable in this dialect (I quoted at least 5 diverse ways), he was chocked by the fact that the SmartPascal syntax, in its actual idiom, does not support generics.

But are generics mandatory?
I'm not speaking about any drug identified by its chemical name rather than its brand name (Wikipedia).
I would neither comment on the current Delphi implementation of generics (which may appear not so polished, nor very widely used, even in the Delphi RTL/FMX, but for TList<T> TDictionary<>).
Just share some thoughts about what is, to my opinion - which may be wrong and biased! - the most important part of today's programming.

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2014-07-12

Static class variables are just global variables in disguise

Cape Cod Gunny just wrote a blog article about how to replace a global variable by a static class instance.

But I had to react!
Using such static declaration is just another way of creating a global variable.
This is just a global variable in disguise.
In fact, the generated asm will be just like a global variable!

It encapsulates the global declaration within a class name space, but it is still IMHO a very wrong design.
I've seen so many C# or Java code which used such a pattern (there is no global variable in those languages), and it has the same disadvantages as global variables.
Just like the singleton syndrome
Code is just not re-entrant nor thread-safe.
Nightmare to debug and let evolve.

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2014-06-30

Sub-optimized Win64 Delphi compiler: missing branch table for case of

As we already stated here, the Delphi compiler for the Win64 target performs well, as soon as you by-pass the RTL and its sub-optimized implementation - as we do for mORMot.
In fact, our huge set of regression tests perform only 10% slower on Win64, when compared to Win32.
But we got access to much more memory - which is not a huge gain for a mORMot server, which uses very little of RAM - so may be useful in some cases, when you need a lot of structures to be loaded in your RAM.

Slowdown on Win64 is mostly due to biggest pointer size, which will use twice the memory, hence may generate a larger number of cache misses (failed attempts to read or write a piece of data in the cache, which results in a main memory access with much longer latency).
But in Delphi, apart from the RTL which may need more tuning about performance (but seems not to be a priority on Embarcadero side), is also sometimes less efficient when generating the code.
For instance, sounds like if case ... of ... end statements do not generated branch table instructions on Win64, whereas it does for Win32 - and FPC does for any x64 platform it supports.

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2014-06-09

Performance comparison from Delphi 6, 7, 2007, XE4 and XE6

Since there was recently some articles about performance comparison between several versions of the Delphi compiler, we had to react, and gives our personal point of view.

IMHO there won't be any definitive statement about this.
I'm always doubtful about any conclusion which may be achieved with such kind of benchmarks.
Asking "which compiler is better?" is IMHO a wrong question.
As if there was some "compiler magic": the new compiler will be just like a new laundry detergent - it will be cleaner and whiter...

Performance is not about marketing.
Performance is an iterative process, always a matter of circumstances, and implementation.

Circumstances of the benchmark itself.
Each benchmark will report only information about the process it measured.
What you compare is a limited set of features, running most of the time an idealized and simplified pattern, which shares nothing with real-world process.

Implementation is what gives performance.
Changing a compiler will only gives you some percents of time change.
Identifying the true bottlenecks of an application via a profiler, then changing the implementation of the identified bottlenecks may give order of magnitudes of speed improvement.
For instance, multi-threading abilities can be achieved by following some simple rules.

With our huge set of regression tests, we have at hand more than 16,500,000 individual checks, covering low-level features (like numerical and text marshaling), or high-level process (like concurrent client/server and database multi-threaded process).

You will find here some benchmarks run with Delphi 6, 7, 2007, XE4 and XE6 under Win32, and XE4 and XE6 under Win64.
In short, all compilers performs more or less at the same speed.
Win64 is a little slower than Win32, and the fastest appears to be Delphi 7, using our enhanced and optimized RTL.

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2014-05-18

"Native" means CPU-native... even Microsoft admits it!

There were a lot of debate about what "native" was..

Especially for some great companies, you want to sell their compiler technologies...
For them, "native" is not CPU-native, but framework-native...

Even Microsoft claimed since the beginning of C# that the managed .Net model was faster, due to "optimized JIT or NGEN compilation"...

But even Microsoft is clearly changing its mind!

They switch to "Native" for their framework, especially when targeting mobile platforms!

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