Friday, March 30, 2007

New Article on CDN (with cool example)

A new article by me has been posted on the CDN site.

Extending the Project Manager Context menu

The article shows you how to create your own context menu items for use in the Project Manager.

The main sample addin adds a "Windows Explorer" context menu that has 4 submenus.
These are:
  1. Copy Filename to clipboard (obvious)
  2. Copy File Path to clipboard (obvious)
  3. Command Line Here (opens a command prompt at the folder of the item selected)
  4. Explorer Here (opens a explorer at the folder of the item selected)

Please read the article, post questions and rate it.

The CodeCentral download includes full source code as well as binaries (BDS 2006) for the add in. The binaries also work in Delphi 2007 with recompiling.

I've been using this in my own IDE version for about 5 months now and can't live without it. Hope you find it useful as well.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New Delphi Blogger

Sebastian Modersohn has started blogging here.

Definitely worth checking out (so far he's posted a few tips and tricks). You'll find that Sebastian is a level 2 QualityCentral Sysop - so be nice. He might even open a QC report for you ;-).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spacely - 5 Things I like about Delphi 2007

I've been away from reading blogs the last couple of days because I've been busy putting preparing for CodeRage and some other goodies and I missed being tagged by Steve Trefethen.

Here are my five favourite features of Delphi 2007 for Win32.

(in no specific order)

1. The new welcome page by Daniel Wischnewski
2. The overall performance increase of the IDE
3. Improved Code Insight* and Error Insight
4. New Vista Support
5. The addition of Build Configurations


6. My name appearing in the credits ;-)

I was going to blog separately about an enhancement to Code Insight but haven't found the time. Code Insight now displays the lists contents using the same syntax highlighting as your code editor! Very cool. It is one of those small changes that you like so much you think it has been there all along!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It was time for a Logo...

Sometimes you just have to face facts and get a professionals help!

Recently this is what I did. I needed a nice logo for my very ordinary (yes I know) website. I contacted Dave from Clever Icons and gave him an idea of what I wanted.

I accepted the supplied quote and the next day I got an email from one of his designers with 6 potential logos. I chose two from the six and sent back some comments. The designer took my comments and created 5 variations of the two I selected.

From that I then made my choice for the style. I wanted to know how one other variation would look. I again received an email with six variations on it for my chosen style (some were the same as the previous ones).

From this list, I made my decision. The glossy effect was added and this is what the JED Software logo looks like. I'm really happy with it.

Also be on the lookout for an updated website using a layout created by Clever Icons as well. I just need to transfer the content.

I will admit that I put the guys at Clever Icons under a bit of pressure as I needed the logo for my CodeRage virtual booth.

I now have a vector based logo in a number of formats as well as the original EPS files. The great thing about vector based images is they are basically infinitely resizable. I also got several different colour variations (white on black x2, black on white x2, gray scale, colour and glossy).

If your looking for some custom image work, I thoroughly recommend Clever Icons.

New Website sneak peak

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Spacely - It's non-breaking (mostly) and some DBExpress Info

Spacely is a non interface breaking release with BDS2006. What this means is if you have DCUs for components, you shouldn't need the source code to use them in Spacely. The same is true for packages and also IDE add ins. Some add ins may not work correctly because of implementation changes but they should install without issue. If they don't work - be sure to contact your vendor!

I said mostly because Spacely ships with a new version of DBExpress (DBExpress4). Some of the DBExpress units have had interface changes, for example DbXpress.pas has been deprecated, SqlExpr.pas has changed and DBXCommon and some others are new.

The source to the DBExpress4 framework and to the drivers written in object pascal (or is it Delphi) will ship. The source to the old C++ drivers still won't be delivered.

DBExpress4 also includes Connection Pooling and Tracing driver which are delegate drivers written in object pascal. You get the source to those as well.

For more information on DBExpress4, it's best to go and read Steve Shaughnessy's CodeGear blog:

To show how non-breaking the Spacely release is, here is the current beta of Visual Forms (compiled in BDS2006) and running in Spacely.

Visual Forms is a form thumbnail IDE add in for Delphi 6 through Delphi 2007. Expect Version 1.3 to strangely be released around the time Delphi 2007 is released (which I honestly don't know when that will be - so don't ask!).

For more information on Visual Forms visit

Monday, March 05, 2007

Spacely - Build feedback

With the introduction of the new build system, MS Build it is now possible to select how much feedback you get.

In the Environmental Options page of the Options dialog there is now a dropdown in the Compiling and Running group. By default the value is set to Normal.

As you can see in the screen shot there are 5 different settings for the build Verbosity.

This build output is created on the new Output tab in the messages window. Final build information is still available on the messages tab regardless of the Verbosity set.

I've built a sample application in Spacely and set the Verbosity to each setting. Click on the link to that particular setting to open up a text file with the saved output. The text file will open into a new browser window. For interest sake I've also put the size of the output file in the table below.

Quiet0KBNo text is output
Minimal2KBExample file
Normal3KBExample file
Detailed7KBExample file
Diagnostic19KBExample file

With one of these settings you should now be confident knowing what is actually being built when you hit the compile button.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spacely - Tool Palette enhancement

When the new Tool Palette was introduced in Delphi 2005 it seemed you either loved it or hated it. Most that gave the new Tool Palette a chance think that it is far superior to the older component palette. I am definitely one of those.

The best feature of the Tool Palette was the filtering ability. Click on the caption and begin typing and any components that start with the text entered are displayed.

An improvement to the Tool Palette in Spacely is that the search is now a "contains" search, so if I type in dialog all components that contain dialog in its name are displayed in the tool palette.

Don't like the new feature? Easy, just start all your filters with T.

It is also important to point out that the Tool Palette was the cause of some slowness in BDS2006. Especially when you had a large number of components installed. With Spacely there has been significant work on all things speed related. The Tool Palette received some attention and is now a very slick part of the IDE.

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Spacely - Glass revisited

Jeremy (not me) mentioned in a comment about black text not appearing on a glass enabled form. This is not an issue with Spacely.

Here are a couple of screen shots:

I've got a couple of other things about Spacely I want to mention in the coming days.

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