What is Delphi? Simply put, Delphi is the premier Windows development environment. Based upon Object Pascal, Delphi is the first development tool to combine a powerful Object Oriented language with a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Environment, bringing you the power to create high quality Windows applications with short development times never before possible.
Object Pascal, a greatly expanded and more powerful version of Borland's highly successful Turbo Pascal, is a powerful Object Oriented language which rivals the power of many of todays C++ compilers. With full support for classes, inheritance, polymorphism, pointer manipulation, and a host of other features, Object Pascal provides most of the flexibility commonly associated with C++. With it's optimizing native code compiler, Delphi produces executable files which perform on par with or better than all major C++ compilers, including Microsoft Visual C++, Watcom C++, and even Borland's own Borland C++.
With its RAD environment, Delphi allows you to create user interfaces in a small fraction of the time it takes with most C++ packages. Delphi's RAD development environment is based on Borland's own Visual Component Library (VCL). Development with Delphi is as simple as drag and drop. Select a component from the component pallette and drop it onto your form. You can customize its properties in the Object Inspector, a window containing a list of properties. All you do is select the property you wish to modify and type in it's new value in the Object Inspector.
Right out of the box, Delphi includes several several dozen VCL components (over 70 with Delphi 1, over 100 with Delphi 2) encapsulating every type of control, including buttons, timers, listboxs, OLE containers, multimedia tools,common dialog boxes, tabbed pages, and lots more. But you are not limited to just these components. Delphi allows you to build custom components and add them into the component panel. Added components work seamlessly within the IDE. With a well designed component, you will not even notice it didn't come from Borland. With hundred of companies developing thousands of components and component packages, you can find components to help you do practically anything. And if you can't find a component to do what you want, just create one for yourself. You can start from scratch, or inherit from a component that already does most of what you want and just add the extra features. But you aren't just limited to VCL components only. Delphi 1 can also use VBX controls, while Delphi 2 can use OCX controls.
Delphi is also a fully featured database development tool. Delphi uses the Borland Database Engine (BDE), Borland's high performance, high level programming database access system. Several of the VCL components are designed to interface tightly with the BDE. At design time, you set them to display a particular field from the database table. When the program runs, they automatically display the data stored in their particular field of the selected record of the table. As the selected record changes, the controls automatically update to reflect the new selected record.
Delphi can also build and/or use DLL's, so you can integrate your program with other DLL made with any language. The Delphi compiler also supports inline assembly for high performance optimization, or low level access programming.
With this sort of power, Delphi should be the development environment for everyone to use.
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