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Delphi Prism 2010 Offers Improved .NET Development

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Delphi Prism 2010 comes with major new features like better compatibility with the Delphi language, AOP, support for dynamic typing, and touch features like Range Enum Types, Read-only classes and support for negative low bounds in arrays.

Delphi Prism 2010 is Embarcadero’s solution for Delphi developers to create .NET applications. Delphi Prism needs .NET Framework 3.5 or 4.0 to run but it can generate assemblies targeted for any .NET version starting with 1.1. If Visual Studio Professional 2008 is already installed on the PC, the Delphi Prism installer will integrate Prism into it. Integration with VS 2010 does not work yet but it is likely to work when VS 2010 will be released or soon afterwards. If VS 2008 is not already installed, Delphi Prism will install the VS Shell and it will run inside it. VS Shell is a VS IDE without any language plug-ins.

Delphi Prism applications can be targeted for .NET/Windows or Mono/Linux or Mac, but VCL.NET has been deprecated and is no longer available in Prism. VCL.NET applications could be ported to VCL for Win32, development being continued in Delphi 2010. The Delphi and Oxygene languages are very similar but not 100% compatible. Applications can be ported between the two environments with some changes.

Delphi Prism 2010 contains the following new features:

Major Compiler Features
  • RemObjects Cirrus: AOP for Oxygene
  • Standard Aspects Library for RemObjects Cirrus (shipping as Tech Preview)
  • Unmanaged Exports
  • Generic Type Variance
  • Volatile fields
  • CLSCompliantAttribute support and compiler warnings
  • New LINQ Query Expressions operators Skip, While, Take and Take While
Minor Compiler Features
  • Unquote expression support (mainly to support Cirrus)
  • $DELPHICOMPATIBILITY compiler directive and project option
  • Runtime range checking
  • Range Enum Types (e.g. "type Ten = 1..10;")
  • Read-only classes
  • Support for negative low bounds in Array Types
Other New Features
  • CodeDom enhancements to support OxygeneInterface, OxygenePartial and OxygeneEmpty tags in UserData
  • Pre/Post build events
  • Debug options: Remote Machine
  • Custom "Add Reference" pane for adding Mono assembly references
  • New Monobjc Template and Monobjc libraries deployed with Delphi Prism
  • Updated setup to install the latest Mono 2.4
  • Added Internet Pack as an integrated part of setup
  • Integrated F1 help based on an offline copy of the documentation wiki
  • Added templates for ASP.NET Web projects

Developers can also build DataSnap 2010 client applications.

Delphi Prism’s wiki boasts with language features not available yet in C#, but the wiki might be outdated considering new features coming in .NET 4.0:

Delphi Prism comes in two editions: Professional and Enterprise, the later providing InterBase and Blackfish SQL connectivity, DataSnap .NET support and Blackfish SQL deployment for 5 users.

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