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InfoQ Homepage News Embarcadero Updates Delphi and C++ Builder, Launches HTML5 Builder

Embarcadero Updates Delphi and C++ Builder, Launches HTML5 Builder

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Embarcadero Technologies, whose Borland roots date back to Turbo Pascal and the pioneering of modern development environments, launched a major overhaul of its development tools line as part of RAD Studio XE3. RAD Studio comes with Delphi and C++Builder included. While details of RAD Studio were leaked in mid august, the company also launched HTML5 Builder for mobile and Web app developers. The focus for this release is improved support for cross-platform development across multiple versions of Windows and Mac OS X, enhanced database connectivity, and support for HTML 5 and mobile development.

RAD Studio includes an update to FireMonkey, their UI engine that allows Delphi and C++ developers to code for Mac or Windows from a single code base. According to Embarcadero spokespeople, “The new FM2 UI engine delivers a choice of “pixel perfect” native OS UIs or fully custom UIs developed by graphic designers or 3rd parties .” FM2 UI also lets designers build Mac App Store-ready applications with built-in Retina support.

Embarcadero also introduced a new framework, Metropolis UI, that lets developers target the Windows 8 UI style and includes integrated support for touch, Live Tiles, and tablet device sensors. For those already working with an existing Visual Components Library (VCL), the Metropolis UI also includes tools to migrate legacy Windows apps to the new Windows 8 style. For database connectivity RAD Studio introduces Visual Live Bindings, which allow developers to wire graphic elements to data sources from the visual environment.

It was rumored that Delphi and C++ Builder would include true Windows Runtime support. InfoQ spoke with John Thomas, Director of Product Management at Embarcadero. According to John:

Delphi and C++Builder native compilers do not support WinRT in XE3. While we have plans to support that environment in the future, the majority of our customers have asked us for Windows Desktop support (traditional Win32 APIs, etc.) with the Windows 8 look and feel because porting to WinRT would be a serious effort otherwise.

Available either under a separate release or bundled with RAD Studio, HTML 5 Builder allows developers to build Web and/or mobile apps using Javascript, HTML5, JQuery mobile and CSS3 all from the visual IDE. Developers concerned with cross-platform mobile can target iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone all from a common HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript codebase. HTML5 Builder doesn’t just focus client side development. It also integrates server-side support for PHP and databases like MySQL. On this last point, InfoQ aked about RadPHP (formerly Delphi for PHP) and whether HTML5 Builder is an improved/renamed RadPHP. John replied that:

HTML5  Builder is an improved and renamed RadPHP. With the additional emphasis on client side solutions, particularly with HTLM5 and CSS3, we felt this new name better suited its new capabilities and its relevance for the market right now. The PHP backend solution, in particular Zend Framework and Data Access components continue to be supported for a complete end-to-end web development solution.

Embarcadero has a long history of creating fast compilers with slick tools and APIs wrapped within a visual development environment. RAD Studio XE3 is Embarcadero's answer to "what's next."

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