Foundations of Delphi Development for Windows 95
by Tom Swan

This book review was first published in the Feb/Mar 1996 UK-BUG newsletter
Foundations of Delphi Development for Windows 95
Tom Swan
IDG Books/Programmers Press
784 pages (CD-ROM)
US$ 39.99

Although the title seems to indicate (or at least hint) otherwise, this book is still about the 16-bit version of Delphi (1.0), and not about Delphi 2.0. Make sure you know what you want. Windows 95 in the title does not mean that the book is about 32-bit Delphi 2.0 programming!

Apart from the possible mistake potential buyers can make (especially in the months to come - when 'real' Delphi for Windows 95/NT books will be available) this book contains a solid treatment of Delphi 1.0. It consists of four parts, that form the 'foundation' to turn a beginning Delphi user into an experienced Delphi developer. The first part of the book is the introduction; in this part the reader learns how to use the Delphi RAD environment to make simple programs. If you've ever played with Delphi, then you can skip this part. The second part of the book deals with the User Interface, and can be seen as the bridge between the beginners and somewhat more experienced users. In this part, we'll explore topics like the VCL, components and topics that deal with the outside of an application (how to make it look good). The third part of the book is about the Application, and deals with somewhat more advanced topics such as printing (also of graphics), MDI (in a book on Windows 95?), DDE/OLE and some database stuff. The last part of the book deals with interesting issues that will help the advanced Delphi user to extend the component palette itself with new components, learn about components based on DLLs, and see how to use exception handling. This last topic should have been dealt with in one of the earlier parts of the book, but I guess the author must have classified it into one of the advanced topics... Finally, the book contains a short preview of the true 32-bit version of Delphi. Note that this preview was written quite some time ago (I'd say about September last year), so a lot of the information is rather vague compared to the stuff we know at this time (which is only a few weeks before final shipping of Delphi 2.0).

One of the good things about the book is that the four parts are relatively unrelated. So, even if you're an experienced Delphi programmer, you can just skip the first two parts and go into the other parts (without having to read the introduction first to see what the general problem or concept is all about). At the end of each chapter there is a little summary and some exercises.

The CD-ROM contains the full source code, as can be expected these days, including a hypertext version of the book itself (although I haven't tried to use this). All in all, it's a reasonable good book. If you haven't got a good Delphi 1.0 book by now, you can safely buy this one (although there are at least half a dozen other good Delphi 1.0 books around by now). Personally, I'd wait for some more interesting truly 32-bit Delphi programming books that will follow in the weeks and months to come...

(Bob Swart)

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