Teach Yourself Delphi in 21 Days
by Andrew J. Wozniewicz, Namir Shammas & Tom Campbell

This book review was first published in the Sept/Oct 1995 UK-BUG newsletter
Teach Yourself Delphi in 21 Days
Andrew J. Wozniewicz, Namir Shammas (Day 2,3,12,13,14,15,18) & Tom Campbell (bonus day)
SAMS Publishing
912 pages
US$ 29.99

This book is one of the "later" books on Delphi, so the authors could spend more time on the quality of the contents itself. Mostly, they've succeeded, although some 'typing errors' remain (which are especially annoying in the code listings and examples in the chapters by Namir Shammas).

The book is intended for the beginner-level programmer, although the last few chapters are of intermediate-advanced level (I get back to them later). For most chapters, no prior programming, Windows or OO experience is assumed nor required. The emphasis of the book is on Delphi and the underlying programming language: ObjectPascal. There's only limited mention of the database aspects of Delphi, and none regarding topics like Client/Server or Reportsmith.

As the title indicates, the book attempts to teach you in 21 days how to use Delphi, ObjectPascal, OO-programming and Windows. The first three days are used to introduce Delphi and the concept of Visual Programming. The next six days are all on ObjectPascal. Next, at day 10, object-oriented programming is introduced. Until chapter 13 this is the main topic. Unfortunately, I find most of the explanations and examples to be less than clear (but I already *know* how to OOP, perhaps that's a disadvantage?). Chapter 14 and 15 are the last on ObjectPascal and deal with interesting topics like RTTI, exceptions and the architecture of Delphi programs. Chapter 16 through 18 are on Windows programming with Delphi: drawing, painting, printing, controls, dialogs and other components are explored.
The last three chapters are a bit special; the level is somewhat higher than earlier chapters in the book. Chapter 19 is on database programming, Day 20 is on creating your own custom components with Delphi, and Day 21 is all on Dynamic Link Libraries and Delphi (how to make them and how to use them). Andrew obviously saved the most interesting stuff for the last few chapters!
A bonus chapter on DDE/OLE by Tom Campbell is a nice addition, and at 40 pages is longer than most Delphi books have on DDE/OLE (although the covers often would have us believe otherwise). The book does not come with a disk, which is a pity, since some of the code examples (chapter 12, for example) do not compile when typed in.

All in all, it's a good introduction into Delphi and ObjectPascal, with some nice semi-advanced topics as well.

(Bob Swart)

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