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 Dr.Bob on Delphi Direct
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Borland Delphi 4 features a number of enhancements, as usual. In this article, I'll take a look at a built-in package called Delphi Direct that can be used to obtain information from the internet.

The first time we start Delphi 4, we can get the following dialog (if you don't see this dialog, you can also get it "manually" by selecting the Help | Delphi Direct dialog):

Since I have a "live" connection to the internet (albeit through a Proxy Server), I decided to click on the button to take me to the "Delphi Direct" webpage at Inprise.
At this webpage, we can download the package direct40.bpl, which is to be installed in the Delphi4\Bin directory. Note that a package called direct40.bpl already exists in this directory - this is probably the package that offered us the dialog with the button to go to the webpage to download the actual copy of Delphi Direct (I guess if we can actually download the "real" copy of Delphi Direct, we already know it can connect to the internet).

Once installed, Delphi Direct will periodically (or manually) connect to the Internet and deliver important Delphi information directly us. The result is shown in a treeview, grouped together by topic, prodiving hyperlinks we can click on (after which a browser will be started to surf to the particular webpage):

Delphi Direct is a Delphi IDE add-in module that uses our internet connection and web browser to find and inform us of new Delphi product news, updates and patches, articles and technical tips, and other Inprise announcements.

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