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Arnim Mulder Dr.Bob's Kylix Kicks Delphi in a Nutshell
 Book Review: Delphi in a Nutshell
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Delphi in a Nutshell
Ray Lischner
570 pages (no CD-ROM)

I remember when I first started using Delphi and was searching for some good books. It seemed as though every book I found contained only a few interesting chapters. Then I came across Ray Lischner's book titled "Delphi in a Nutshell". Lischner succeeded in covering almost every detail in the Delphi language. He documented every keyword, function, procedure and compiler directive.

Delphi in a Nutshell covers topics you need available every day. Each chapter is interesting for any programmer, regardless of their skill level. The book begins with a look at the Delphi projects structure. Then it moves on to the Delphi Object Model chapter where classes, objects and interfaces (COM) are discussed. There is also a whole chapter devoted to RunTime Type Information, and another useful chapter on Threads.

The largest and most educational chapter of Delphi in a Nutshell is the Language Reference chapter. This chapter is not just a copy of Delphi's online-help, but a detailed explanation of all keyword, directive, function procedure, variable, class, method and property. Not to mention, several areas are illustrated by examples.

One resourceful section I enjoyed was "Tips & Tricks" which answers some questions like, When do you use a certain procedure or function and when not? What errors occur when a call failed and what is important when you use it? Answers to these questions and more can be found in Tips & Tricks.

Because the command-line is still present, a whole chapter is devoted to command line tools such as Delphi Compiler (dcc32.exe), DFM converter (convert.exe), Object File Dumper (tdump.exe) and the IDE (delphi32.exe). The last chapter contains a complete overview of the SysUtils unit. This unit is used in almost every Delphi project and because of that, makes the chapter a very useful part of the book. This chapter is divided into subjects; Exceptions & Errors, File Management, String Management, Numeric Conversion, Dates & Times, Localization, Modules and Windows. All procedures, functions and types are enumerated and explained for each subject.

The content of this book is simply perfect, and I have only one complaint. The book is not properly bound which causes the cover and pages to separate [this was a problem with the first copies that shipped, and is now solved - BS].
I would love to see this book bound in a spiral notebook, or even offered as unbound with punched pages, which could be placed in loose-leaf binders. Nevertheless, this book is a "must have" for Delphi programmers. Not only because it covers the information a programmer needs available every day but also because some topics are under documented in Delphi. The detailed explanations are clear and the examples make it clearer. This book is an excellent reference to have readily available on your desk. A best buy at a very affordable price!

(Arnim Mulder)

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