Delphi 3 for Dummies
by Neil Rubenking

Delphi 3 for Dummies
Neil Rubenking
IDG Books
418 pages (softcover) no disk

The first edition of Delphi Programming for Dummies was among the first and best Delphi 1 books for beginners that was available. And even then the book was not only for beginners but contained a lot of useful hands-on information for users who'd already played with (parts of) Delphi. The second editions of the book was focussed on both versions of Delphi, while the third is mainly on Delphi 3 again. And Neil even helps you install Delphi (if you haven't already done so yourself).
The reader of this book must be prepared to read this book while sitting next to a computer. In fact, while typing and clicking and dragging components on a form. If you read the book *without* using a computer at the same time, it just won't be as effective! That's a very important thing to remember when you consider bying this book (you may need another book if you're only going to read it in bed, for example - or you may need to adjust your sleeping behavior if you're sleeping with a computer, but I'll leave that up to you). Don't be afraid that you have to type in long listings of code. Most examples consist of a few properties that get a value and a few lines of code. All are only designed to show a single subject of make a point, so the examples are often kept as small and simple as possible (yet as instructive and powerful at the same time). This is also the reason why you won't find a disk in the back of this book: there's just not enough code to put on one (and it keeps the price down, which is at less than 25 dollars a bargain).
The topics in the book are divided into five parts, each consisting of a number of chapters. The first part ("Getting Started") helps you to install Delphi and introduces you to Delphi and the visual programming tools. The second part ("Programming with Components") covers the simple components of the VCL, while the third part ("More Components") deals with the more complex and advanced VCL components. Topics include a file editor, OLE, etc. The fourth part of the book ("Real Programming") introduces some of the Windows 95 components, as well as the topic of exceptions and debugging. The final part ("The Part of Tens") is a collection of 10 common mistakes, 10 Windows API functions and 10 fabulous function families. This is a set of common tips, techniques and pitfalls you can encounter when working with Delphi or programming for Windows in general. This part help you to prepare for potential problems you might encounter in your further exploration of Delphi.

Delphi 3 for Dummies is a great way to learn Delphi 3 hands-on and have fun (with your computer) while doing it. If you're a beginning Delphi programmer and prepared to read the book next to your computer, then I can't think of a better way to learn Delphi!
At the end of the book you'll have seen (and used!) just about every corner of Delphi and the VCL components. But the journey has just begun, and by now you must go ahead and start using Delphi on your own.

(Bob Swart)

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