Delphi Programming Explorer
by Jeff Duntemann, Jim Mischel and Don Taylor

This book review was first published in the Aug/Sept 1995 UK-BUG newsletter
Delphi Programming Explorer
Jeff Duntemann, Jim Mischel and Don Taylor
The Coriolis Group Books
1-883577-25-X (distributed by IDG Books)
630 pages, 3.5" disk
US$ 39.99 (also with CD-ROM as "Delphi Starter Kit" for US$ 44.99)

This book is truly unique. It is written by three great authors in a way that is perfect for Delphi: first do it, and then find out why (or how) it works. That's exactly the way Jeff and Jim used to write the first 14 chapters of this book. Jim starts off by doing something with Delphi, and then (in the next chapter) Jeff comes along to explain the techniques behind it in his own unique style. Together, in alternating chapters, they cover topics like the Delphi IDE, visual programming, Components, Properties, Buckets (Jim's term for Collections), Forms, Units, Objects (and OO-programming), Dialogs, Files, Graphics and simple Database Applications with Delphi. As you'll see, these topics range from beginning to intermediate, and while the book is written in a very pleasant and easy way, the authors are not afraid to give you some additional technical information (for the more experienced readers). Jeff uses his famous example (the Object-oriented Mortgage Engine) to explain some of the topics - a real-life approach that helps you to grok the theory.

Then, just when you think the book's over, another book starts: Ace Ventura, ehum, Breakpoint's Database Adventure, written by none other than Don Taylor. Don describes a complete Delphi database application design and implementation project in the form of a detective story. I've never read anything like it in my entire live. I loved it, and learned quite a lot about practical database design while enjoying reading the story. Apart from the detective, Don gives us again real-live and practical hits, tips and experiences to design your first Delphi database applications. The fun thing is, if you read these chapters, you'll know where your project can go wrong, and you'll make sure you follow the steps of Ace, ehum, Don. The final application contains everything you need: linked database tables, some nice forms (including input forms), reports using Reportsmith, and as final touch the helpfile.

The book ends with an appendix on how to move to Delphi for VB users. Both the 3.5" disk and CD-ROM (from the Delphi Starter Kit) contain a trial version of EarthTrek's Conversion Assistant, so if you've got VB code lying around, that could be yet another reason to check on this book!

The Delphi Starter Kit contains the book and a CD-ROM full with Delphi tools and articles on creating applications with Delphi. The CD-ROM contains trial versions of HelpGen (help authoring) and Conversion Assistant (VB->Delphi) and a lot of source code, articles and custom components. For only a few bucks more you get much more (the CD-ROM for the 3.5" disk), and I can assure you it's money well spent!

(Bob Swart)

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