Delphi Programming Problem Solver
by Neil Rubenking

Delphi Programming Problem Solver
Neil Rubenking
IDG Books
604 pages (disk)
Delphi Programming Problem Solver is not a book about problems, but a book about solutions to problems you often didn't even know you had. The title ommits the version number of Delphi, and that's because the book is for both versions of Delphi. The code has been tested using Delphi 1 on Win 3.1 and Win95, and Delphi 2 on Win95 and WinNT.
It's a bit more advanced than Delphi for Dummies (Neil's other Delphi book, of which the second edition for Delphi 2 is now available by the way), and the back-cover mentions "Beginning to Advanced". Due to the nature of the book, it is meant for 'advanced' users, who want to extend their normal use of Delphi (by using the solutions in this book). In contrast with 'normal' Delphi books, this book does not start from the beginning. Rather, it assumes that you've read some books (or manuals) about Delphi, and are now ready to take on some real-world applications, with real-world problems. Problems that require real-world solutions. This is most welcome for most people who want more than just the basics of Delphi, and the reason why I believe that this (kind of) book will become very populair for real-world Delphi users!

At 604 pages, the book is again of the Rubenking standard, offering advise, tips, solutions, background information, stuffing all kinds of little (and large) gems of knowledge everywhere. It consists of five major parts, being Forms (Form Basics, Multipage Forms and More, MDI Forms), Components (Components in General, Menus, Edit Controls), More Components (List and Combo Boxes, Grid Components, Graphical Components, Various Components, Database Programming (Grids, Edits, sharing Tables, etc)), Inside Delphi (Object Pascal Language, Application Object) and Windows Programming (Windows APIs, Messages and Resources, DLLs). Each chapter about a certain subject offers 'solutions' to several problems, including the source code, background information, extra tips and screen shots of an example program which deploys the solution itself. From the list of topics you'll find that the book doesn't cover all possible topics (there is nothing on reporting, and only limited database stuff), but the stuff that's in there (especially the knowledge 'gems') are absolutely worth the moderate price of US$ 34.99 (only one disk is included with the complete source code of all examples).

The book can be used in two ways: either you can start reading it from cover to cover, or you can just browse it once, and keep the table of contents at hand (for when you're facing a problem and need a solution). Unlike Delphi How-To, another book based on the Problem/Solution model, this book is more focussed on solutions and not on problems. Therefore, you might find tips and ideas for things you didn't even know was possible (let alone considered a 'problem' in Delphi).

If you're looking for in-depth problem solving book on databases or the BDE, then you should look furhter. This book focusses on creative solutions for Delphi VCL with some ObjectPascal and general Windows API. If you like Delphi for Dummies and idea of Delphi How-To, then you'll love this book for sure. I know I've found my new favorite Delphi book, and it's gonna stay chained to my desk this time!

(Bob Swart)

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