Delphi Unleashed
by Charlie Calvert

This book review was first published in the Aug/Sept 1995 UK-BUG newsletter
Delphi Unleashed
Charlie Calvert
930 pages (CD-ROM)
US$ 45

Charlie Calvert is working for Borland at the Delphi Team. In fact, you'll probably have seen him in one of the Delphi Tours that have been going over Europe. He knowns Delphi like no other, and what started out as a few example programs designed to highlight the programming environment, turned out to be a massive book. The book offers a relatively complete description of Delphi and its accompanying tools and language. Since the scope is so large, Charlie is both discussing introduction and more advanced techniques in this book. The introduction sections form a solid foundation for Delphi and especially ObjectPascal (you can see that Charlie has a Borland Pascal background). The advanced sections present ways to extend Delphi and your way of working with Delphi.

Although Charlie works for Borland, he does not simply rehash everything that has been written in the Delphi Manuals. The first part of the book is the introduction to Delphi's programming environment, the general structure of a Delphi program and the facets of a Graphical User Interface. The second and third part are the tutorial on ObjectPascal. These parts may be skipped if you're coming from a Borland Pascal background, but otherwise they're a fine way to learn ObjectPascal. Not just with theory from the manuals, but with lively examples so you see the elements of the language "at work" right away. The fourth part of the book is a detailed introduction in the database stuff that comes with Delphi. With the single exception of the "Delphi Programming Explorer" book, I've not seen a single book that covers databases so well (not yet, anyway). In 150 pages you'll learn everything, including advanced topics like SQL and working with the Local Interbase Server. With the fifth and last part of the book, the topics begin to advance as well. After the concept of OO, inheritance, encapsulation (and properties) and polymorphism, Charlie moves on to create both visual and non-visual Components, adding (advanced) Multimedia to Delphi, how to use DDEML and OLE with Delphi, how to write and call DLLs with Delphi (including VCL stuff), exceptions (pretty late in the book), how to use existing OWL programs with Delphi, and finally some of his personal thought on programming in a chapter called "The Art of Programming".

The accompanying CD-ROM contains source code from the book and other nice third-party tools (like trial versions of Orpheus, ForeHelp, Chart FX 3.0 and AccuSoft Image Manager) and components found or written by Charlie (yours truly's noughts-and-crosses TTT game components is among them also).

Whether you need a solid introduction to ObjectPascal or just want a some detailed database or multimedia topics, this book will be right for you!

(Bob Swart)

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