Widgets Flotsam and Jetsam #72

Flotsam and Jetsam #72

By Nick at January 04, 2013 20:21
Filed Under: Delphi, Flotsam and Jetsam, Software Development
  • Am I weird?  One of the first things I do when I install Delphi is to turn off Brace Matching and Line Highlighting.  I find both of these features incredibly distracting, particularly the Brace Highlighting, which makes it impossible to see where the caret is in the text. 
  • This article by Hal Berenson should make interesting reading for Delphi folks interested in the economics of development tool vending and the business models around them.  Delphi isn’t mentioned, but it does discuss the changing business model of Visual Studio from within Microsoft and how Adobe’s tool business put pressure on MS and actually changed how they did business.  MS’s  Interesting stuff.
  • I love Twitter and try to tweet pretty frequently (I’d be honored if you followed me).  One of the fun part of tweeting is seeing the creative and interesting use of hashtags.   One current hashtag that is going around and that is of interest to us Delphi developers is #code2012.  In it, folks are putting the names of the languages that they coded in during the past year.  Someone has a nice graphic that shows the relative popularity – and Delphi isn’t doing too badly.  I just tweeted to help make that Delphi circle just a little bigger.  Winking smile
  • Holy cow, I feel like I did when Buffy ended – stunned and saddened.   Žarko Gajić is moving on from his position as the guide for About.Com Delphi.  Žarko has been doing that job for 15 years, and I’m willing to bet that his site is as common a search result as any in the community.  Well done, Žarko, and good luck in your future, Delphi-related endeavors.  And hey, the door is open – anyone willing to step into Žarko’s shoes?

Comments (14) -

1/4/2013 10:02:07 PM #

Anthony Frazier

Two #71s?  Smile

No, you're not weird -- Line Highlighting just needs to go.  Brace Matching is also annoying when you can't tell whether the caret is on the inside or the outside.  That's just poor implementation, especially when different editors or different add-ins have different ideas of when to highlight.

Zarco's left some big shoes to fill.

Anthony Frazier United States |

1/5/2013 9:49:18 AM #


Anthony --

Doh!  Fixed, and now is #72.  I think that is the first time I've done that.  Thanks.

nick United States |

1/6/2013 12:11:55 PM #

Rudy Velthuis

I always use Brief cursor shapes (one of the first things I change) and I don't have any problems with Brace Matching at all. I actually find it quite useful with nested parentheses.

I was used to line highlighting from my old editor, UltraEdit, already, and find it actually quite useful.

And like you, I'll miss Zarko's articles.

Rudy Velthuis Germany |

1/5/2013 8:34:43 AM #


I just wanted to pick up on the first reason you mention in the Why You Should Use Delphi column. I have been wondering lately why is it that many "modern" programming language use a C-like syntax with curly braces, eg Javascript, Java, PHP, C# etc. As you point out - it is ugly and unreadable. Those two factors have been largely why I have not bothered to try and use them - I don't want to write ugly programs. Delphi has a lot going for it (as you also point out) and should stick to its own style rather than adopting C-like syntax. If I had to complain about something I guess it would be that it only has one BEGIN ... END and I would have liked to see a specific END for each statement that can have a statement block, eg, ENDIF, ENDWHILE, ENDFOR etc. Other than that it is pretty good and the fact that you have to declare things before you can use them makes for much sounder code. Long live Delphi!

Michael Australia |

1/5/2013 12:45:15 PM #

Steve Faleiro

As always, thanks so much for blogging. It makes the world of Delphi much more interesting for me.

Steve Faleiro United States |

1/5/2013 1:31:29 PM #

Mason Wheeler

Yes, you're weird.  Brace matching is incredibly useful, particularly when you're writing nested expressions.  And I've never found thaat they make the caret hard to see, because the caret continues to blink, which attracts the eye.

Mason Wheeler United States |

1/5/2013 1:51:15 PM #


I keep line highlighting but I tune the color to avoid the issue you mention. Brace matching are useful, though Delphi's implementation isn't the best (wrt to before or after brace sensitivity).

Éric France |

1/5/2013 2:04:00 PM #

William Meyer

Yes, you're weird.... Oh! you meant in the context of turning off line highlighting and brace matching? Sorry! Wink

Let's see. The first things I do are to install GExperts and CnPack, as well as the experimental formatter for GExperts. Then ModelMaker CodeExplorer. So I have more "distraction" potential on the screen, but I find brace matching useful (it may have been altered by CnPack--I need to check), and the structural highlighting of CnPack hugely valuable. Yeah, I know, shorter routines don't need it, but I am a contractor, and am not paid to rewrite *everything*. Back in the day, I firted with CodeRush, but it sucked CPU unbearable, and made the UI painful to use. Later, I used Castalia, and was fairly happy with it, but prices went north, and there were some issues which were not resolved, and I left it behind. MMX is as necessary to me as GExperts, and will always be on my desk. CnPack is not pewrfect, but the pluses outweigh the minuses, and if you don't use it, you should.

William Meyer United States |

1/5/2013 2:26:31 PM #


So I am not the only one. I turned off everything. Only code completion remained checked. I don't need anything else. Maybe C++ Builder does require such features.

Bunny Austria |

1/5/2013 4:44:54 PM #


Wow, I got a link from a Delphi blog Smile  Thanks!

I followed Delphi until Borland was tardy in supporting SQL Server 7.0.  At that point developer use of Delphi to write SQL Server apps fell off the cliff.  Hopefully the Embarcadero guys are treating the product better than Borland was.

Hal United States |

1/5/2013 6:44:52 PM #


Hal --

The pleasure was all mine -- your article was quite insightful.  


nick United States |

1/5/2013 5:41:26 PM #


I have heard people guessing about missing sales in the area of Expression in 2009. I am not surprised. The next thing that worried some people was the communication about Silverlight, young engineers who had chosen Expression as their tool and Silverlight/.net as their implementation technology. Short before MS communicated that only HTML5 is the only true way to satisfy cross-platform requirements. People had been satisfied in general. They relied that the path would be a continuous one ... it's not wise to throw away peoples time invested into learning a tool and leaving them behind with content they have to recreate in worst case, but a very likely case. Dissapointment will be a result. One customer fairly brings another but takes 3 with him/her when leaving.

The value of an hour life-time invested is an hour and not USD charged to a customer and many more dollars to come when charging for the same thing on another technology. A vendor organization does not know life time ... they measure value in money - so called price - they tend to confuse those terms. Value of one hour spent is an hour.

The tool vendor takes over lot more responsibility for the time invested by it's customers than a vendor like MS when selling to end customers (non developers). Users should not spend too much time using the software shipped, if they spend too much time they don't get the work done.

Bunny Austria |

1/6/2013 7:00:36 AM #

Jeroen Pluimers

I'm Wiert, but don't know if that counts (;

I do like the highlighing options though.

And I install at least MMX and GExperts after installing Delphi.
Database Workbench is on any development workstation (it really kicks ass, and - unlike the Embarcadero DB tools - supports both InterBase and Firebird, next to SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and much more. Oh: it is written in Delphi <g>).

Jeroen Pluimers Netherlands |

1/6/2013 12:46:17 PM #


I'm with Mason and Eric here. I keep the line highlighting and the brace matching but I change the colors to be less intrusive.
That way I can see immediately the current line without being distracted by the breakpoints for instance and for the brace matching, the key is to remove the box and have a light color so it still helps for nested expressions without messing up with the caret or the [].

François United States |

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