Embarcadero has launched RAD Studio XE7 to build connected applications for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac OS X, gadgets, and wearables. The new version enables Delphi/Object Pascal and C++ developers to extend existing Windows applications. It is also (obviously) used to build new applications, specifically the kind that will connect desktop and mobile devices with gadgets, cloud services, and enterprise data and APIs.
The new support for extending Windows and Mac OS X apps to mobile via Bluetooth App Tethering and Wi-Fi is interesting, but as Dr. Dobb's editor-in-chief Andrew Binstock notes, "the use of 'extending' does not mean porting only; it also means adding mobile-specific extensions to a desktop app."
RAD Studio XE7 enables developers to create shared user interface code across multiple device form factors. Programmers can also access data and services from within the enterprise, while the new Parallel Programming Library boosts multi-threaded performance on multi-core systems.
The FireUI Multi-Device Designer and UI Components are the company's way of showing that it now offers a new way to build a shared user interface that is optimized for specific devices and form factors.
"The FireUI allows users to describe a generic visual layout of an app. Then you can specify deltas to the layout for different devices. At runtime, the app identifies the mobile device and looks up the corresponding deltas and applies the changes to the UI before showing it to the user. The package comes with pre-built device profiles for the common devices. This approach allows you develop your app and cater to different platforms without needing to rewrite the UI for every platform," notes Binstock.
A new behavior service API allows the framework to optimize for the capabilities and device form factor of the native platform to deliver the best user experience for that device.
Also here, Enterprise Mobility Services (EMS) is a new option for interconnected, distributed apps, offering a middleware server that hosts loadable custom API and data access modules. EMS is based on open and standard technologies, including REST HTTP calls and JSON data formats, and provides major SQL database drivers along with a built-in encrypted, embedded, and server-side SQL data store.
According to Embarcadero, "Developers can significantly boost multi-threaded app performance on multi-core systems. The new Parallel Programming library 'exponentially increases' the performance of existing C++ and Object Pascal code by parallelizing threads that can take full advantage of multi-core CPUs. Other RAD Studio XE7 enhancements include: Object Pascal Language enhancements; RTL enhancements; database and FireDAC enhancements; new PAServer manager; and FireMonkey enhancements."