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Expert Delphi: a book to learn programming and have fun!

2024-05-04 6 min read Marco Breveglieri

For a few days I’ve been trying to find a free moment to properly review this book, and although some commitments have kept me busy, I finally did it. 😊

We are talking about Expert Delphi: Second Edition, distributed by Packt Publishing : a fundamental resource for those who want to take their first steps with Delphi, both for those who want to discover or review the features introduced in the latest versions of this language and development environment.

This second edition has in fact been revisited by Marco Cantù, Product Manager of Delphi at Embarcadero Technologies. He updated all the contents of the book, from screenshots to code examples, adding new sections where appropriate and updating the work up to to the latest version of Delphi released, i.e. Athens 12.

A tribute to Pawel Glowacki

This work represents a heartfelt homage to the work of Pawel Glowacki, who passed away prematurely in 2017 and was well known in the Delphi developer community.

Pawel is not only the author of the first edition of the book, but also as a blogger, trainer, creator of content including many webinars; he was also a speaker at conferences, in short a point of reference.

Many Delphi developers still remember his particularly engaging presentations; he was capable of making complex concepts simple, a rare quality which can be found in the chapters of the book that he left us as a legacy.

I still remember myself of Pawel’s participation in the 2012 edition of ITDevCon European Delphi Conference (which is available on YouTube ): through a series of simple and understandable yet captivating and effective demos he had definitely aroused my curiosity towards the world of 3D applications using the FireMonkey library and all the types of projects you can create with it. I therefore couldn’t miss the first edition of “Expert Delphi” which contained (and still contains) an entire chapter on these topics, from which I also recently took inspiration for a live broadcast on my Twitch channel (you can find the replay on YouTube ).

Updated content, same spirit!

This second edition of “Expert Delphi” features updated content to reflect the latest developments and innovations in Delphi, but keeps the original essence coming from Pawel pretty intact.

When I heard about the release of this book, I immediately thought about how much effort this job would have required, since the difficulty is double or even triple compared to publications of the same type.

Think about it carefully. In addition to the detailed review of the topics covered, considering how many innovations have been introduced in Delphi over time, there was also the need to maintain that unmistakable style that characterized Pawel’s presentation in the original book. That said, you would have to “retouch” it on one hand but preserve its original spirit and giving a new light to it. It couldn’t have been an easy task.

However, I find that everything has been done greatly with modesty and respect, maybe pursuing the best way to enhance and carry forward Pawel’s legacy and his love for programming.

Suitable for everyone, from beginner to expert

Getting to the heart of the review, after having read the book and listening feedbacks from third parties, I can say that “Expert Delphi” represents the classic manual suitable for everyone, both beginners and experts, not only for the way it is written, but also for the extremely wide range of topics it covers.

It is a book that starts from the basics but evolves quickly, without getting too boring and focusing on very practical and immediately usable notions. It goes deeply enough to convey the ideas without getting the reader bored and leaving up to him/her to delve further into the topics.

A Delphi beginner can quickly learn the basics and become able to develop an application straight away, while an expert one can instead focus on specific areas, especially those that are difficult to remember.

Practical and playful style

The approach of this book is extremely practical: it focuses on what is needed to obtain tangible effects and results, with code examples ranging from simple apps to small games.

It is therefore not the classic with heavy academic book that rambles on any topic (without taking anything away from this type of books which I really like, I must confess 😄) but a guide that focuses on the essence of the most common aspects of Delphi development today, addressing the essentials you need to know and adding something extra fun.

For each problem we find one or two examples, just to give you an idea. The declared goal is to give a smattering of selected principles, tools and practices, leaving the reader the pleasure of discovering alternative options and further possibilities.

A wide range of topics

The topics covered are truly many: from desktop development to cross-platform development for mobile devices, from 2D graphics to the three-dimensional world I have already mentioned, from multi-threading to multi-touch management, from database access (not only client/server but also embedded) to remote service calls, including the management of XML and JSON formats (with an in-depth analysis of the new JSON Binding Wizard, one of the new features of Delphi 12 Athens).

There are also examples for very specific but common needs, for example how to customize and embed FMX styles as a resource, loading themes at runtime with the appropriate code.

Speaking of mobile development, the book goes into details of typical features of this kind of application, such as reading device on-board sensors, accessing the camera (with ready-to-use actions in Delphi), sharing resources, sending notifications and much more.

To know more

In this review I wanted to leave room for impressions and considerations regarding the book, without going too much into details of chapters and topics, for which I recommend reading these Marco Cantù’s blog posts (in English language):

Where to buy the book

The book can be purchased directly from the publisher, Packt Publishing , or on Amazon .

The source code of the examples can be downloaded from the GitHub repository .

Conclusions: a must-have book

I think there is nothing left to say other than this book goes beyond a mere technical manual: it is a precious source of knowledge for Delphi developers who want to increase their skills and celebrate Pawel’s legacy Glowacki.