Friday, 20 June 2008

Back in from the cold


The time has come to return to programming my own application. I have been considering this for some time and indeed have made several false starts on this. Yesterday, I made a start on actually getting into the program again. This is not a work program, but my own application that I built and sold many years ago. It will be a long term, after-hours venture.

I've been looking at several tools for this venture. Delphi is a requirement as I can deliver a great application to the intended audience using Delphi. I've looked very seriously at both Firebird and ElevateDB as the intended database that I will be using. I still have not made up my mind on these yet as both have their strong points.

If I end up going with Firebird, then I'll most likely be using the IBObjects components. I've used these before at a customer's site and have been impressed at the genuine speed that results.

Either way, I'll be looking seriously at using the InfoPower components. Although they can be rather noisy (use a lot of network bandwidth), the intended audience for this application will enjoy the user interface these components can give them. Although I'd also like to take a good look at the ExpressQuantumGrid Suite, they don't offer anything but pre-compiled demos. It often takes a time using the component to decide if its as useful as the demos make out. Besides, I'd like to develop the application first before approaching some financial backers in order to purchase the components, complete the final programming/packaging, and get the marketing under way. Pity, it looks like a good product but I simply can't afford to purchase it at this stage.

ReportBuilder Pro will also be my choice of reporting tool.

You can be sure that I'll be looking at alternatives to the components mentioned, but these are my thoughts for the moment. Any feedback for this from you would be greatly appreciated.

Having spent my development time in the past year in such environments as Oracle, and Oracle's Application Express, although those are good environments, its nice to get back into familiar territory again.


  1. Express quantum grid is light years ahead of the infopower grid. I have recently released Rental Property Manager 2 ( As part of that, I replaced all the infopower grids with quantum grids. The app is a bit larger but the look and feel is much better.

    If you are ever down in Hawkes Bay, I'll give you a demo of the grid.

  2. Thanks Sean. That's good feedback. It would be much better if I could first develop the application with QuantumGrid (even if it can't be used without Delphi running) but sadly, a purchase is required before you can start.

  3. I would go with ibo+firebird
    It's an very stable setup and the speed with ibo is very good.

    My interest is now lazarus+native firebird components but it might be harder for you to start with

  4. AnonymousJune 20, 2008

    ElevateDB v2 looks great, please take a look on that :)

  5. AnonymousJune 20, 2008

    ElevateDB is realy very good and stable. The latest additions 'Replication' and especially the 'STORE' functionality is a decission maker in my view.

  6. AnonymousJune 20, 2008

    Check out TMS Software, they have come a long way and unlike DevExpress, allow trial downloads of their vcl components. At work, we are dumping infopower. It doesn't play well with D2007. TMS also has components for vcl for the web (intraweb) if you want to check that out.

  7. Hi Steve. I have used a variety of DevExpress components, and I can honestly say that their compiled demos accurately reflect the functionality available in their components.

    Because of the sophisticated nature of the components, code needed to access properties can be a little long-winded, but once you get your head around the abstracted nature of their component hierarchy it's okay.

    I've never used InfoPower, so I can't make any comparison, but I do know that I've been more than happy with my purchases from DevExpress.

    Good luck,


    PS Feel free to email me if you want to ask me specific questions offline.

  8. I get a lot of mileage out of the TMS suite of components. I've just switched away from the Orpheus grid (which I loved) to the TMS grid because I was already using TMS components and wanted to trim down the number of third-party suites I was using. I like the TAdvEdit much better than the Orpheus edit controls.

    For reporting, I'm sick of all the canned packages. For a few years now I've been using a combination of XML->XSL-FO->Apache FOP to generate PDF reports. Stylus Studio as my XSL editor.

  9. AnonymousJune 21, 2008

    Major problem of QuantumGrid is that its best features only works with a FetchAll in the data. This usually is not a good thing in C/S if you have table with many rows.

  10. AnonymousJune 21, 2008

    Have you tried Zeoslib?

  11. AnonymousJune 21, 2008

    Firebird 2.1 is a must have. The support community is incredible. We use FIBPlus with it, and have had no issues.

  12. I'm using the package Delphi + Firebird + IBO + DevExpress + Report Builder for some years now with very good results. Using Firebird embedded is a very fast and easy way to deploy in a single computer, and it's quite easy to "upgrade" to a multi-user (just installing a Fb server somewhere).

  13. AnonymousJune 21, 2008

    Dear delphi developers,
    Delphi is dying. You know that. I know that, also.
    Choose a good ajax framework and a good hosting and continue working in interesting things.
    Take a look at ;-)

  14. Steve,

    Whatever RDBMS you choose as a Back End please make sure that users of your software do not have to pay more than the price you charge for your software. Like for example if you go for ElevateDB then users will have to buy the server version of ElevateDB just to use your software.

    As for components I feel that InfoPower is show its age, DevExpress has lately been linking in the Theme part of its library automatically for every control that they provide and this seems to inflate the executable size beyong control at times.

    I have just started experimenting with TMS and I feel that for grid part I would use VitrualTreeView and open source TreeView cum Grid Control. I have yet to come across any grid control that is faster than VT.

    I would suggest that you go for ZeosLib for database access and try your hands on InstantObjects for Object Oriented database access and usage.


    Yogi Yang

  15. Yes, the DevExpress has lately been linking in the Theme, at first they have problem with size, but lately the problem doesn't exist. Just need put a file around the EXE.

    For me the DevExpress is the best suite for VCL right now beyond the others, the thing, money at first time.

    I choose Firebird 2.1, great result, stable. I use FibPlus, they offer better support rather than IBO. And Fibplus more faster than IBO.

  16. AnonymousJune 23, 2008

    DevEx components are miles ahead of _anything_ else available. Even the closest competitor would not have 30% of Quantum Grid's functionality. The only downside of DevEx is that your app exe is going to be several MB larger. If you can live with that bloat the don't waste your time with anything else.

  17. AnonymousJune 24, 2008

    I have always been a proponent of IBO. However, over the past year or so, I have switched to FIBPlus ( - I have not looked back.

    I'm also a proponent of InfoPower - however, I have seen things that DevEx's grids can do that are amazing. Learning curve for DevEx, however, can be rather steep.

    TMS components - I have and use them as well. However, getting them to work well with Firebird blobs AND make the grid fully editable has proven elusive - I suspect it's just a setting or two - but, I haven't been able to achieve that functionality.

    Good Luck.


  18. AnonymousJuly 30, 2008

    As every developer i've tried many commercial grids. I found most not usable to use proffesionaly. Just to buggy.

    Now I'm using Devexpress quantum grid for about 3,5 years. I must say QG isn't flawless (i reported i few minor bugs) but service is great and the functionality QG offers is just about everything i need.

    On the other hand using even the most "normal" features can be a bit difficult and every project becomes several MB's big. But that's the only price you pay. If you can't decide: just buy devexpress quantum grid.


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