Embarcadero’s Delphi RAD Studio programming IDE has a new version coming Sept 2012 – Delphi XE3.

I attended their World Tour presentation in Melbourne today and this post is to briefly inform of the new features it brings.

Windows 8 support:

  • easy VCL or FireMonkey form conversion to Windows 8 “Metro” style
  • ability to compile Windows 8 Desktop applications (32bit or 64bit) in either Delphi Object Pascal or with C++ (although 64bit C++ compiler will be in Q4)
  • new Windows 8 GUI “Metropolis” components such as MetropolisUIListBox
  • Office 2013 styling
  • Live Tiles WinRT support (but no WinRT application Delphi compiler as yet – this is coming, although you can compile WinRT apps using Delphi Prism and .NET via Visual Studio 2013)
  • video playback utilises DirectShow
  • support for gyrosensors, location services, etc
  • support for Surface Pro and Slate tablets
  • “Fat Finger” touch ready
  • the “Metropolis” Win8 Metro GUI-style Desktop apps can be used on Win XP, Vista, Win 7 or Win 8 and work as touch-enabled apps thanks to Delphi gesture control functionality

Mac OS X Mountain Lion support:

  • FireMonkey components automatically can detect and be optimised for pixel-perfect display on either Retina or non-Retina displays in the same binary executable
  • video playback utilises Quicktime
  • non-client area FireMonkey styling
  • Mac Apple store compatible

Revamped Firemonkey framework:

  • vector based, cross platform FireMOnkey framework was introduced in Delphi XE2
  • the framework has been revamped in XE3 and is now called FireMonkey2
  • it has been simplified via adding Visual Live Bindings, wizards, and support for anchors, layouts, non-client area styling, audio/video controls, actions and action lists
  • Mac OS Retina display optimised
  • a new component TPrototypeBindSource allows one to automatically generate a virtual dataset complete with data to link to to assist with mock up application development without need to create an actual database, and this component can also be used to create Live Bindings to custom classes.
  • TDatasource is no longer needed, just link a BindSource to a dataset such as TClientDataset

New Visual Live Bindings:

  • makes creation of Live Bindings far easier – just drag and drop
  • ability to group various Live Bindings together into a “layer” which allows simplification of the visual appearance of these by optionally “disabling” other layers to make the layer you are working with easier to see.
  • layer data is stored in files with extension .vlb
  • seems the Visual Live Bindings functionality can only represent one form at a time?
  • improved dataset lookup support
  • can be used in VCL or Firemonkey

New HTML5 Builder:

  • a totally revamped IDE of what was formerly RadPHP
  • visual design of HTML5, CSS, javascript for client side, while using PHP scripting for server side web apps
  • utilises jQuery technology
  • deployment to mobile devices via PhoneGap services
  • “Phonegap takes your generated html, javascript and css files and injects it into a real .exe file for both Android and iOS. This real .exe file creates it’s own browser instance, puts the browser in full-screen – and disables the security restrictions that public browsers impose on you. Once wrapped, you can create persistent (non cached) databases beyond the usual 5 to 10 megabyte limitation.”
  • extensive code completion and help
  • embedded multimedia playback in web browsers
  • as I understand, this module does not allow one to program in Object Pascal while the compiler generates javascript so it will be interesting to see how this compares with IDE’s which generate HTML5, javascript from Object Pascal code such as Smart Mobile Studio (costs ~$450)


  • there will be a new, separate software package for compiling native mobile apps for iOS, android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7 called “Mobile”
  • this can be purchased and used separate to Delphi, or it can be added into the Delphi IDE as an optional add-on
  • it is NOT included in RAD Studio XE3 pricing!
  • it REPLACES the Delphi XE2 mechanism for compiling mobile apps which relied upon FreePascal and compiling in XCode
  • the new mechanism is MUCH easier to use and does not require external management
  • allows same Object Pascal code to generate native iOS, Android apps
  • new Interbase ToGo database can be deployed to mobile devices as an alternative to SQLite
  • Datasnap compatible
  • SQLite driver for DBX
  • supports device hardware such as gyro, GPS, camera and accelerometer
  • mobile device form designers

Delphi XE3 is a very timely product launch which will leverage the new requirements of Windows 8, and Mac OS Retina displays whilst significantly extending and simplifying cross-platform and mobile application development with tools such as FireMonkey and HTML5/CSS/javascript apps.

This will be a must buy version for those interested in such application development.