Tag Archives: Delphi

Using Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) in Delphi FireMonkey

Description: How to use Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) in Delphi (Separating Logic from UI) for maintainability, testability and dependability.
Objective:  Making your application more maintainable, unit-testable, and multi-device capable.
Presenter:  Malcolm Groves from Embarcadero, Jeffrey Lefebvre – Skyline Aviation Software.
Software Versions Supported:  All versions.
Event: CodeRage 7 & 8
Level: Intermediate

Code re-usability and faster product delivery time are two of the many benefits of Rapid Application Development (RAD) IDEs such as RAD Studio and Appmethod.  However on the down side, RAD methodology which allows for minimal planning in favor of rapid prototyping can compromise best coding practises. Poor or no project planning for scalability can compromise software quality, especially in areas of maintainability, testability and dependability.

Code re-usability can be applied at various levels.  There are re-usable visual controls and components at the User Interface (UI) level.  FireMonkey controls, not only allow for reuse in multiple projects on the same platform, but across multiple platforms (Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows).  As software projects expands (like they normally do), a well designed project should account for scaling and loosely coupled libraries that can be reused and easily tested. This reusing of libraries is at the model and business logic level.

One of the design patterns that accomplishes reusability and testability by separating logic from UI is the Model–view–controller (MVC).   MVC  designs software application into three interconnected parts:  the model (application data, business rules, logic and functions), the view (output representation — User Interface) and  controller which connects the model to the view by accepting input and converting them to commands for the model or view.

Model-View-Controller
Model-View-Controller

In the following video, Malcolm Groves from Embarcadero discusses how to use Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) in Delphi.  The MVVM architectural pattern originated from Microsoft  and is largely based on the model–view–controller (MVC) pattern.  MVVM is a specific implementation targeted at UI development platforms with event-driven programming such as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and FireMonkey.

Model-View-ViewModel
Model-View-ViewModel

Jeffrey Lefebvre from Skyline Aviation Software also did a great session on maintainable code – Separating Logic from UI. He discusses techniques for creating new applications with logic separated from UI and tips on transplanting logic from UI into its own units.

In-App Advertising to Monetize Your FireMonkey iOS and Android Apps

Description : How to use In-app advertising and In-app payment service in your Delphi FireMonkey mobile apps.
Objective: How to monetize iOS and Android applications using the TBannerAd component.
Presenter: Marco Cantù, Embarcadero Technologies.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE6, C++ Builder XE6,  RAD Studio XE6.
Event: Developer Skill Sprints
Level: All

In-App Advertising, commonly referred to as Mobile Ads, has become very popular among mobile app developers.  In-App Advertising works by allowing ads to run on space sold within your mobile app. The revenue generated from these ads are based on number of user impressions and/or clicks.

In-App Advertising is potentially a more scalable method of monetization.  Although running ads in your app can somewhat impact the user experience, it can be an excellent choice for apps with lots of content and user engagement such as games, news, chat and entertainment category apps.

One of the new features in RAD Studio XE6, is built-in support (via components) for In-App Payment Services and In-App Advertising.  The In-app payment services via the TInAppPurchase component, enable you to sell digital content directly within your iOS and Android applications.  The In-App Advertising uses the TBannerAd component to enable you to show ads on your iOS and Android applications to obtain income.

In the following video, Marco Cantù from Embarcadero Technologies does a really nice job explaining how to add Ads to Monetize your Mobile App.  Also, read his articles “Using AdMob in an Android Delphi app” and “Advertising with Delphi XE6 on iOS” for step by step examples on how to use In-App Advertising.

For more information on the above topic, see Adding In-App Payments to Your Mobile Apps and  Adding Advertising to Your Mobile Apps.

Creating Custom Delphi FireMonkey Components

Description : How to create custom components for the FireMonkey application platform.
Objective:  To enhance your mobile and desktop applications by creating custom reusable FireMonkey controls.
Presenter: Ray Konopka from Raize Software
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5 / XE6, RAD Studio XE5 / XE6.
Event: CodeRage 8
Level: Intermediate

Rapid application development (RAD) software solutions such as Delphi and C++ Builder uses a component-based framework that significantly reduces software development time.  RAD Studio FireMonkey components-based framework not only allows for faster delivery, more reliable systems (due to previously tested components), reusability and increase in productivity, but allows developers to target multi-device platforms (Android, iOS, Mac, Windows) from one codebase.

While RAD Studio (Delphi/C++ Builder) includes a wide range of FireMonkey components, there are often times when the base controls that comes with FireMonkey are insufficient. In the following video, Ray Konopka of Raize Software demonstrates how to enhance your mobile and desktop applications by creating custom reusable FireMonkey Components.

Read more on creating FireMonkey components on Embarcadero’s website.  Also, download Mitov Software free open source library OpenWire .  OpenWire library allows writing advanced VCL and FireMonkey components for rapid codeless application development.

Using Delphi FireMonkey to Integrate with Popular REST API

Description :  You will learn how to use Delphi FireMonkey REST client library to create desktop and mobile clients which integrate with popular web sites.
Objective: How to create REST clients and work with OAUTH authentication.
Presenter: Marco Cantù from Embarcadero and Olaf Monien (Developer Experts, LLC)
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5 / XE6, RAD Studio XE5 / XE6.
Event: CodeRage 8
Level: All

Representational State Transfer REST (sometimes spelled “ReST”) is an alternative to Web Services (SOAP, WSDL, etc.) and RPC (Remote Procedure Calls).  REST is an architecture style for designing networked applications using HTTP protocol.  Some advantages of REST is that it is fast, simple and lightweight compared to CORBA, RPC and SOAP.

RESTful applications use HTTP requests to post data (create/update), read data (queries) and delete data.  In spite of REST simplicity, it is fully-featured and can accomplish the same things as other Web Services.

A new REST client library was added in RAD Studio XE5.  Delphi and C++ Builder developers can now integrate with popular REST APIs, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Dropbox and many more.  A TAuthenticator components was also added in Delphi XE5 for OAUTH authentication.  Take a look at the following videos by Marco Cantù from Embarcadero and Olaf Monien (Developer Experts, LLC) at CodeRage 8, as they explain how to use the new REST client library in RAD Studio XE5.

The New REST Client Library by Marco Cantù from Embarcadero

The New REST Client Library, Dive into the Details by Olaf Monien (Developer Experts, LLC)

Other interesting examples of integrating Delphi FireMonkey REST client library, would be Sarina DuPont (Product Manager RAD Studio) article on “Feeling the Beat with REST“.  She explains in her article, how to create a mobile app that integrates with Beats API.  The article shows an example app that allows users to search for an artist by name and then return the list of available audio tracks.  Also check out Daniele Spinetti of bit Time Software article on how to Access Marvel Developer API with Delphi XE6.

How to Configure iOS and Android Environments to Compile, Run and Debug FireMonkey Apps.

Description :  You will learn how to configure Configure iOS and Android environments for compiling and debugging applications written in Firemonkey.
Objective: To configure iOS and Android environments for use with FireMonkey.
Presenter: David I, Embarcadero Technologies.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5 / XE6, RAD Studio XE5 / XE6.
Level: All
Download: RAD Studio XE6 PAServer 14.0 Package for Mac

One of the major features about FireMonkey is its Cross-platform abstraction layer for OS features which gives developers the ability to create multi-device, true native apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android all from one code base.  Some of you may be wondering how is this possible when Rad Studio (Delphi / C++ Builder)  Integrated Development Environment (IDE) only runs on a Windows machine.  This is because Delphi/C++ Builder comes with many pre-declared Object Pascal APIs that interfaces with Mac OS X, iOS and Android APIs. While working in RAD Studio IDE on your windows machine,  the IDE allows developers to access these APIs properties and methods from their code.  The IDE also simulates the look and feel of these API components/objects on screen in design mode. However, in order to compile, run and test your Android and iOS applications, you will need access to their native environment.

While an Android environment (Android device or emulator) can be installed and accessed on a Windows machine, the same is not true for Mac OS X/iOS.  You will need a Mac computer with XCode IDE and Embarcadero’s  platform assistant server (PAServer)  installed.  The PAServer is a command-line application that lets RAD Studio interact with that system, to compile, run and debug cross platform (Mac OS X/iOS in this case) applications remotely.  The following video will give you step-by-step instructions on how to configure your development environment for compiling and debugging applications for Mac OS X and iOS with Delphi XE6, C++Builder XE6 and RAD Studio XE6.  You can also read  “How to Set Up Your Development Environment on the Mac (iOS)” article for more detailed instructions.

In this second video, you will learn how to configure your development environment using your Windows PC, for running, compiling and debugging Android applications. You can also read  “Set Up Your Development Environment on Windows PC (Android)” article for more detailed instructions.

Full Access to Android and iOS API using Delphi FireMonkey

Description :  You will learn how to get full access to Android and iOS API in your application using Delphi FireMonkey.
Objective: Get full access to Android and iOS API in FireMonkey.
Presenter: Brian Long from Brian Long Consultancy & Training Services Ltd
Event: CodeRage 8 and Brian Long’s Blog.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5 / XE6, Appmethod
Level: Intermediate
Source code: Source code from Accessing the iOS API session and Accessing the Android API session.  Also download fmxexpress.com full set of Android SDK Object Pascal interface files on Github.

There are thousands of components and libraries (both free, commercial and open source) available for Firemonkey.  However, there will be times you will need functionality for your application that are no readily available libraries and components for. For example, you may need additional functionality for the media player component that comes out of the box with Rad Studio XE5 and XE6.  Functionality such as streaming from a remote server (on-demand) or even streaming a live event. You may also want to access methods in the AudioRecord class in Android for audio capture, but unfortunately there are no out of the box solutions currently in Rad Studio.

Embarcadero has done and is continuing to do a great job with FireMonkey to make sure it has all the essential library necessary from iOS and Android APIs.  And given time, I am sure developers will get full access to these APIs out of the box.  In the meantime, there is another way to get access to these additional APIs in your application.

Brian Long from Brian Long Consultancy & Training Services Ltd did two very interesting presentations at Coderage 8 where he did an excellent job (for such a complex topic) explaining how to access the Android and iOS API directly.  These videos are based on Delphi XE5, but since then, Brian has written two extensive articles, explaining some of the topics he covered in these videos, and the necessary updates for Delphi XE6.  After watching the videos, read Brian Long’s “Creating a splash screen for Delphi XE6 Android apps” and “Launching activities and handling results in Delphi XE6 Android apps” articles.

To bring out full access to iOS and Android APIs, an Object Pascal interface file must be created.  This interface file is the bridge to connect the Object Pascal world to the JAVA and Objective C world.  There are currently three different automated solutions available for Android to help with this process. I am not aware of any for iOS as yet. The three automated tools are  Android2Delphi (paid version – bitcoins only), Java2pas (free & paid version) and JavaImport for Android (paid version only).  Fmxexpress.com has also gone ahead and used Java2pas against the entire set of android.jar files for Android 7, Android 8, Android 10, Android 12, Android 14, Android 15, Android 16, Android 17, and Android 19.  You can read his blog post on Full Android SDK Interface Files In Object Pascal For Firemonkey.

Accessing the iOS API by Brian Long from Long Consultancy & Training Services Ltd

Accessing the Android API by Brian Long from Long Consultancy & Training Services Ltd

Choosing the Right Menu Navigation for your Mobile App

Description :  You will learn Delphi FireMonkey UI design tips and tricks when designing and creating responsive navigation menu.
Objective: How to create Navigation Side Drawer for mobile applications using FireMonkey.
Source: Malcolm Groves, José León and Sarina Dupont’s blog.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE4, XE5, XE6,  C++ Builder XE5, XE6, RAD Studio XE5, XE6, Appmethod.
Source Code: Source code can be downloaded from in Malcolm Groves’ Github repository.
Level: All

A common challenge when designing a responsive mobile application is the navigation menu.  There are several navigation menu options such as the Toolbar Only Navigation, the Tabbed Bar Navigation, the Side Drawer Menu, and the App Home Screen Navigation.

Two of the more commonly used navigation menus are the Tabbed Bar navigation (more commonly used in iOS apps) and the Side Drawer navigation which has become fashionable on Android.  The Tabbed bar navigation is a row of tabs along the top or buttons along the bottom of the screen.  This navigation design provides intuitive user experience allowing users to know what are their available options from one screen.  However, the downside to the tabbed bar navigation is that the tabs or buttons takes up valuable real estate on small mobile displays.

The side drawer menu on the other hand, has the  advantage of more screen real estate, but may take away user engagement, if the engaging menu options available to users has been tucked away in the side drawer.

There is an earlier article written by Malcolm Groves on how to design a Facebook-style layout for your mobile app using Delphi XE4 and Delphi XE5. Sarina Dupont has expanded on his blog post with another great article on Creating a Navigation Drawer for your Mobile Application using XE6 and Appmethod.

José León also has a video on how to create a sliding popup menu in Delphi XE5, that will show up when the user clicks a button on the toolbar. The process is very much similar to the drawer and shows you some UI design tricks to get a nice visual result.

Choosing the right Menu Navigation depends largely on users experience.  If most of the user experience takes place in a single view, and the only things such as user setting and options are needed to be accessed in seperate screens, then you should focus on having your main UI nice and clean by tucking away these settings/options in the side drawer menu. However, if your mobile app has multiple views that users will be equally engaged in, then side navigation may not be the best option.

Backend as a Service (BaaS) applications using FireMonkey

Description: How to build connected multi-device apps using Backend as a Service (BaaS).
Objective: Learn how to use BaaS in your application to  gain easy access to common services in the cloud without having to build or maintain the backend services yourself.
Presenter: David Intersimone, Embarcadero.
Event:  RAD in Action
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE6, C++ Builder XE6, RAD Studio XE6
Level: All

One of the cool new features in RAD Studio XE6 is Backend as a Service (BaaS).  BaaS, also known as “mobile backend as a service” (MBaaS), provides mobile app developers with a way to link their applications to backend cloud storage and APIs exposed by back end applications.  It does this, while also providing features such as push notifications, user management, and integration with social networking services.  RAD Studio XE6 BaaS integrates with leading BaaS providers which includes support for Kinvey and Parse out of the box.

With BaaS, you get easy access to common services in the cloud such as

  • Build multi-device service based applications using the FireMonkey and VCL frameworks
  • Use push notifications to engage your users on any device or platform
  • Access data and object storage in the cloud
  • Provide application and storage security with user authentication
  • Work with popular BaaS providers including Kinvey and Parse using a component based API

In this RAD in Action webinar video, David I explains how to  gain easy access to common services in the cloud without having to build or maintain the back-end services yourself.

Also, check out Sarina DuPont’s Blog for several articles on BaaS.

Developing A Simple Mobile Game With Delphi FireMonkey

Description :  Developing a simple mobile game with Delphi FireMonkey.
Objective: Learn how to design and develop a Bejeweled clone game for iOS and Android mobile devices using Delphi XE5 and FireMonkey.
Presenter:Joaquin Monedero – Embarcadero.
Event:  CodeRage 8.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5 / XE6
Level: All
Source code: The free source code for Bejeweled clone can be downloaded on Github.

It is being predicted by analysts that with the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets on the market, mobile devices will be the primary hardware for gaming by 2016.  The 2013 data released by the State of the Industry Survey, 55% of the participants in last year’s Game Developers Conference are interested in porting their console and PC games for smartphones and tablets and 58% of these developers are planning on launching their next creations on mobile platforms – specifically Android and iOS.

With the gaming market growing so rapidly, Rad Studio XE6 gives developers a huge advantage with its multi platform capabilities, helping developers get to market faster than the competition.  Watch Joaquin Monedero from Embarcadero do a splendid job explaining how to design and develop games for iOS and Android mobile devices using Delphi XE5 and FireMonkey.

Delphi Firemonkey Source Code for Bluetooth Remote Control Car

MiniCooperBluetoothCar

Description : Delphi source code for Bluetooth remote control car.
Objective: Learn how to use Bluetooth technology in Delphi Firemonkey to control or interact with Bluetooth devices and gadgets.
Presenter: Daniele Teti and Daniele Spinetti of bit Time Software.
Source: JDaniele Teti and Daniele Spinetti blog post.
Software Versions Supported: Delphi XE5, Appmethod
Level: Intermediate
Source code: The free source code for bluetooth app can be downloaded on Github.

Daniele Teti and Daniele Spinetti of bit Time Software have developed an app to control the BBZ201 – Mini Cooper S Bluetooth Car via Bluetooth for Android.  Jim McKeeth created a GitHub repository for the project where you can download the code. The iOS version to be released soon with the same codebase.

The BBZ201 Mini Cooper S Bluetooth car can be controlled via mobile’s orientation sensor or touch-screen button interface. It has a super fast motor with full directional steering capability and can be purchase on Amazon for approximately $45.00.

The App currently does not have Bluetooth discovery, you will need to add the car’s MAC address to the source code once you have pair your device. You can add Bluetooth discovery feature yourself if you are interested.  Get the full Bluetooth interface in Object Pascal for the Android SDK interface project on Github which was loaded by fmxexpress.com. Also take a look at Android Bluetooth API.

You can find out more about pairing of Bluetooth devices in a webinar video by Jim McKeeth which you can find in one of my earlier articles: “Programming Mobile Devices and Gadgets using Firemonkey”.