You can now download the slides for my Smart Clients with Delphi and RemObjects SDK session from CodeRage 4, scheduled today from 8:00-8:45 (PDF), which is 17:00-17:45 (GMT+1, my time-zone).
Some of my customers and clients often ask me to help me produce a web version of their application. In their own words: they want to internet-enable the software. Sometimes, they think (hope probably) that Delphi contains a magic button that you can use to turn any existing VCL application into a web-enabled version of the application. More often than not, they do not really know the difference between a browser application and a web- or internet-enabled application, which is where I usually come in.
A Delphi VCL application offers a rich GUI, one which has just become even more powerful with the touch and gesturing support from Delphi 2010. This is unlike a browser application, which lacks some of the rich GUI capabilities (even when adding AJAX, although you can get close when using Flash or Silverlight, but that means a complete rewrite of just about everything). Yet, most of my customers immediately (and at first only!) think of a browser application when they want to fulfill the demand to produce a web version of the software.
The first question I always ask is: why? Why is there a need to produce a web or internet-enabled version of the software? (note that I do not ask about a browser based version just yet). Often, the answer contains details about users who need to be able to use the software from any machine, at work or at home. Sometimes, a web-version should only contain a subset of the "full" native functionality: information only vs. full edit capabilities for example.
The next question is: why are you thinking about a browser-based solution for this? Which is the first step into allowing them to see other means to get to the same goal.
Although VCL for the Web (aka IntraWeb) provides great browser-based capabilities and is especially suited for migrating existing applications (and their data modules) to browser-based applications, the end-result may still be lacking when it comes to the richness of the GUI. That's why my personal preference when it comes to web-enabling is not a browser-based, but rather a thin- or smart-client solution.
So, that's the reason for my session Smart Clients with Delphi and RemObjects SDK, although I could also have used DataSnap of course.
In this session, learn how to use Delphi for Win32 as well as Delphi for .NET to develop multi-tier applications that consist of middleware server applications and thin- or smart-clients (stand-alone executables). See a demonstration of the use of the RemObjects SDK to define the server interface with the Service Builder and the different channel and message components, explaining their use and benefits, as well as special security details (encryption and compression). Also covered are Data Abstract in combination with RemObjects SDK, in order to build data-driven multi-tier applications. Benefits of using thin/smart-clients are covered in detail including the fact that these are "internet-enabled applications", with a rich GUI, and without the need for a Web browser!
I hope to "see" you in the chatroom today, as I'm looking forward to discuss this further with you all. See you at CodeRage 4.