Web services new focus for Delphi

Borland is focusing on e-business development with Web service in its new Delphi upgrade.

Michael Swindell, product manager for Borland in Scotts Valley, Calif., said this product will help developers build and deliver Web services.

“There are three areas we focused on,” he said. “The first is e-business development with Web services. This is centred around three new technologies called BizSnap, WebSnap and DataSnap. The second area of focus is integration with our enterprise product line, specifically our Borland application server. Our third area of focus is cross-platform development and compatibility with Kylix, the Linux RAD (Rapid Application Development) tool that we introduced recently.”

BizSnap is a Web services RAD tool that simplifies business-to-business integration by creating XML/SOAP Web services and connections.

WebSnap is a component-based Web application development framework that supports leading Web application servers.

DataSnap allows customers to build high performance Web service-enabled middleware that enables any client application or service to easily connect with any major database, according to Borland.

Swindell said BizSnap is probably the area of most significance. “It contains all of our Web services development, integrates SOAP and XML into Delphi; builds Web services; and uses Web services. It allows the exchange and transformation of XML documents so that we can build B2B applications that can accept XML purchase orders and invoices and exchange documents with any trading partner.”

He also mentioned the new transform capabilities, which allow organizations to adapt to any new suppliers that they want to add to the integration.

“It is both a set of tools for creating transforms and for implementing them,” he said.

By including the WebSnap feature, Borland hopes to take Delphi developers and integrate them with the Web team, Swindell said.

“In the past, Delphi has been a powerful tool for building Web server side applications, but it’s been focused on empowering one person or a small group. WebSnap will integrate that power in a Web team, so the developer can be used on a much broader scale,” he said.

Brad MacDonald, product manager for Vancouver-based Thoughtshare Communications, said it was really important that Delphi now has the XML integration, the communication between server and client.

“One of our biggest wishes was for the ability for the data set components to be able to deal natively with XML. They answered that wish,” MacDonald said.

He also likes the new versions of Delphi’s class explorer.

“With the heavy use of classes in object development – and Delphi is very object oriented – I like the new class explorer and the tree views of the object hierarchy. It makes looking at our code so much easier,” he said. “This may not seem like much, but it could end up meaning a lot.”

MacDonald said he has had client requests for applications to be moved to the Web, and he said the Web service building really taps into a current need.

Rikki Kirzner couldn’t agree more.

“They have looked into their crystal balls and seen the movement in the industry and ensured that the product has the capabilities to enable developers to move in the direction they were starting to move,” said Kirzner, research director with IDC in Mountain View, Calif.

She said Borland really has a finger on the pulse of what developers need.

“This is something they have done consistently over the years,” she said.

The new upgrades and features are “extraordinarily important, ” Kirzner said.

“Delphi is a very popular development tool. Companies will have the tool at hand that they are using to do rapid application development. Now they can extend their capabilities to offer these new services with a minimum of effort,” Kirzner said.

She said the integrated suite of capabilities is key, adding it is bringing more capabilities to RAD.

John Fisher, president of Borland Canada, said that Borland always has to try to look down the road to what will be needed.

“I think this release is answering a lot of our users’ needs,” he said. “They were looking for XML and they want to integrate it into a distributed architecture.”