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Updating My Development Tool - Fri, 3 Jul 2015

I’ve been working with Delphi as my development tool for Behold since about 1996. I’m fortunate that the language has continued to be maintained and upgraded during that time, even though it changed ownership several times.

The version of Delphi that I have been using to develop Behold for the past 7 years has been Delphi 2009, which I upgraded to from Delphi 4 in October 2008. That was a necessary upgrade because that added Unicode capabilities which is an essential for any genealogy program.

Now that I’ll be adding editing, I must again upgrade my development tool. In March, I purchased Delphi XE7 with a free upgrade to Delphi XE8 which came out in April. Yes, that’s a full 8 versions (about one per year) after Delphi 2009. They started using the XE moniker to represent the 2010’s.

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The number one essential that XE8 provides that 2009 didn’t is a new database management environment called FireDAC with interfaces to the SQLite database, which I’ll be using for Behold’s file format. I selected SQLite because its a multi-platform, speedy, single file database with a small footprint that’s embeddable within the program. This also happens to be the same database system that RootsMagic uses.

A second thing XE2 and after provides that 2009 doesn’t is 64-bit support. So finally, I’ll be able to create a 64-bit version of Behold which should provide advantages on 64-bit machines. Once I get to this, I will be interested to compare the performance, memory use and file size limits of 32-bit versus 64-bit processing, although in reality.

The installation of Delphi XE8 was pretty straightforward and seemed to take about an hour. It upgrades to a new directory, so I am able to keep my 2009 Development active in case I have to go back to check for differences between what 2009 and XE8 does. 

I need to upgrade all my 3rd party packages to new versions that will work with XE8.  I want to get my new XE8 environment working, while also keeping my 2009 environment working at least for a while. That way, if something is not working the same as it used to, I could test it in 2009 and determine if it was because of the upgrade, or if there was some other reason. Once I’m satisfied that Behold is working reliably in the XE8 environment, then I will be able to dump the 2009 environment.

I don’t update my development tool very often. The steps are often problematic. This is what happened updating my 3rd party packages this time around:

  1. TRichView, which I use for the Everything Report, is now up to Version 15.7.1. I had previously been using version 10.1.4 from 2008. I downloaded the new version, which I get free upgrades for. I love the idea of free upgrades in a product, and TRichView’s policy prompted me to do the same with Behold. When I tried to install the new version, the 32 bit-version installed fine, but the 64-bit version did not because the directory for it was not set up yet in my installation of Delphi XE8. I found that I had to load a sample program and rebuild it in 64-bit for Delphi to create the needed directories. A nasty thing this installation did was to delete the TRichView binary from the 2009 version. I had to recreate that binary. Doing so was tricky since Delphi coughs badly when a package is missing and doesn’t let you in easily. I had some fiddling around to do to get it working. This is not something I do every day so I had to look for help or clues and figure out what the proper directories were. But I was able to get this all going in a couple of hours. I added a message on the TRIchView private forum to let the author know about these glitches in the installation so he can prevent them in future versions.
     
  2. LMD Elpack, is what I use for the TreeView, the grids in the Organize pages, and a few lesser components. I was using their 2009 Version. I needed the 2015 upgrade which includes support for XE8. So I ordered the upgrade. It’s nice that TRichView users get 20% off of any LMD purchase. Installing the ElPack upgrade was easier than TRichView was. The files were loaded into their own 2015 directory that was separate from the previous 2009 directory. And it knew that it was only supposed to be installed into Delphi XE8 and not Delphi 2009. After going through hoops to get the installation package from the LMD protected area, the installation was straightforward and worked reasonably well.
     
  3. EurekaLog, is what I use to trap errors and show an a error reporting box to the user, rather than just letting the program crash. It also helps me find and fix memory leaks in Behold. It had a special Cyber Sunday deal of 70% off for one day only last November which I took advantage of. That was for Version 7.x.  So now I downloaded and installed the latest 7.2.5 version which supports XE8. I was previously using version 6.0.21 from 2009. Installing EurekaLog had a few problems. First, It wanted to delete the previous version of the program before it would allow the new install. I found a EurekaLog support document on how to install two versions of EurekaLog. I had to go into RegEdit and change Eureka log to EurekaLogOld, then install the new version, and then go back into RegEdit and rename EurekaLogOld back to EurekaLog. Thats not a very nice way to have to do it. But then, it still didn’t work. When installing the new version, it gave two system errors. It couldn’t start InstallDiag.exe or Viewer.exe because VCRUNTIME140.dll was missing from my computer. After researching, I found that happens to be a library that comes with Visual Studio 2015, which of course I don’t have installed. EurekaLog’s installation should not depend on this. I downloaded the file (found from an answer in StackOverflow) and reran the installation of EurekaLog 7. Again I had to do the RegEdit thing for Version 6. Now the installation of 7 into Delphi XE8 worked. But Delphi 2009 still wasn’t working. I went back and found my original 6.0.29 installation and reinstalled it. Behold in Delphi 2009 recompiles and runs again. Yay!  By the way, EurekaLog’s install program is unsigned in both its version 6.x and 7.x – meaning Windows gives big bad warnings about running that “untrusted” program.

Now that was easy wasn’t it? Only about 2 days elapsed time. Behold now again compiles and runs fine in Delphi 2009. Delphi XE8 is also set up with the new versions of the needed packages installed into it. The next step is to get Behold to compile and run in the new environment.

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