MVP Spotlight: Holger Flick

Holgar FlickI wanted to spotlight a recent return to the Delphi community as an MVP: Dr. Holger Flick. He’s started blogging again and hasn’t slowed down producing good quality technical content.

Like many of us, Holger started programming with Turbo Pascal and GW Basic. For him it was at the age of 7 (with Basic) and switching to Delphi 2 at the age of 14. In 2003 he became very active in the forums and was a member of Team Indy. During that time he was blogging at “Holger’s Thoughts on Delphi,” and also wrote several articles in German and Dutch Delphi magazines.

Holger even spent some time freelancing for QA at Borland and CodeGear. Later for Embarcadero he reported bugs on the localization in German. He also freelanced on the Borland and CodeGear Developer Network. Eventually he earned a place on the Delphi 2005, 2006 and 2007 credits screen (Help > About press ALT key and type TEAM.)

Holgar regularly spoke at conferences on Model-Driven Application Development, ECO (Enterprise Core Objects), and ASP.NET (with Delphi for .NET naturally). I met Holger in person in San Jose at the Delphi Developer Conference in May of 2009, and again in Las Vegas at the Delphi Developer Solutions Conference in 2011.

Holger studied Computer Science at Technical University of Dortmund, Germany, and earned his Ph.D. in Engineering at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. He then founded his own IT consulting company in 2011 before joining Korfmann Lufttechnik GmbH as head of IT. Now with his  company Flixments, LLC. and new brand Flix Engineering he is blogging about Delphi development again. As an Embarcadero MVP I’m sure his professional skills will be a huge benefit to the Delphi community and IT landscape in South West Florida in general.

Holger says it was hard to find a recent picture of him without sunglasses as they are pretty much required in Florida.

Join me in welcoming Holger back to the Delphi community as an MVP!

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Get a Copy of Marco’s Object Pascal Handbook with Delphi Starter

As part of the Delphi Boot Camp and Delphi Starter Promotion, you can also get a copy of Marco Cantu’s updated Object Pascal Handbook, all at no cost. (Limited time offer)

If you want a physical copy of Marco’s book, you can pick one up on his website, or just check out the table of contents . . .

  • Part I
    • Chapter 1: Coding in Pascal
    • Chapter 2: Variables and Data Types
    • Chapter 3: Language Statements
    • Chapter 4: Procedures and Functions
    • Chapter 5: Arrays and Records
    • Chapter 6: All About Strings
  • Part II
    • Chapter 7: Objects
    • Chapter 8: Inheritance
    • Chapter 9: Handling Exceptions
    • Chapter 10: Properties and Events
    • Chapter 11: Interfaces
    • Chapter 12: Manipulating Classes
    • Chapter 13: Objects and Memory
  • Part III
    • Chapter 14: Generics
    • Chapter 15: Anonymous Methods
    • Chapter 16: Reflection and Attributes
    • Chapter 17: The Object Class
    • Chapter 18: RunTime Library

Marco Cantu's Object Pascal Handbook

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Blaise Pascal Issue 53 with Atanas Popov Interview

Tried something new where I went over the current issue of Blaise Pascal with Detlef Overbeek. The video is available on YouTube.

Blaise Pascal Issue 53INTERVIEW WITH ATANAS POPOV
Atanas agreed after being asked immediately to be interviewed. That was about two months ago. About two weeks ago there was quite a lot of turbulence in the community and vendors went nervous, some people even saw some kind of armageddon for Delphi. Even the more reason to talk the new Chief, ask him all the questions about their new policy, what is going to happen to and with Delphi. An explanation sometimes even in detail follows in the magazine.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
CREATE AND TRAIN YOUR FIRST NEURAL NETWORK
BY BOIAN MITOV
The quest for intelligent machine has started long before the first computers became reality. For centuries mechanical devices have been created to mimic human behavior, and grab the imagination of the spectators with the promises of mechanical intelligence. But only after the first electronic computers appeared, creating such intelligence became feasible.

The first attempts at such intelligence were focused on teaching the computers to play games and solve mathematical problems. They have proven fairly good at both tasks. However when an attempt was made to connect a camera to a motorized cart and have a computer navigate it through a room full of obstacles, it became apparent that such simple task represents a major challenge to the computer, and so began the quest for creating the intelligent computer.

HOW TO BUILD AN APP IN XML AND
CREATE AN ANDROID PACKAGE
INCLUDING HOW TO USE THE EMULATOR
with code and working APK
BY DETLEF OVERBEEK
In this article we will create a Multi Device Application on an emulated android device.
We are going to use the Multi Device Application we also used in Issue 4 2016 ‘How to build an app in xml’.
We also show where you could find the information to use any of your devices to run a Multi Device Application.  How to do this varies per device so we can not explain it fully within the scope of this article. However we hope to point you into the right direction by showing how to do it with a Samsung S5 -android version 5.0.1. and for the emulator we chose for the NEXUS 6 -because it seemed to be a smaller item and that might run faster…

You can download the latest issue on the Blaise Pascal site.

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The Trouble with Lists of Programmers

There are two hard things about computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors. That little witticism is true of computer science, and my Top 11 list of Programmers post.

If you Google that quote you may see where Martin Fowler attributed it originally to Phil Karlton of Netscape fame.  Jeff Atwood also tweeted it, and Tim Bray confirmed it was Karlton.

Here is part 1 of my supplemental list of great software developers. It is in no particular order, and is of no particular magnitude. It is rather arbitrary. Part art, part science, a lot like software development.

Martin Fowler

Martin Fowler

Martin Fowler at the University of São Paulo, Brazil in 2015 

Let’s start with Martin Fowler. He is probably most known for his book on refactoring, which he co-wrote with Kent Beck, John Brant, William Opdyke, and Don Roberts. I don’t think they invented the idea of refactoring code: a controlled technique for improving the design of an existing code base. But that book really did a lot to promote the idea or refactoring and testing, and also to define related concepts, including the code smells that suggest a refactoring may be necessary. There have been a lot of books on refactoring since then, but this is still the authoritative tome in my mind. Fowler is also a proponent of software design and agile methodology. He was one of the original “signers” of the Agile Manifesto.

Alan Turing, OBE FRS

Alan Turing

Alan Turing, 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954

How in the world did I miss Alan Turing in my first list? Clearly an oversight on my part. While Ada Lovelace was the first Computer Programmer, Turing was the first Computer Scientist. He’s design of a “universal computing machine” became known as a “Turing machine” and is the fundamental basis for computers today. It lead to the idea of a programming language being “Turing complete” as being theoretically capable of expressing all tasks accomplishable by computers. His name was also lent to the “Turing test” which invented as a way to test machines that exhibit intelligent behavior.

Enigma Machine

Enigma machine at the NSA Museum in Maryland, USA

One of Turing’s greatest contributions was one that he was not known for because it was kept secret. He was instrumental in the cryptanalysis of the Enigma cipher during World War II. This is a photo of me using an actual Enigma machine at the NSA museum in Maryland, USA.

John Carmack

John Carmack

John Carmack receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 10th annual Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony in 2010

Would you like to play a game? Chances are you are familiar with Carmack’s work in game development. He was the lead programmer for id software’s Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Rage and their sequels. Currently he is the CTO for Oculus VR, Inc., the folks that are making the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.

Carmack was originally attributed with coming up with the Fast Inverse Square Root, a piece of mathematical black magic to approximate an inverse square of a 32-bit integer 4 times faster than using floating point math. While that one turned out to originate elsewhere, he is responsible for a number of innovative technologies that are common in many games.

Claude Shannon

Claude Shannon

Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as “the father of information theory”.

Shannon was more of a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer, but he is also the father of information theory, which has a huge impact on computer science. He met turing in 1943, and discussed his Universal Turing machine as many of its ideas complimented Shannon’s own.

Shannon had many inventions and contributions, but possibly one of his greatest is the Ultimate Machine: A simple box with a single switch. When the switch is flipped, the box opens and a finger reaches out to flip the switch back, retracting the finger and flipping the switch back. Although the flame-throwing trumpet is a close second.

Shannon also co-invented the wearable computer and used it to make a fortune counting cards in Las Vegas. His technique inspired the book Bringing Down the House and the movie 21. He later applied the same technique to the stock market with even better results.  Shannon is one of those people that the more you learn about the more he sounds like a myth or a legend.


This isn’t a complete list. I’ve got more to cover, but this is enough for now . . .

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MVP Spotlight: Eli of FMXExpress.com

Eli of FMXExpress.comI’m sure you’ve all visited FMXExpress.com, if you haven’t then I’ll just let you go there now. Eli is joining us for the C++ Boot Camp this week and is presenting on Thursday with coverage of game development with FireMonkey. He is showing off 4 different FireMonkey games that run on Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. The cool thing is some of the games have features where you can view the game on device while you control it on the other.

Eli currently manages a team of about 25 independent content creators, schedulers, and developers through UpWork. The content team handles over 30 Facebook pages reaching an audience of tens of millions of users. He has been hiring through UpWork since 2012 and has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars on hundreds of contracts across many different projects. Through his writing on FMXExpress.com Eli has reached over 300,000 dFMXExpressevelopers interested in Delphi FireMonkey with over 600 tips and tricks articles. Additionally, over the years, he has deployed over 300 games to the web, Android, iOS, and Windows and aggregated 80,000+ flash games which have reached over 120+ million players worldwide with 215+ million gameplays. He is a full stack developer and entrepreneur who has also developed and deployed various trialware, freeware, open source, and server softwares with Delphi and many other technologies that have reached millions of users on the desktop.

When not being a business and development rockstar, Eli likes to travel.

You can find Eli all over the web and social media, but here are a few very cool sites to check out . . . .

Trolledge: Multi Platform Open Source Code Editor

 

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MVP Spotlight: Samuel “Muka” David

Samuel David, Bug Buster Samuel “Muka” David is a Certified Delphi Developer since version 7 and a Certified Delphi Master Instructor. He specializes in software construction and building components. He loves Object Oriented development and is addicted to refactoring and agile techniques. He is always in search of perfect technique, following development teachers to acquire more knowledge in the art of programming. Delphi official instructor in RS by Aquasoft. Speaker at numbers Delphi Conference and one of Delphi Users Group coordinators of Rio Grande do Sul (DUG-RS). Also a lead instructor for the Extreme Delphi events all over Brazil.

I’ve met Samuel 3 times while visiting for the annual developer conference in Brazil. One thing he does to make things memorable is creating his talk around a move theme or some other external influence. In 2014 he was dressed as a Ghostbuster and did Bug Busters. Here is picture I got with him, Marco Cantu and my flaming hair.

Samuel David with Marco and Jim

He also creates  matching promotional posters for the conference . . .

Indiana Muka 2b GhostPost

Not only is he a master Delphi developer, he is also a master with Photoshop, creativity and costume design. He makes all his outfits himself, including the cool Delphi helmet patch on his shoulder above. Here he is dressed as Indiana Jones in 2013.

indiana_jones

If you live near Brazil then I encourage to to plan on attending the 2016 Embarcadero Conference there. Not only will it be filled with great developer technical content, but you’ll get to meet all the great Brazilian MVPs and see what Samuel is dressed as this year.

BrazilMVPs2015

In 2015 he was dressed as a member of the Elite Squad, although he isn’t wearing his beret in the picture above.

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Cool App Contender: SUMOTORI DE CHU

The next contender in our cool app contest is SUMOTORI DE CHU.

SUMOTORI_DE_CHUAre you fond of wrestling, sumo or other fighting games? You should surely try SUMOTORI DE CHU app. Inspired by Japanese national sport SUMO; it is a competitive full-contact sport where a wrestler attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring. It is an amazing minimalistic network game for two players.

It uses Wifi to synchronize the position, score and sound on a local network. Users can update their player image by taking snaps from their camera which will automatically get updated in the other player profile as well. Players can control the motion by tilting their device in the intended direction. This unique game also senses the physical motion of the user and this makes it able to control the motion in the game by those physical movements.

It is not just tilting the mobile device that makes the wrestler movie, but for acceleration you need to make big movements. The simplicity, physical involvement and the realistic touch to this game makes it a great contender for the cool app contest.

Usage of technology to develop the app:

This game is designed using Delphi and it is aimed for iOS and Android devices.  It used some of the best Embarcadero product features such as FMX Application Platform, App Tethering, Box2D, Sensor manager for the gyroscope, Motion sensor for the accelerometer, component Camera (accessed through an action), and JSON. To enable running simultaneous audio files it uses free Game Audio Manager Class provided by FMXexpress.com.

Watch the video to understand the basic features and use of this cool app.

Built with Delphi Power by FireMonkey

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Cool App Contender: Network Fool Card Game

I don’t know Russian, but I suppose I think I’m pretty good at recognizing Cyrillic characters and assuming it must be Russian. But I checked with Google Translate and it tells me that this is Russian for “Network Fool game.” The video also includes some Cyrillic text on buttons and such, but no audio.

It turns out Network Fool isn’t just a card game. It is an plugin for the chat system CommFort. Maxim describes the architecture pretty well:

Since the text chat is a client-server structure I had to write the server side of the game – to store statistics and other calculations, as well as the client part. However, the client side is not so simple, it not only communicates with the server, but also starts a separate process for the graphic display of the game and builds a GUI in the chat window. The server and client side is a dll library written with VCL, and the graphical shell is a separate exe using FMX.

I love that network fool integrates with a 3rd party system, extending a chat system into a full card game platform. The fact that is uses both FireMonkey and VCL to make it all work is a great example of flexibility and versatility. It is developed with Delphi, and uses FireDAC and Named Pipes to make it all work.

Watching the video I would not have expected that it was a card game plugged into a chat system. It looks more like a card game with an integrated chat window. I’m always tickled to see people extend systems in new and creative ways like this. Certainly a cool app contender.

Built with Delphi Built with FireMonkey Built with VCL

Notice the VCL button doesn’t have an icon on it? You may remember the old one with the colorful, 3D shaded shapes: circle, cube and cone. I’m working on a new one that I hope you all like just as much. Stay tuned!

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Top 11 Computer Programmers of All Time

The problem with top 10 lists is they never include everyone, but this one goes to 11. My son helped me put this one together. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Throughout the ages, many great minds have arisen from the masses and changed the course of humanity for better or for worse. In the span of only a century humankind has advanced from barely being able to prototype our own armored combat vehicles to now being able to maneuver unmanned combat aeroplanes from the comfort of our own living room on the other side of the world using our watches and phones. How is it that we have managed such a radical feat? It is thanks to some of the greatest minds of our time; computer programmers.

Lady Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace portrait

Lady Ada Lovelace

Computer programming first started with Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace, born Byron; or as most of the world knows her, Ada Lovelace. Back in the mid 1840s, Charles Babbage hypothesized and attempted the creation of the Analytical Engine, an early mechanical general-purpose computer. His seminar about the engine was translated by Lovelace through a commision of Charles Wheatstone, and in the process of her translating she added quite a few notes including an algorithm for the Analytical Engine to calculate Bernoulli numbers. This algorithm is cited as the first “computer code” as it was a process that was written for the purpose of a machine calculating independent of human correction.

I am more than ever now the bride of science. Religion to me is science, and science is religion. In that deeply-felt truth lies the secret of my intense devotion to the reading of God’s natural works. It is reading Him. His will — His intelligence –Lovelace

 

Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN

Fast forward about a century later and now computers are few and far between and can only do arithmetic, at least, that’s what they say. Grace Hopper however chose not to listen what everyone else was saying the limitations of computers were, and that enabled her to build the world’s first ever compiler, A-0. Even once she had completed her compiler, it took a full four years before anyone even believed her that it even existed. Apparently the impossible does happen sometimes.

If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission. –Hopper

Niklaus Wirth

Niklaus Wirth

Niklaus Wirth

Niklaus E. Wirth is a Swiss computer scientist who achieved his fame through the creation of several different computer languages, Algol W, Euler, Modula, Modula-2, Oberon, Oberon-2, Oberon-07, and Pascal, and due to the widespread use of his book, written in tandem with Kathleen Jensen, The Pascal User Manual And Report served as a basis for many other languages such as Delphi. In addition, in 1984 he won the Turing Award for the number of useful computer languages he created, this award is generally seen as the highest honor in computer programing.

Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster. (AKA Wirth’s Law)

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton during the Apollo program

Margaret Hamilton (photo by NASA)

Margaret Hamilton was the Director of the Software Engineering Division for the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory during the time that her division developed the on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. Also, in 1986 she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a company based around the Universal Systems Language.

The photo is Hamilton standing next to the code she wrote for the Apollo program.

Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself” Wired Magazine, 13-Oct-2015

Donald Knuth

Donald Knuth (photo by Jacob Appelbaum)

Donald Knuth (photo by Jacob Appelbaum)

Donald Knuth is known as the “father of the analysis of algorithms” for many reasons. Take his multi-volume work The Art of Computer Programming for example. This comprehensive monograph takes many of computing’s biggest algorithms and then explains and analyzes them in order to help set forth a compendium of computer science. He is also the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, the related METAFONT font definition language and rendering system, and the Computer Modern family of typefaces.

 

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do. – Knuth

Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie (photo by Denise Panyik-Dale)

Dennis Ritchie (photo by Denise Panyik-Dale)

Dennis Ritchie created the C programming language and was a partner in creating the Unix operating system. For his work on Unix, him and his partner received the Turing Award in 1983, the Hamming Medal in 1990, and the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 1999.

 

Quote: “[C has] the power of assembly language and the convenience of … assembly language.”

Homepage at Bell Labs

 

Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Kenneth Lane “Ken” Thompson invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to C invented by Dennis Ritchie, and was one of the creators/early developers of the Plan 9 operating systems. Since 2006, Thompson has worked for Google, where he was a partner in the invention of the Go programming language. Notably, he also did a fairly large amount of computer chess work, including the creation of endgame tablebases and the chess machine Belle.

 

Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup is the creator and early developer of C++, a descendant of Ritchie’s C programing language. He was also elected member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2004, a Fellow of the ACM, an IEEE Fellow, and a Fellow of the Computer History Museum on the basis of his inventing the C++ programing language.

A program that has not been tested does not work. –Stroustrup

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee (photo by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation)

Tim Berners-Lee (photo by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation)

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS, AKA Tim Berners-Lee, is the creator of the World Wide Web in the year 1989, a senior researcher and holder of the founders chair at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, and was named a member of the board of trustees of the Ford  Foundation.

I think in general it’s clear that most bad things come from misunderstanding, and communication is generally the way to resolve misunderstandings, and the Web’s a form of communications, so it generally should be good. –Berners-Lee

Anders Hejlsberg

Anders Hejlsberg (photo by DBegley)

Anders Hejlsberg (photo by DBegley)

Anders Hejlsberg created Turbo Pascal. He is also the chief architect of Delphi, C#, and TypeScript. In 2001 he received the Dr. Dobb’s Excellence in Programming Award for his contributions to the world of software development. Anders is from Copenhagen, Denmark and graduated from the Technical University of Denmark.

When asked about all he’s accomplished in the world of software development he famously said “we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.” When discussing the influences of previous languages on new languages he said “good ideas don’t just go away.”

Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds (photo by Krd)

Linus Torvalds (photo by Krd)

Linus Torvalds is one of the most influential developers of recent time as the creator and long-time principal developer of the Linux kernel, which later became the kernel for operating systems such as GNU, Android, and Chrome OS. He also has received many many awards: C&C Prize (2010), EFF Pioneer Award (1998), Hall of Fellows of the Computer History Museum (2008), IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (2014), Internet Hall of Fame (2012), Lovelace Medal (2000), Millennium Technology Prize (2012), Takeda Award (2001), Vollum Award (2005), and the World Technology Award (2002).

I’m personally convinced that computer science has a lot in common with physics. Both are about how the world works at a rather fundamental level. The difference, of course, is that while in physics you’re supposed to figure out how the world is made up, in computer science you create the world. Within the confines of the computer, you’re the creator. You get to ultimately control everything that happens. If you’re good enough, you can be God. On a small scale. –Torvalds

Who did we miss? Who would you add?

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Top 10 Reasons to be a Delphi Developer

I found this article on the top 10 reasons to be a Delphi developer. I’m curious what your top reasons to be a Delphi developer would include.

Top 10 Reasons to be a Delphi Developer

DelphiThe job of a software developer is pretty interesting. You learn programming languages to develop a variety of software to digitize the world, but while doing this, you sometimes fall into situations where a small error takes away your sleep for many days and nights. The best of this experience comes out when you actually find the solution and give a tap to you with a smile on your face saying “OMG! Was this small issue making me restless?” It may happen with any software developer, but the final outcome is always pleasing that is why the job of a software developer is pleasing the youth across the globe.

Depending upon the programming languages you have studied and implemented the chances of being stuck in a small issue may vary. A complex language may get you restless nights many times during a software development. On the other hand, an easy programming language with simple syntax writing and other useful features can turn your life as software developer into a life that everyone would love to have. Delphi is such a programming language, which is known-as one of the easiest programming languages with easy-to-write syntax.

Top 10 Reasons to be a Delphi Developer

If you want to be a software developer, you may not want to start with a difficult language, which puts your morale down. So, to keep your passion of being a software developer up with full enthusiasm, starting with Delphi programming language will be a brilliant option. Starting your career as a Delphi Developer brings you several benefits.

Let us have a look at some of the top reasons to understand why you should be a Delphi Developer:

  1. It is a combination of programming language and Software Development Kit (SDK), which allows application development for desktop, mobile, consoles, and web.
  2. It is a simple programming language with clear syntax.
  3. Code written in Delphi, is easily readable; for example, you can concatenate strings using the “+” sign rather than any function.
  4. Documentation of Delphi is well-organized to help you give a quick start.
  5. Comes with an Integrated IDE, which allows you to easily develop GUI using drag & drop, addition of event handlers, and many other features.
  6. Supports real-time testing, making it easier and faster to find and fix issues.
  7. Supports Rapid Application Development (RAD) with features, such as an application framework and visual window layout designer.
  8. Supports client-server architecture and SQL databases.
  9. Supports complete Windows API.
  10. Allows creating components for easy integration in the IDE.
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