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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1949 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Visual Object Oriented Programming Using Delphi
Wiener and Wiatrowski
1 884842 60 7
SIGS books
Peter Wippell
object oriented; delphi; borland; modelling languages
Appeared in:
You would be right to expect a different approach from this Delphi guide, written, as it is, by, a design methodology expert, the editor of the 'Journal of Object Oriented Programming' and a second author, who is an active professional programmer.

Despite such emphasis on design, neither Booch nor any other diagrams are used. This is interesting because Wiener employed Booch modelling in his book on OOP with Eiffel. Instead the authors recom-mend a textual process based on Booch methodology.

Mostly, however, the book concentrates on the principles of implementation, using sample code from the applications. Details of syntax, however, are not covered. The reader is expected to sort these out for himself with the Delphi help files and manuals. This makes the book hard work, given the complexity of some of the programs. Personally, I think class diagrams would have helped a great deal. The full code for all major examples is on the CDROM.

The content is in four parts.

Part 1 - Basic principles - compares simple programs in C++, Eiffel and Delphi, illustrates features of OOP, event driven programming and visual programming and finishes with a demonstration of virtual constructors and meta-classes, which are special features of Delphi Pascal.

Part 2 - The Delphi Visual Object-Oriented System - builds up from simple programs through a process control simulation, good enough to teach some basic control system principles, to an equally practical lecturer's Class Rollbook, which can monitor and analyse the grades of many students in many classes.

Part 3 - Specialised Aspects of Windows Programming - discusses practical aspects of DLLs, then switches to a highly interesting introduction to animation techniques and culminates in a 'simple multimedia application' of a reconstructed railroad in Colorado, complete with an animated map, excellent still photographs and sound.

Part 4 - A Case Study - Uses a card game very similar to Windows Solitaire to explore how to use Model-View-Controller to plan and build a quite complex program. Then it goes further and shows how the same principles can help to 'maintain' a completed program, adding enhancements to make the computer play several games on its own and keep its own statistics!

There are some caveats. The authors point out that, for clarity, programs frequently omit all resource protection. They assume that 'experienced programmers' know how to deal with this, which identifies the target readership as consisting of practising developers rather than students. I ought to mention, too, that I was not happy with the coding of some of the introductory examples.

To summarise, I think this book good value for any Delphi programmer and particularly, one interested in writing programs like those used as major examples. I recommend it especially for its unique emphasis on design and on principles.