Yesterday in Milan, Borland Italy set up a launch event for Delphi 2006. Gabriele gave an overview of the status of the company, its ALM involvement, the Delphi roadmap, and more. After that I presented some of the new features of the IDE, the compiler, the RTL and the VCL. Later Fabrizio gave an overview of ECO (I thought he was supposed to cover the new features only, but the demo was very nice) and Gabriele jumped back in with an overview of Together in Delphi 2006, and some nice insights...

There is no way I can give you a detailed description of my talk (I used a full hour, see Allen Bauer borcon slides for more info), but I can certainly tell you the single feature that was best received (I could tell from the applause). That is var injection. You might wonder what the heck this is... in short, differently from C-based languages, Delphi doesn't allow you to declare a new local variable anywhere in your code, but you are stuck to go to the begin of the code block and add it there. Now Delphi 2005 helped a little with the declare variable refactoring: you could use an undeclared variable, select it, press Ctrl+Shift+V, and get a helper dialog for declaring the variable in the right place. Handy but far from natural, as it gets in the way of your coding flow.

Now var injection moves things to a different level, using the new code templates of Delphi 2006. You can type var anywhere in the code (even in the middle of a block) press the Tab key, enter the variable name and type as you'd generally do, press Enter, and the variable declaration you just typed in the wrong place is moved to the proper location in the source code. This doesn't interfere with your coding at all, requires you to remember the Tab (not a key combination), and it very very nice. Kudos to the R&D Team for coming up with this gem.

I'll get back again with more Delphi 2006 hidden (and no so hidden) gems. I'm also planning an update ebook (80 to 100 pages exclusively covering features added on top of Delphi 2005. I'm looking for a good deal for selling it, don't worry the price will be low, but will need a month or more to write it. So don't expect it out too soon.

Finally, according to public info (in particular David I notice on C++Builder) the RTM (Release To Manufacturing) is this week... so the product will probably be availalbe really soon. By the way, that article from David I in my opinion (and not only mine, having read the Borland newsgroups and seen some blog posts) really marks another shift in Borland's way of doing business. Well done!