Compile Object Pascal to JavaScript with Smart Mobile Studio

Here is an interesting project for Delphi developers: a compiler and IDE that takes your Object Pascal code and outputs HTML and JavaScript. 


Smart Mobile Studio, also known as OPJS (Object Pascal to JavaScript) is a project from Optimale Systemer AS, and supports not only the Object Pascal language. but also reusable components in true Delphi style. The goal is to bring Object Pascal programming to mobile platforms, using PhoneGap to wrap the generated code as a native application for iOS, Android or other platforms.

According to the developers, “The Smart object pascal dialect is more or less identical to Delphi 7”. That said, there are no pointers, and ASM blocks contain normal JavaScript instead of machine instructions. This enables use of JavaScript libraries such as JQuery from Smart Mobile code:

You can access native JS through an ASM section, create an instance of it to a variant, and then access its methods directly.

Smart Mobile Studio is currently in closed Alpha so not ready for most of us just yet. Note that there are other options for mobile development with Delphi, including Embarcadero’s official FireMonkey project which can be used with the Free Pascal iOS compiler. Embarcadero has promised its own compiler for IOS in a future version, as well as an Android option.

Mysteries of trapping errors in PowerShell

As everyone in IT knows, sometimes tasks that you think are quick and easy turn out to take longer.

Today I experiences a small example. I have a scheduled PowerShell script that copies a large file. I wanted to enhance the script so that I would receive an email stating whether the copy succeeded and when it completed.

The original script, for the sake of the example (it is actually a little more involved) is this:

Copy-Item somefile somefile.bak
"Clean up"

where “Clean up” represents some code that runs after the copy completes.

Now, by default a PowerShell may continue if it hits an error other than a syntax error. Again for the sake of the example, I will add a line which echoes text to represent the code that send an email. If you run this script:

Copy-Item somefile somefile.bak
"Clean up"
”Send email: File copied successfully”

then the email gets sent whether or not the copy succeeds. Here is what happens if somefile does not exist:


Not much use. The solution, I thought, was to use PowerShell’s trap statement. This catches the exception you specify, or all exceptions, and runs some code. You can also use the break or continue keywords to determine whether the block of code in which the exception occurred continues with the next statement, or exits immediately. You can read about trap here. I therefore wrote a script that looks like this:

Function CopyIt {

trap {return "Error copying file: $_"; break;}

Copy-Item somefile somefile.bak
return "Copy successfully completed"

$result = CopyIt
"Clean up"
”Send email: $result”

What I could not figure out though was that even when the copy failed, the script still sent me a success message:


I assumed I was misunderstanding how trap works. The output shows, in this example, that an ItemNotFoundException is thrown, so the trap should be triggered, right?

Wrong. In the case of non-terminating errors  (PowerShell jargon) you have to specify the ErrorAction. The default ErrorAction is “Continue”. Therefore I had to modify the script like this:

Copy-Item somefile somefile.bak -ErrorAction stop

Now I get an email with a failure message if the copy fails:


All very obvious to PowerShell experts; but it seems to me that PowerShell makes it easy for the unwary to write scripts that fail silently. You are unlikely to see the red text when your script is running on a server.

Where are the tablets for Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

Microsoft will deliver Windows 8 Consumer Preview shortly, probably on February 29th, since it has been promised by the end of this month and there is a launch event at Mobile World Congress.

The Windows Consumer Preview, the beta of Windows 8 on x86/64, will be available for download by the end of February. This next milestone of Windows 8 will be available in several languages and is open for anyone to download.

says Windows President Steven Sinofsky

The name of the preview suggests that Microsoft intends this release to be broadly downloaded and tried, in contrast to the developer preview with its more specialised role.

In preparation for the preview I looked around for a suitable tablet on which to test it – noting that it must be a Intel x86 or x64 tablet, since the ARM build (WOA) is not for general release, but only for manufacturers.

WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.

Sinofsky writes.

So what is available? A quick Twitter consultation turned up a few options, such as the Acer Iconia Tab W500, the Asus Eee slate B121, and the Samsung Slate 7.

However, of these only the Samsung is really suitable, because it has a 1366 x 768 display. The others have 1280 x 800, and while this will run Windows 8 and the new Metro user interface, it will not support the Snap feature which gives you two applications on screen together:

The resolution that supports all the features of Windows 8, including multitasking with snap is 1366×768. We chose this resolution as it can fit the width of a snapped app, which is 320px (also the width designed for many phone layouts), next to a main app at 1024×768 app (a common size designed for use on the web).

Yes, it’s Sinofsky again.

Unfortunately the Samsung Slate 7 is not fully released in the UK, though I did find it on offer at, for the not too unreasonable price of £973.19.

Samsung XE700T1A Series 7 Slate Tablet PC, Intel Core i5-2467 1.6GHz, 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 11.6" Touch, Intel HD, Webcam, Bluetooth, Wifi, Windows 7 Home Premium 64

That is still expensive, and it is hard to see it becoming a mass-market bestseller as Windows 8 fans rush to try out the new OS.

The consequence is that most users will try Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a virtual machine, or on an ordinary PC or laptop, or possibly on one of the cheaper 1280 x 800 tablets.

Since Microsoft’s main focus with Windows 8 has been on the new Metro touch user interface, this will not show the new operating system at its best.

I can personally testify to this. The Samsung slate handed out at the BUILD conference last September, which I had on loan for a few days, was delightful to use, whereas Windows 8 Developer Preview (the same build) is nothing special in a virtual machine.

All will be well, one assumes, when Windows 8 launches with both ARM and Intel-based machines available. Nevertheless, it seems to me a significant obstacle as Microsoft tries to build pre-launch enthusiasm; the risk is that users will not take into account how much better it is on a real tablet.

Update: a few other options have been suggested, like the Dell Inspiron Duo, a convertible 10.1” tablet with an Intel Atom  N570 Dual Core, 1366 x 768 display and 2GB RAM, and around one third of the cost of a Slate 7, but perhaps under-powered to show off the best of Windows 8.

What to do when your Nokia Lumia 800 will not turn on?

Nokia Lumia 800: delightful smartphone but with a few irritations. If you have one, I recommend that you do not let the battery fully discharge – a challenge since the battery life is not the greatest – since if you do, you may have problems turning the phone on again.

I am not sure what proportion of Lumias are affected, but what happens is this. The battery runs out and the phone turns itself off as you would expect. You plug it into the charger, but even after several hours it appears to remain uncharged and will not turn on. The problem is discussed in this thread: Lumia 800 won’t power on or charge.

This has happened with my review Lumia. In my case, the phone vibrated when plugged into the charger and the charging screen appeared, with a red line showing an empty battery, and there it stayed.

So what is the fix? I have had the problem a couple of times, and each time it eventually fixed itself, though it is hard to pinpoint the exact fix. Things people have tried:

  • Unplugging and reconnecting the charger to the phone
  • Attaching the phone to a PC, then to a charger
  • Reset the charging cycle by holding down the power button, while charging, for 8 seconds or so
  • Warming the device to create a small charge in the battery, then starting to charge it

One theory is the battery discharges so deeply that there is not enough power to detect the charger, therefore it never charges. Kind-of too smart for its own good.

If the phone had a removable battery, I would suggest removing and replacing it, an old trick to revive a frozen phone. Should your Lumia not be covered by a warranty, you could try disassembly in order to do this.

The best hope is that a further firmware update will fix the problem.

Windows on ARM fixes much that is wrong with Windows, but lack of apps makes it Microsoft’s big risk

Vendors who create new platforms work hard to attract developers, because high availability of apps is seen as essential for success. This is why, for example, RIM is offering free PlayBooks to developers who submit apps to BlackBerry App World.


Why then would Microsoft deliberately and consciously choose to release a new family of Windows machines on which existing Windows applications cannot run, even when recompiled? This is what is happening with Windows on ARM (WOA), as Windows President Steven Sinofsky makes clear in his lengthy post on the subject:

Developers wanting to reach WOA with existing apps have two options. Many apps will be best served by building new Metro style front ends for existing data sources or applications, and communicating through a web services API … Other existing applications will be well served by reusing large amounts of engine or runtime code, and surrounding that with a Metro style experience.

This restriction means that WOA cannot benefit from what what might otherwise be its biggest advantage versus the competition: huge numbers of apps that could easily be ported.

Microsoft’s reasoning is that the existing Windows software deployment model is broken so badly that it cannot be fixed:

If we enabled the broad porting of existing code we would fail to deliver on our commitment to longer battery life, predictable performance, and especially a reliable experience over time. The conventions used by today’s Windows apps do not necessarily provide this, whether it is background processes, polling loops, timers, system hooks, startup programs, registry changes, kernel mode code, admin rights, unsigned drivers, add-ins, or a host of other common techniques. By avoiding these constructs, WOA can deliver on a new level of customer satisfaction: your WOA PC will continue to perform well over time as apps are isolated from the system and each other, and you will remain in control of what additional software is running on your behalf, all while letting the capabilities of diverse hardware shine through.

says Sinofsky. It is a view that has merit, particularly when you consider how badly Windows has been damaged by poor quality OEM software.

Note that he is even promising an end to Windows “cruft”, as memorably described by Verity Stob in State of Decay:

Cruft Force 7. Wounded. Description: No longer able to logon using original account as the system freezes, so must logon as "Verity2" or similar

and the like. “Your WOA PC will continue to perform well over time,” Sinofsky promises.

Another reason to like this approach is that the Windows Runtime (WinRT), the platform for which third-parties are allowed to develop, is in my view a great piece of work. The WinRT apps in the Windows 8 Developer Preview perform well, even though they are simple things put together quickly, many of them by students as I recall. The insistence on asynchronous calls for any system API that might be slow to return should ensure responsive applications.

At the BUILD conference last September we were told that the Windows team sat down to create a new platform that avoids the mistakes of the past and while it introduce frustrations of its own, some of which we know about and some of which developers will discover, it does appear to be well thought-through.

Microsoft Office itself is not the best performing of software, particularly Outlook which is prone to long hangs. Fortunately, Outlook is missing from the version of Office 15 which will ship for WOA, and journalist Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports positively on a recent glimpse at the software.

The big risk

A sure-fire success then? No, because the downside of WOA is that right now there are no apps for it, beyond what we have seen in the developer preview. It is a brand new platform; and the history of personal computing is littered with good products that failed because they could not achieve sufficient momentum.

I am just back from RIM’s BlackBerry conference in Amsterdam, impressed by what I have seen of the PlayBook and forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform and its tools for developers, but thinking, is this enough to persuade a customer to buy a BlackBerry tablet instead of the safe choices of Apple iOS or Google Android?

Microsoft has the market presence to make this work, you may think; but the Windows Phone 7 story so far shows that this is not enough. The new phone OS has only a tiny market share after a year, and if it recovers, it will be more to do with Nokia than with Microsoft.

WOA also has interesting competition in the form of Windows 8 on x86, which will also have WinRT, but without the restrictions on desktop apps. If partners focus on Intel Windows 8, as the “full” version, it could be hard for WOA to find its market.

There are problems with Windows 8 on x86 too. Most of existing Windows apps will need a keyboard and mouse to work properly, and expect to find large amounts of storage, not the 16 or 32 GB in a typical tablet. Windows 8 Intel devices may end up like the Samsung tablet given to attendees at BUILD: powerful, but heavy, expensive, with short battery life, and complete with the clutter of a separate keyboard. Such devices have their place, but they are not an answer to the iPad.

It is WOA, not Windows 8 x86, that has to win market share from Apple.

Microsoft is choosing to do WOA right, rather than opening it up to the kinds of problems which have afflicted Windows in the past. That does makes sense, because it is those problems which have made users gladly move away from Windows now that compelling alternatives are available.

I also believe that OS vendors work too hard to pump up the app numbers, and not hard enough to ensure quality, resulting in app stores full of poor to indifferent apps. This is why schemes like the BlackBerry effort mentioned above do as much harm as good, enticing developers to submit rubbish in order to win a new gadget. An app store with 10 great apps is better for users than one with a thousand poor ones.

It is nevertheless true that apps make or break a platform. BUILD attendees and those who have downloaded the Windows 8 developer preview have had the tools to make WinRT apps for a few months now, but my impression is that most are waiting to see how it progresses before investing seriously in WinRT development. Another problem is that Windows 8 developer preview works nicely on a real tablet, but not so well in a virtual machine or on a PC without a touch screen.

I still think WOA may work.

  • If Microsoft does a good job with WOA Office, giving it an unique selling point against the competition.
  • If the WOA devices are competitively priced.
  • If the battery life is good.
  • If there are at least a handful of truly worthwhile third-party apps at launch.
  • If there is not some obvious problem with stability, or an annoyance that spoils the experience, like the one I found on the PlayBook when the virtual keyboard failed to pop up when trying to author a tweet in the web browser.

That is a lot of ifs though, and the progress of WOA will be a fascinating tech story throughout 2012.

Windows on ARM: Microsoft can write Desktop apps, but you cannot

Microsoft’s Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has written a long post describing Windows on ARM (WOA), which he says is a:

new member of the Windows family, much like Windows Server, Windows Embedded, or Windows Phone

There are many point of interest in the post, but the one which stands out for me is that while the traditional Windows desktop exists in WOA, third party applications will not be allowed there:

Developers with existing code, whether in C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, or JavaScript, are free to incorporate that code into their apps, so long as it targets the WinRT API set for Windows services. The Windows Store can carry, distribute, and service both the ARM and x86/64 implementations of apps (should there be native code in the app requiring two distributions).

says Sinofsky. He writes with extreme care on this issue, since the position for which he argues is finely nuanced. Why have the Windows desktop on WOA at all?

Some have suggested we might remove the desktop from WOA in an effort to be pure, to break from the past, or to be more simplistic or expeditious in our approach. To us, giving up something useful that has little cost to customers was a compromise that we didn’t want to see in the evolution of PCs

he says, while also saying:

WOA (as with Windows 8 ) is designed so that customers focused on Metro style apps don’t need to spend time in the desktop.

From a developer perspective, the desktop is more than just a different Windows shell. Apps that run on the Windows Runtime (WinRT) are isolated from each other and can call only a limited set of “safe” Windows APIs, protecting users from malware and instability, but also constraining their capabilities. The desktop by contrast is the old Windows, an open operating system. On Windows 8 Intel, most things that run on Windows 7 today will still work. On WOA though, even recompilation to target the ARM architecture will not help you, since Microsoft will not let desktops apps install:

Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.

What if you really want to use WOA, but have some essential desktop application without which you cannot do your work, and which cannot quickly and easily be ported to WinRT? Microsoft’s answer is that you must use Windows on Intel.

That said, Microsoft itself has this problem in the form of Office, its productivity suite. Microsoft’s answer to itself is to run it on the desktop:

Within the Windows desktop, WOA includes desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, codenamed “Office 15”.

No Outlook, which I take to imply that a new WinRT-based Exchange client and PIM (Personal Information Manager) is on the way – a good thing.

Microsoft’s aim is to give customers the security and stability of a locked-down machine, while still offering a full version of Office. If you think of this as something like an Apple iPad but with no-compromise document editing and creation, then it sounds compelling.

At the same time, some users may be annoyed that the solution Microsoft has adopted for its legacy desktop application suite is not also available to them.

The caveat: it is not clear in Sinofsky’s post whether there may be some exceptions, for example for corporate deployments, or for hardware vendors or mobile operators. It will also be intriguing to see how Office 15 on ARM handles extensibility, for example with Office add-ins or Visual Basic macros. I suspect they will not be supported, but if they are, then that would be a route to a kind of desktop programming on WOA.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft locks down Explorer, which Sinofksy says is present:

You can use Windows Explorer, for example, to connect to external storage devices, transfer and manage files from a network share, or use multiple displays, and do all of this with or without an attached keyboard and mouse—your choice.

By the way, this is a picture of the Windows ARM desktop as it looked at the BUILD conference last September. The SoC (System on a Chip) on this machine is from NVIDIA.

WebKit dominance threatens mobile web standards – but who will care?

Daniel Glazman, co-chairman of the W3C CSS working group, has written a strongly-worded post describing how the “over-dominance” of the WebKit rendering engine threatens web standards.

Everyone loves the open source WebKit, so how is this so? The issue is a complex one. Those who make web browsers do not want to be tied only to those standards already ratified by the W3C as part of HTML or CSS. Therefore, they add features, sometimes in the hope that they will become standards, but use a vendor-specific prefix such as -webkit-,-moz- or -ms-. If you use those features in your markup, you do so in the awareness that they will only work on that specific vendor’s browser. The idea is that the best vendor-specific extensions become standard, in which case the prefix is dropped; or are replaced by an equivalent standard, in which case the prefix is also dropped. This has become an accepted part of the way standards are formed.

The issue now is that WebKit dominates the mobile web to the extent that web authors can assume its use without losing many users. WebKit is used in Apple iOS, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry 6 and higher, as well as on the desktop in Apple Safari and Google Chrome. Amazon also uses WebKit in the Kindle and of course the Android-based Kindle Fire.

The consequence, says Glazman, is that:

technically, the mobile Web is full of works-only-in-WebKit web sites while other browsers and their users are crying.

The further consequence, and this is Glazman’s strongest point, is that other browsers will have to pretend to be WebKit and support its extensions in order to give users a good experience – even if they have their own vendor-specific extensions that support the same features:

All browser vendors let us officially know it WILL happen, and rather sooner than later because they have, I quote, "no other option".

Glazman says “all browser vendors” which suggests that even Microsoft will do this, though that would be a surprising development.

This would mean that the -webkit- vendor-specific extensions were no longer vendor-specific. It would also meant that WebKit is in effect able to create web standards without the bother of going through the W3C:

It will turn a market share into a de facto standard, a single implementation into a world-wide monopoly. Again. It will kill our standardization process. That’s not a question of if, that’s a question of when.

says Glazman, suggesting that there is a risk of a return to the bad days when the dominance Microsoft’s IE6 prevented standards from evolving.

The parallel with IE6 is weak. IE6 was not an open source project, and the damage it did was in part because Microsoft deliberately chose not to invest in advancing HTML, preferring to drive users towards rich internet-connected Windows applications. It is difficult to see how that can happen to WebKit.

Nevertheless, the situation with WebKit is making it difficult for other mobile browsers to compete and does undermine the standards process. This is not really the fault of the WebKit team, though the W3C would like to see support for obsolete vendor-specific extensions dropped more quickly to discourage their use. Rather, it is a consequence of web authors seeing little value in adding support for other browsers that have little actual use on the mobile web.

It is worth observing that Glazman is a Mozilla guy, and his company Disruptive Innovations makes Mozilla extensions.

How can this be resolved? Glazman and others are right to raise awareness of the issue, but I doubt that many outside the standards community or browser vendors themselves will see this as a major problem.

The best fix would be for non-WebKit browsers to become more popular on the mobile web. Growing use of Windows Phone, for example, would give web authors more incentive to fix their markup. Another route to improving standards is via tools which do the right thing. Adobe’s strong support for CSS in Dreamweaver, for example, gave a significant boost to its use and helped to rescue us from font tags and the like.

Finally, it seems to me that the distinction between the “mobile” web and the “full” web is blurring, and rightly so. Users on mobile devices often tap the “full site” link where available since they have big enough screens to benefit. WebKit does not yet dominate the desktop Web. 

On BlackBerry 10, Cascades UI and Adobe AIR

I spoke to Jeff Lejeune, RIM’s Advanced User Interface Director, here at BlackBerry DevCon Europe in Amsterdam.

He is part of the team responsible for the Cascades UI, a native code UI framework for the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 OS. One of the things he told me is that the Cascades name is actually being used for parts of the API beyond the user interface. It is a major part of the new operating system.

I had not appreciated until today the extent of the likely difference between BlackBerry 10 and the current Tablet OS 1.0 or Playbook OS 2.0. Since the PlayBook OS is already based on QNX, I had assumed that BlackBerry 10 would be an incremental update rather than a radical new direction.

Certainly there is less difference between PlayBook OS 2.0 and BlackBerry 10 then there is between BlackBerry 7.0 and the PlayBook OS, so my assumption was not completely wrong. That said, the introduction of the Cascades UI acquired with The Astonishing Tribe is a major change. Lejune told me that Cascades UI will be in effect the native UI of BlackBerry 10, and the built-in apps will use it.

The first version of the PlayBook uses both native code and Adobe AIR for its built-in apps.

RIM has given full backing to Adobe AIR at this event, presenting it as one of the supported development platforms and saying that it will support AIR for as long as Adobe does and maybe even longer. Even so, it would be fair to say that RIM is moving away from AIR and towards native code and Cascades UI in BlackBerry 10.

Further, Adobe itself has changed direction since the launch of the PlayBook last year. Adobe has made it clear that while Flash, Flex and AIR are still important, its strategic direction is HTML 5 when it comes to development platforms. Some aspects of Flex, the code-based approach to AIR authoring, are being wound down, including the visual designer in Flash Builder.

My sense therefore is that AIR is not the best choice if you are considering how to develop for BlackBerry 10 – and BlackBerry 10 is the future of RIM’s platform. The primary choice should be between Cascades UI, for best performance and integration, or WebWorks (PhoneGap), for development in HTML and JavaScript and cross-platform code.

What is in BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: new universal inbox and remote control

Here at BlackBerry Devcon Europe attendees were shown the key features of PlayBook 2.0, an update for the RIM tablet that will run on the existing hardware.

Aside from new runtimes for developers and some usability tweaks, the main changes users will notice are a new universal inbox and PIM (Personal Information Manager), and deeper integration between the PlayBook and BlackBerry smartphones.

The PlayBook 2.0 PIM offers a single inbox for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as well as email.


The PIM includes an embedded web browser so that you can view HTML messages without leaving the application.

The application also covers calendar and contacts.


If you look in detail at a meeting, you can see the other attendees, presuming that the information is available.


One of the aims is to aggregate information drawn from social networks and from the internet. It is a compelling idea, and one that Microsoft has also used. For example, when you view an email the Outlook Social Connector automatically looks up status messages from FaceBook and LinkedIn from the author. Windows Phone also aggregates information from multiple social networks in its People hub.

RIM talked about adding web information. We were given the example of getting an email from someone and viewing recent press releases from their company within the PlayBook 2.0 PIM. If this is well implemented, it does make sense, giving you useful background without the need of a manual web search. A contact record is no longer just name, address and company, but a portal into that person’s story and current activity.

The other big new feature in PlayBook 2.0 is remote control. You can use your BlackBerry SmartPhone as a controller and input device for the PlayBook.

What is the point of this? A good question, to which the most obvious answer is that you can use the physical keypad on a BlackBerry to type on the PlayBook. This drew applause when demonstrated.

I asked for other use cases on Twitter. The main other suggestion was using a BlackBerry as a remote when your PlayBook is plugged into a screen as a media player or presenter.

The concept goes beyond this though. Here is new CEO Thorsten Heins speaking in the keynote:

Just take this idea a step further. Think about BlackBerry 10 being a platform, for mobile computing, for smartphones, so it really shows the deep integration of the BlackBerry platform. Think about having your PlayBook somewhere on your desk at your home, and you can control everything just from your BlackBerry, I think that is fantastic

Incidentally, RIM’s operating system naming is confusing. This is how it goes. BlackBerry OS up to and including 7.0 is the old smartphone OS that is being phased out. The new OS is based on QNX and first seen in the PlayBook, which runs Tablet OS 1.0. Version 2.0 of this OS, due out later this month with the features mentioned above, is called PlayBook OS 2.0.

BlackBerry 10 is the next iteration of this QNX-based OS and will run on SmartPhones as well as on the PlayBook. BlackBerry 10 is expected later in 2012, probably towards the end of the year.

RIM’s future depends on wide acceptance of BlackBerry 10. The uncomfortable question: how many mobile operating systems can succeed? It seems that Apple iOS and Google Android are well established, but the future prospects of new entrants such as BlackBerry 10 and Windows 8 is open to speculation.

Update: I visited the exhibition here and spent some time hands-on with the version of the PIM that is installed on the PlayBook devices. It is disappointing, though bear in mind that it is not, I was told, the final version (though if the final version is coming this month you would have thought it is not far off).

Some key points:

  • The embedded HTML rendering in the email client is just for the message itself. If you tap a link, it takes you into the separate web browser app.
  • In order to get social network status updates from the author of an email message, you have to be logged into that social network and the author must already be one of your “friends”, or so I was told. I hope this is incorrect, as it seems largely to defeat the purpose of this kind of integration. Outlook’s social connector retrieves status updates from anyone irrespective of whether you are logged into that network or have them on your friends list.
  • I asked about SharePoint integration and received the vaguest of answers. A SharePoint app is in preparation but there is no word on when it might appear, and it may be dependent on some sort of Microsoft input.
  • There is no official cloud storage service from RIM. You can use third-party services like Dropbox. Enterprises are expected to use internal file shares, via VPN if necessary.

It seems to me that RIM is in danger of missing an important market for PlayBook here. Many RIM customers use Microsoft’s platform because of the link with Exchange. A tablet with excellent support for SharePoint and Office 365 would have obvious value, and Microsoft can be expected to tap into this with Windows 8. BlackBerry could get there first with PlayBook but it looks like this will not be the case.

Cross-platform Windows and Mac lifts Delphi sales by 54%

Embarcadero has announced 54% growth in sales of Delphi and C++ Builder, its rapid application development tools, in 2011 vs 2010. These tools primarily target Windows, but in the 2011 XE2 edition also support Mac and iOS applications. XE2 also added a 64-bit compiler, making this the most significant Delphi release for years. The company says that the 2011 figures come on top of 15% year on year growth in the previous three years.

This is encouraging for Delphi developers, and well deserved in that Delphi still offers the most productive environment for native code development on Windows. The cross platform aspect is also interesting, though the FireMonkey framework which enables it is less mature than the old VCL, and there are many other options out there for cross-platform apps. FireMonkey does not yet support Android or other mobile platforms apart from Apple iOS.

2012 is also the year of Windows 8, raising the question of whether Delphi and C++ Builder will support the new Windows Runtime (WinRT) in future, and if it does, whether this will be FireMonkey only, or whether it could work with a XAML-defined user interface.