Dear Idera, please Don’t Clutter Up our build process anymore

I was compiling a new branch at work today, which used a different version of Delphi than the one I had been working on, and along the way I ran into tons of spurious File Not Found errors from the compiler.  The file was, in fact, right there where it should have been able to find it easily, but it kept erroring out.  After speaking with another developer, I managed to track down what was really going wrong: for some reason, it was finding outdated DCUs from the old build and choking on it, giving an incorrect error.  After deleting the rogue DCUs, everything built smoothly. Continue reading ‘Dear Idera, please Don’t Clutter Up our build process anymore’ »

A new Industrial Revolution?

I’ve written before about the history of steel, how it’s been around for millennia, but was of limited use to civilization as a whole until the details of its manufacture were published.  It’s impossible to overstate what a pivotal moment in human history the publication of steel was: without abundant, cheep steel manufacturing, we would have never had the Industrial Revolution, the beginning of the modern age.

Since then, there’s only been one technology that’s rivaled steel in its revolutionary influence on the entirety of modern society: the transistor.  And again, the more abundantly and cheaply people have been able to manufacture them, the greater their value to society grows.  We even have a famous principle about the mathematics of it.

Well here’s the amazing thing: we might be right on the verge of it happening again. Continue reading ‘A new Industrial Revolution?’ »

What does the Google Code shutdown mean for other services?

My brother lives in Provo, Utah, one of the few cities in the country fortunate enough to have Google Fiber service.  And they are truly fortunate; he describes it as awesome and amazing, the kind of Internet service everyone should have.  But the thing is… it’s from Google.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Google.  But I’m starting to wonder how much I can trust them as, once again, they’ve demonstrated their shifting attitude towards engineering by announcing the shutdown of a highly useful service, Google Code. Continue reading ‘What does the Google Code shutdown mean for other services?’ »

Beware of Format Injection

So, first things first, I’ve moved on again.  And it was quite a move, all the way across the country to the Philadelphia area, home of the Liberty Bell, the cheesesteak, and the baseball team with possibly the least imaginative name in the history of professional sports.  (Original names don’t seem to be Pennsylvania’s strong suit. We’ve got a Pottstown, Pottsgrove and Pottsville all within about 30 miles of each other, for example.  On the other hand, there’s also this place, also nearby, so… yeah.)

I’m at Gateway Ticketing Systems now, the place where Nick Hodges was working when he made that “rock-star developer” video. (Which appears to no longer be available, unfortunately.)  It’s a nice place to work, even if they do use Mercurial. :( Continue reading ‘Beware of Format Injection’ »

Making people’s lives better… in 4 years.

I don’t think anyone can argue that technology makes many aspects of our lives simpler and more convenient, but it often brings complications with it as well, as we all know.  But every once in a while, something comes along that just unambiguously makes things better.  Stuff like the vaccine, electrical lights, and improved communications technology.

Add to that list just about any “convenience” gadget you can build into a car.  I’ve long maintained that everything from power windows to automatic transmission is, in fact, a safety feature: anything you can get a machine to do for you while you’re driving reduces the amount of distraction you suffer while performing the task, which by definition makes you a less distracted driver and thus a safer driver. Continue reading ‘Making people’s lives better… in 4 years.’ »

Programming and (human) languages

StackOverflow just announced that they’re opening up yet another foreign language version of SO, this one in Japanese.  They’ve already done this in Portuguese, and now it appears they’re continuing on the same path.  When people point out that the “convenience” that this provides would be counterproductive in the long run as it fragments the unified knowledge base that SO has worked for years to build, the standard response is that “learning English is difficult” and this makes it easier. Continue reading ‘Programming and (human) languages’ »

Introducing DFMJSON, the DFM parser and scriptable bulk editor

Yesterday at work, while tracking down a graphical glitch, I found that TPanel objects on many, many dialog boxes in our system (over 300 of them) had a certain property set incorrectly.  There are basically three ways to fix something like that: Continue reading ‘Introducing DFMJSON, the DFM parser and scriptable bulk editor’ »

First look at XE7

So XE7 came out today.  I downloaded it and installed it, curious about some of the stuff I’d heard. Continue reading ‘First look at XE7’ »

Dear everyone: Please stop using $IFDEF VERXXX

I just checked out the source to a new project.  Not going to name names because what I’m discussing is a pretty universal problem.  This project had dependencies on several common Delphi open-source libraries, and it had a well-designed DPROJ file that got all the paths right and everything.  I opened it in XE6 and went to build… and promptly tripped over some stupid compiler error involving ANSI vs Unicode chars… and by this point, anyone who’s ever done this probably knows exactly where this is going. Continue reading ‘Dear everyone: Please stop using $IFDEF VERXXX’ »

Finally some language-level improvements?

It would not be unfair to characterize the last few Delphi releases as All Mobile, All The Time.  And as cool as that is for mobile developers, those of us still working in VCL land have sort of felt like we’re getting the short end of the stick.  The last time anything significant was added to the core language itself was extended RTTI in Delphi 2010 (plus extended RTTI support for array properties XE2.)  So I have to admit, I was excited when my boss sent this Google+ post around to the developers this morning. Continue reading ‘Finally some language-level improvements?’ »