With the release of Embarcadero Technologies' RAD Studio XE7 code editor, C++ and Delphi application developers can maintain a single code base that covers multiple devices and form factors.
The newly updated RAD Studio also offers assistance in other ways, by offering a way to build Bluetooth tethering into desktop applications, and by offering a new library to aid in parallel computing operations that run across multiple processors at once.
RAD Studio is Embarcadero's flagship integrated development environment (IDE), initially aimed to help programmers write applications for laptops and desktop computers running either Microsoft Windows or Apple's Mac OS. Recent releases have broadened this focus to include mobile devices as well.
With this release, Embarcadero tackles the problem of writing one application for multiple interfaces, be they for mobile or desktop devices.
Thanks to the pervasiveness of Facebook and other social media services, users expect to access applications from both their smartphones as well as from their computers, and have many of the application's features work in identical ways across these different platforms.
Writing for this plethora of platforms can be time-consuming for development teams, which must develop a slightly different interface and unique stylized look-and-feel for each type of device.
The new RAD Studio XE7 could simplify this process through a new feature called FireUI.
Using FireUI, the developer creates a master copy of the program that then can be modified by templates, which Embarcadero calls "views," and customized for each targeted platform.
The RAD Studio XE7 package includes predefined views for Microsoft's Windows desktops and Surface Pro tablets, for Apple's Mac desktop and iOS devices, and for Google's Android and Google Glass.
In addition, menus and other visual components composed within FireUI can automatically adjust themselves to the form factor, orientation, size and other interface requirements of the device running the application.
The new edition software should help Windows developers extend their applications to mobile platforms, noted Al Hilwa, who is IDC's program director of software development research, in a statement.
Embarcadero is not the only development software company that is updating its tools for unifying multiplatform codebases. Xamarin offers a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio that covers Apple iOS and Android. Oracle offers a cross-development extension for its Application Development Framework as well. Embarcadero itself offers a new tool, called Appmethod, to unify iOS and Android codebases, though it does not extend to desktop applications.
Another new feature in RAD Studio XE7 is Bluetooth tethering, which should allow developers to connect their Windows applications to low-powered sensor devices such as watches.
RAD Studio XE7 supports both the Delphi and the C++ languages, and Delphi XE7 and C++Builder XE7 are both available separately for those who need support for only one language. Embarcadero offers a 30-day free trial of RAD XE7. The Delphi XE7 Professional edition starts at US$935.