How to Design a Good UI?

One could write books on this subject (and people have done so). Of course what is good for one person may not be seen as such by someone else. This is particularly so when designing UIs to be used by people with little or no familiarity with the digital world.

One of the problems is that a good UI is also a moving target.

I used to advocate Windows applications as being easy to use if you just followed the simple rules:

1) Tell the computer what you “thing” you want to do something to, by selecting it (often a single click with the mouse or a click and drag).

2) Right click and pick what you want to do with the pop up menu.

This scheme used to work with all good Windows applications. Sadly this uniform approach has gone and users (particularly those in the “addicted to mobiles” category) seem to be happy with the chaotic “every application has it’s own way” approach.

Thinking and planning the basic approach to your UI design must be sensible. I find that David Millington’s three postings about this subject are a good succinct set of documents to read and consider before starting a new project.

David Millington’s Good UI Design – part 1

David Millington’s Good UI Design – part 2

David Millington’s Good UI Design – part 3

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Embarcadero RAD Studio – Code Rage 2018 is Coming

Behind Embarcadero’s first class products are a strong on-line community and a company keen to keep it’s customer base bang up to date with what’s going on. One way they achieve this is an annual on-line event, “Code Rage. This is a free series of presentations that cover a very wide range of programming aspects. It most definitely is NOT a series of sales or marketing talks!

It’s free to anyone and registration is simple and quick. Once registered there is no obligation to attend any o the on-line events, but when you see the line up, why wouldn’t you?

To register, head over to Embarcadero CodeRage 2018

Embarcadero RAD Studio Rio 10.3 is here!

Embarcadero have just announced the availability of RAD Studio Rio 10.3. The road map published this summer promised this before the end of the year so they have delivered on time.

 This release has many major new features and enhancements. I talk more about this release in future postings here, but in the meantime to see “what’s new” information have a look at this link.

What’s new in Rio 10.3

Delphi and Automatic Reference Counting

There is an ongoing debate about the advantage of using/not using an automatic reference counting approach to compiler memory management.

Embarcadero are not immune to this discussion and have recently hinted that they may be changing direction here with their Delphi compilers. This is a big step which will affect virtually everyone who uses Delphi so you can be sure that the designers at Embarcadero will have taken this decision after much discussion.

For a little more information have a look at this link.

Embarcadero blog about Delphi ARC

More good things about Embarcadero C++ and Delphi Community Edition.

I mentioned the release of the free version of the Embarcadero C++ or Delphi development environment back on 19th July 2018.

This version is free to most people who make litte or no money from s/w development. There are full details of the precise license restrictions at the download links at the bottom of this posting.

This has gone down very well with hobbyists and open source enthusiasts and also allows “start up” companies to get going with a professional s/w development IDE and only have to pay when they start to make some genuine income.

Since it’s release two other advantages have occured to me.

a) Customers who are worried about ongoing support their software that I have supplied, should my company suddenly collapse (or be taken over) can now get hold of a genuine copy of community edition and can prove to themselves that the source code package I am supplying can actually be compiled and linked by someone else. I’ve always known this but now they can check for themselves. [This only applies to customers who are not in the software development business of course, but this applies to all of my company’s customers (that’s why they use my company)].

b) Anyone applying for a job at my company can now be asked to get a copy of Community Edition and be asked to develop or debug code using their copy as part of our interveiw/selection process.

Community Edition is great: Here are the links, if you are new to Embarcadero products go get it now!

C++ Builder Community Edition

Delphi (object pascal) Community Edition

Embarcadero release updated product “road map”

Embarcadero continue to add innovative features to their RAD Studio (C++ Builder and Delphi) product. They have just released an updated product road map which shows their plans for the rest of 2018 and the start of 2019.

 The introduction of C++ 17 support and the improved support for high DPI screens are two of the many features mentioned.

 For full details of the road map go to

Road map (Aug 2018)

For convenience we reproduce a copy of the road map here:

EmbarcaderoRoadMapAug2018

Embarcadero release free C++ and Delphi IDE for students, home users and open source.

Embarcadero have anounced new editions of their C++ IDE and Delphi IDE. Known as “Community Edition” these are free licensed versions of the “Professional edition” for students, home users, open source developers and anyone who programs but does not generate an income. There are accurate details of the restrictions on use at the links below.

 This is a very positive move by Embarcadero. It makes it easy for anyone to experience first hand the quality of their products. It can’t help but increase the popularity of the Embarcadero C++ and Delphi programming environments.

 Here are the links, if you are new to Embarcadero products go get it now!

 C++ Community Edition

Delphi (object pascal) Community Edition

Exciting RAD Studio Developments in 2018

Embarcadero have announced some information about Release 3 of 10.2 Tokyo (i.e. 10.2.3). This release is targeted for the first quarter of 2018.

 For this release they have three key themes. First, to provide enhancements to the core visual frameworks, including better HighDPI support for VCL and quality improvements for FireMonkey (FMX). Second, they are continuing to improve the C++ capabilities, by including CMake command line support and C++ Rename Refactoring. Third, they are expanding RAD Server support for Ext JS.

 We will keep you posted about when this release becomes available.

Embarcadero C++ Version 2.2.2 is now available

Embarcadero have released their latest version of RAD Studio / C++ / Delphi this week – calling it Tokyo 2.2.2.

One of the new helpful improvements is the addition of a “dark theme” option in the IDE. Many professional developers will be grateful for the reduced eye strain using the IDE configured in this way affords.

 You can find a full list of the new features available at

 V2.2.2 Information about new features

You can download a copy of the starter edition (FOC) at

Embarcadero RAD Studio – Starter edition

 

Embarcadero FireDAC -10.2 Tokyo – Release 1

Embarcadero have recently released an updated to RAD Studio (C++ Builder/Delphi) called 10.2_Tokyo_-_Release_1

 What do you get in this update?

 * Delphi Linux server performance enhancements for both RAD Server and DataSnap.

* Delphi and C++ compiler and linker updates that resolve issues loading packages, especially when debugging, on Windows 10 Creators Update.

* Support for latest versions of iOS and Xcode (iOS 10.3 and XCode 8.3.2) when targeting the iOS App Store.

* FireDAC support for MSSQL 2012, 2014, 2016, and ODBC Driver 13.

* Significant C++ linker improvements pertaining to linking larger projects.

* Fixes and enhancements to the Runtime Library and VCL.

* Additional Android enhancements around control rendering and performance, and fixes for TEdit issues with Android N.

* FireDAC Support for InterBase 2017 Exclusive Isolation Level and Transaction Wait Time.

* Changes in DataSize for fields of type ftInteger and ftLongWord to avoid using the platform-dependent LongInt and LongWord type (the change affects only 64-bit Linux and 64-bit iOs platforms), and related changes for SetFieldData and GetFieldData

* Fixes for over 140 issues reported by customers in Quality Portal.

 You can get more information and the actual download links for the update at:

 Docwiki for 10.2 Release 1

So what are you waiting for? go get it !