Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Vaibhaw Pandey, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

Borland creates a RAD tool for the rest of us

Free version of Borland's Kylix may spur development of many new GPL applications

Borland's release of Kylix, the Delphi-esque rapid application development tool for Linux, was one of the most anticipated new products to hit the Linux world. The promise and allure of Kylix was that it would provide an easy transition for the millions of Borland Delphi programmers writing Windows applications to Linux. The only negative about Kylix was the pricing, which dropped recently.

Until the beginning of August, Kylix came in two versions. Kylix Server Developer, which includes the ability to write Web applications, costs a whopping $1,999. Kylix Desktop Developer, which now costs $199, is basically the same product without the Web development tools. Kylix Developer originally retailed for $999.

But now there is a third version, Kylix Open Edition. You can purchase it for $99, and get it on a CD with printed documentation. Or, you can download it for free. Well, you do have to register, but it's free as in beer. Borland's only caveat is all applications developed using Kylix Open Edition must be licensed under the GPL. The Open Edition does not have the pre-build database or Web application components of its higher-priced brethren, but otherwise it's their functional equivalent.

If you are writing in-house applications the GPL licensing requirement might be irrelevant. If you are writing applications that will be distributed, the GPL might be an issue. If you're uncertain, learn more about the GPL and its terms at the Free Software Foundation's Web site (see link below).

Borland sent me a review copy of Kylix Server Developer, and I downloaded a copy of the Open Edition. In a day or two, I had learned just enough to get in over my head and even become a little frustrated. The problems I had with Kylix were more about me than the product.

My experience doesn't match the intended audience. I'm accustomed to non-visual, procedural environments writing C on DOS, 4GL on SCO, COBOL and ALC on mainframes, or BASIC and MASM on PCs. Kylix is not like that. Kylix is based on Object Pascal, and it is a visual development environment. Further, except for some shell scripts, I hadn't written code for Linux. I probably represent the worst case among developers trying Kylix.

I secured a book on Kylix programming ("Kylix Power Solutions" by Don Taylor, Jim Mischel, and Tim Gentry) and dove in. I found the opening sections about the transition from writing for Windows to writing for Linux informative. The meat of the book, however, is aimed at the same group as Kylix itself: Delphi programmers, so it didn't meet my needs.

Simple application time

In spite of my handicaps, in a few days I managed to create a simple application using the Server Developer edition. I attempted to create a similar program using Open Edition. At the moment, however, I am stumped by a pesky compile error as I try to open an input text file. I call the application CRANAL 1.0, which is short for Code Red Analysis. It reads (or it will eventually, when I can open the log file) a standard Apache log file looking for page requests for "default.ida," the tell-tale signature of being probed by a Code Red infected box looking for new victims.

The user interface is simple. You choose the log file to be examined, select a starting date, and click on "Go." All Code Red activity for the week beginning on the date specified is displayed on a bar graph for each day.

Using Kylix's GUI RAD, I designed the form for a window to handle all the functionality described. Selecting the log file was a piece of cake. I used one of Kylix's pre-built dialogs for the task. To allow the user to pick a starting date, I created a second form for a modal window that appears when needed and disappears when completed. On the second form, I used three list boxes: one each for the month, day of the month, and year. I hate to have to shift back and forth from mouse to keyboard, so I made it pure click-and-go. Clicking an OK button closes the second window and takes you back to the first. For the bar graphs I used Kylix's progress bar component. Truly a piece of cake.

Once the forms had been designed, I turned to the tutorial in the Quick Start manual and followed along with it pretty much the way I had when I first played with Kylix. Of course I only used it as a guide for the pieces my little app required and ignored the rest. I didn't bother, for example, to put in a command menu or status bar.

To begin generating a little more code, I added an "Action List" object. It's basically a list of the procedures/routines/functions (in Pascal, they are called procedures) that will exist in the program associated with the form. After the list of actions is entered, double clicking on one of them will create a procedure skeleton for it. An editor opens in the source code file positioned between the "begin" and "end" for the procedure and you can start coding the procedure immediately.

Connecting the code in the procedures to events is as easy as selecting the event and the procedure name from the Object Inspector. Each element of the form is in fact an object of some kind, and all the properties for that object can be set via the Object Inspector: Color, font, size, or events. You name it, you can set it.

How Pascal is like COBOL

For the elementary level of code I was writing, I found the transition to Pascal to be an easy one. It's very much like other structured languages in flow of control and syntax. The assignment operator still looks funny to me, but I bet I don't confuse it with the equality operator as often as I did while learning C.

I felt a twinge of vindication when I found GOTO was a part of the language. Object Pascal uses GOTO exactly the way I argued it should be used in COBOL 20 years ago: The destination of the GOTO cannot cross a structured boundary. Deeply nested IF statements were an inescapable conclusion of structured purists demanding a complete ban on GOTOs. It's nice to see some good sense returning.

Is CRANAL 1.0 a trivial application? You bet. Stylishly coded? Not a bit. But the exercise allowed me to become familiar enough with the Kylix development environment to open and read text files, do some string manipulation, and present a graphic representation of results.

Software development on Kylix is both quick and fun. I predict Kylix Open Edition will result in thousands of new applications for Linux. I know there will be at least one, because when I get the bugs worked out of CRANAL 1.0, I'll make the source code available for the asking.

If you've had the urge to write some GPL'd code for Linux, but lacked the know-how to cope with X, Qt, or GTK, you lost your excuse. Kylix builds widgets quickly and easily, without getting widget grease under your fingernails.

More Stories By Joe Barr

Joe Barr is a freelance journalist covering Linux, open source and network security. His 'Version Control' column has been a regular feature of Linux.SYS-CON.com since its inception. As far as we know, he is the only living journalist whose works have appeared both in phrack, the legendary underground zine, and IBM Personal Systems Magazine.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...