Using Delphi 7 to target Delphi 8 IDE Open Tools Development

By: Allen Bauer

Abstract: Using the specially compiled IDE packages described in this article, a special version of the Delphi 7 IDE can be created to target Delphi 8 OTA development.

The previously released IDE integration packs were well received, however some of the feedback I got was "How do I debug my IDE add-in?" or "You mean I have to use the command-line compiler?" After some thought and a few minutes of research, coupled with the fact that every copy of "Delphi(tm) 8 for Microsoft(tm) .NET Framework" comes with the equivalent level (Pro, Ent, Arch) version of Delphi 7, it became clear what could be done to help you folks out. I could rebuild just a few Delphi 7 IDE packages that target the same Win32 compiler DLL we used internally for building the Delphi8 IDE itself. It came down to three IDE packages that were affected, coreide70.bpl, delphide70.bpl, and delphipro70.bpl. By using your existing installation of Delphi 7 as the starting point, you can take these updated packages, the compiler DLL (dcc71.dll), do a few registry tweaks, and voila! You now have a Delphi 7 IDE that can directly target and debug a Delphi 8 IDE OTA add-in!

So, now that I've gotten your attention, your next question is, "Where do I get this little gem?" Well, folks, it can be found here in the Code Central repository. You may also want to take a look at the read-me I've included with the files to get some idea of what is involved in creating your own Delphi 8 IDE integration environment. You can find that in my blog, http://homepages.borland.com/abauer.

Now comes the disclaimers and other warnings...

This is provided AS-IS, without any support whatsoever. This has not received any real testing aside from what I was able to do to make sure nothing was "brain-dead." You can only use this create Delphi packages that are designed to integrate into the Delphi 8 IDE using the Open Tools API. Since we do not include any .dcu files, aside from SysInit.dcu, you will be unable to create a stand-alone EXE file. In fact it is useless to even attempt this because you'd have to link this EXE with the run-time packages that are exclusively available with Delphi 8 and those packages are not licensed for redistribution. Do not try and use this compiler to link with any .dcu files built with the Delphi 7 version of the compiler as they will cause the compiler to fail in many weird and wonderful ways. Besides, what would be the point? Your official Delphi 7 compiler is just fine.

Enjoy!

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