What is the Internet Express

By: Charles Calvert

Abstract: The Internet Express allows you to easily create XML based web server applications in Delphi.

What is the Internet Express?

The Internet Express allows you to easily create web server applications. In particular, it has a number of high level components and wizards that allow you to create complex HTML forms. You can preview and tweak these forms at design time from inside the Delphi IDE.

A typical Internet Express application consists of a CGI or ISAPI/NSAPI server talking to a DCOM or TCP/IP based MIDAS server. The MIDAS server takes the data from a database, parses it, and wraps it up in XML. The web server application then passes that XML onto the web server and hence to the client. MIDAS servers are included in the equation because of their ability to generate XML.

Internet Express turns the process of creating CGI and ISAPI/NSAPI files into a relatively simple point and click process. Using it, you can quickly and easily create HTML forms that allow users to browse database tables, as well as insert and delete records. As a bonus, you can click the mouse a few more times to add special features such as lookup fields.

A special Web Page Editor allows you to easily create tables, field views and grid views. You can also point and click to create navigators that let you iterate over your data.

The features you used in the older Delphi WebBroker technology are still available if you want them. However, Internet Express is easier to use. To learn about the older WebBroker technology as it is used in C++Builder, you can read this article: https://www.borland.com/techvoyage/articles/BCB4Web/BCB4Web.html.

The text of this article (the one you are currently reading) will explain all you need to know about building web server applications. However, I will only briefly discuss MIDAS. For more information on MIDAS, see these articles:

  • https://www.borland.com/midas/papers/technical/
  • https://www.borland.com/delphi/books/del4unleashed/mtstransact/
  • https://www.borland.com/codecentral/midas/1999/constraints/

One additional feature of Delphi 5 ought to be mentioned before I close this section of the paper. Delphi allows you to use the new TWebConnection component to build a standard Delphi executable client that can talk to an Internet Express server. In other words, you can display the output from an Internet Express server either in an HTML browser, or else in a standard Delphi client. The standard Delphi client feels and acts much like a Delphi Midas client. The difference is that the client talks to the server using HTTP, rather than DCOM, CORBA or TCP/IP. HTTP is a great transport to use, in part because it jumps over most firewalls.


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