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By: John Kaster
Abstract: InternetExpress Transcript from live chat Oct. 28th.
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Please note: Some of the text for this chat has been edited for clarity.
Welcome to today's moderated chat on InternetExpress! Your moderator for today's event is John Kaster of Developer Relations. Present at today's Delphi chat are: Jim Tierney - Delphi R&D Engineer Kurt Hansen - Architect You may now begin to ask questions of the speaker(s) using /ask from your chat command line.
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Please join us for future Delphi Team chats. The schedule of upcoming Live Delphi Chats can be found at https://community.borland.com/article/1,1410,10208,00.html. Hope to see you here again!
Before we start with the chat, our lawyers ask us to post the following message: "Forward-looking statements, if any, made during this online discussion, including, but not limited to those concerning Inprise's future financial performance, product availability dates, and the potential features of or benefits to be derived from the company's products, will involve a number of uncertainties and risks, and actual events or results may differ materially. "Factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially include, among others, the following: difficulties in integrating the operations and technology of Visigenic Software or other companies or technologies which the company may acquire, possible disruptive effects of organizational or personnel changes, shifts in customer demand, market acceptance of the companys new or enhanced products, delays in scheduled product availability dates, actions or announcements by competitors, software errors, general business conditions, and market growth rates in the client/server and Internet software markets, and other factors described in the companys S.E.C. reports on forms 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K, and the Inprise. . ."
Are any third parties developing additional components to use with Internet Express?
I'm working on an article regarding the architecture of the web components and how easy it is to develop custom components, and I know some people outside of Borland are working on some, but it's not my place to announce their work. Jim Tierney's demos under the Delphi5/demos/Midas /InternetExpress directory contain many custom components that you can use as examples.
What licensing will I require to use Internet Express and Midas
InternetExpress uses MIDAS, so it uses MIDAS' licensing requirements. The XML Datapacket InternetExpress uses is provided by MIDAS and resolved by MIDAS. The XML datapacket is a MIDAS datapacket, so if it crosses machine boundaries, a license is required. Also, if you don't have a server implementation that limits the number of users, you would need to buy a MIDAS unlimited server license, which has been reduced in price to $2500 instead of $5000 (MIDAS 2 pricing).
Is Internet Express tightly bound to use of Midas? Is it possible to use other transport mechanism?
Internet Express is using the 'Midas datapacket' concept to exchange data with a Midas server. The transport protocol is independent of this.
Can I use Internet Express without MIDAS?
No. Internet Express depends upon MIDAS to generate and interpret XML data and delta packets. The XML data embedded into an Internet Express HTML page is a MIDAS data packet. The XML posted in an HTTP request when the Apply Updates button is a MIDAS delta packet.
How can I learn to create an InternetExpress app. What examples are there for help. Is it easy?
See https://community.borland.com, under the Delphi/Web Technologies directory for several articles by Charlie Calvert and myself. Also, check the demos/midas/internetexpress directory.
Do we need a license while we are testing the technology?
During testing you do not need a license.
A development license for MIDAS and InternetExpress is included with Delphi 5 Enterprise.
Briefly, what does Internet Express do?
Is it possible to display column data without using an html edit control, and if so how would I do it?
You can make it a readonly column, which will make it inaccessible. It is still displayed in an input control though. We are working on a solution!
Who should I contact regarding buying licenses?
Your local sales office. We should also have it on https://shop.borland.com soon.
How do you modify the code that the TMidasPageProducer creates? (i.e. NetObjects Fusion, or FrontPage). How can you use a template from an already designed HTML page with Page Producer?
What is the pricing for Midas 3
$2500 for an unlimited user license, $100 for named users (much cheaper than MIDAS 2).
Will BCB5 also have InternetExpress? What about a JBuilder Server (or Client) later on?
Of course. As we've shown at the conference, we are working on JBuilder-based servers for MIDAS as well.
What is the main purpose of InternetExpress and are there any tools thet can help as to convert our existing forms to Web?
Already answered the first part. As for tools for converting existing HTML, we don't have any. Sounds problematic to me, because HTML apps are implemented so many different ways. Going back to the original data is easier.
is it required to deploy the dbclient.dll for using internetexpress?
What does DataIslands mean? Is this available in IE 5?
This is an option to optimize for IE5 native support of XML. In this case the server will detect the browser type , and send out a slightly different HTML-page to make use of XML-islands.
Which version of Delphi is the trial version on www.borland.com? Is MIDAS and Internet Express included in this version?
The trial version is Delphi 5 Enterprise, which includes MIDAS and InternetExpress development.
is there an easy way of breaking large datasets into XML packets instead of recieving the whole dataset in one xml pkt ?
This is currently not supported by the shipping components. There has been some discussion of this issue in borland.public.midas.
Do you have any case studies of companies using Midas?
Yes. Please see our web site for Delphi and MIDAS case studies at https://www.borland.com/delphi
Can you give us any specific web links to sites or page that make heavy use of content produced by InternetExpress?
CodeCentral uses InternetExpress, and we will have some additional examples on the web site soon. Since Delphi 5 was just released a little over a month ago, I don't think there are many people yet deploying their InternetExpress applications. The traffic in the borland.public.midas newsgroup indicates a lot of people are developing with it.
Can business logic inside a Midas server be exposed to an Internet Express application
Certain properties are propagated to the browser at runtime, for runtime validation. Min/max values, datatypes, read-only, etc. So these can be changed on the server without the need to change anything else.
is there a lag on the server? The chat seems slower than normal.
Our speakers are typing as fast as they can, but these are good questions and they want to give you good answers to them. ;-)
what about an InternetExpress without MIDAS (I.e. connected to local tables on the web server)?
You can have a provider within the Web application, so you don't HAVE to have a MIDAS server, but MIDAS is still producing the datapacket.
On the issue of browsers, I see reference to IE and Netscape, has any others been used for testing? Opera for one?
what is the difference between InternetExpress and the VCL Internet Components ?
The InternetExpress components (TMidasPageProducer, TXMLBroker) are used to generate pages containing forms and grids for viewing and editing a set of records. The Internet tab has all of the other Internet components. For example, TDataSetProducer is used to generate a non-editable page. An application could use components from both palette pages to generate different types of HTML pages.
Is it very hard to create an app that would do typical web stuff ie. ftp, chat, etc. without having to incur the Midas licensing?
Most of the things you're talking about here would not be aided by using MIDAS. They would use other Internet VCL components instead. WebBroker also is very powerful, and it's now included in Delphi 5 Pro.
Do you plan to release InternetExpress updates separate to any Delphi updates
Yes, we'll have informal updates posted on CodeCentral. All supported updates will be officially released, probably through a Delphi or C++ Builder update (if needed).
Along the lines of KISS (keep it simple), why would I choose XML rather than HTML which is more of a standard and as far I can tell can handle most typical businesses' needs?
Our support provides interface options that are simply not available in HTML, like being able to scroll through multiple rows in a dataset while only displaying 5 at a time, or clicking on a customer (in a grid) and seeing only that customer's orders appear in the order grid.
About DataIslands: Whether the Server automatically detects this option, why I need to set this property ?
Normally you can leave it on. We have it as an option because there might be differences in the DOM-implementations. We haven't found any yet. In this case it can be turned off.
I'm happy with HRef webHub VCL: please, give me one strong (techincal) reason to prefer InternetExpress
First, WebHub is a fine tool, so this is a rather loaded question. We're allowing people to view and edit sets of data and do client-side data validation, which HTML doesn't support.
How do you plan to go about 255 controls per page browser limitation?
Sounds like a browser problem to me. :-) We're not planning on writing a browser right now (that I know about).
How is streaming of BLOBS and large datasets handled?
Will anyone from Inprise (Borland) be at XML One in November? (I'll do session on D5 InternetExpress)
Andreas Vogel will also be presenting. Did you want to get together with some people from Inprise? Kurt and Jim and I are all thinking of going, too.
Will there be additional docs/examples to write custom MidasPageProducer (Web Editor) components?
Does the XML broker contain a 'full' implementation of TClientDataset, can we bypass InetExp controls and design a normal form to interact with it?
TXMLBroker is quite different from TClientDataSet. It doesn't cache the data packet. One of the primary purposes of TXMLBroker is to pass the correct flags to the provider so that the data packet will be retrieved as XML. Note that Delphi 5 MIDAS providers can produce and resolve XML data packets in addition to binary data packets. TXMLBroker retrieves XML by passing the correct flags to the provider.
If I had a column with a date datatype, Is it possible to perform server side customization of the displayed results?
Currently it uses the client-browsers preferred format. The date is always transmitted in ISO8601 format.
We will no longer be accepting new questions for the speaker(s). We will continue to answer the questions that have already been accepted.
Has Borland considered putting together a demo site that would demonstrate a full-blown InternetExpress application as a way to demonstrate the value of the XML approach to non-programmer types (those who make decisions about purchasing Delphi5 Enterp
Yes, it's being worked on (this is in addition to CodeCentral's use of it, which is very rudimentary.) We will announce it on the community web site and the midas newsgroup when it's available. Probably send out a TechAlert as well, so if you're not subscribed to our TechAlerts, you may want to. We'll put it in Delphi Direct as well.
Of the many problems that web developers face today, which ones does InternetExpress help to simplify or optimize?
It helps you build all the 'plumbing' required for being able to update legacy-data from a web-browser, using dynamic data-display and validation. The presentation aspect can then be modified and finetuned independently. It also leverages the Midas multi-tier architecture (business logic defined on the middle tier) , with its proven scalability benefits.
Current licensing is on a per server basis, are there any plans to offer a per site licensing for unlimited Servers?
Current licensing is per server machine, which can be up to 4 CPUs. You can have as many MIDAS servers as you want on that machine. For other licensing options, talk to local sales. They have done site licenses in the past.
Are the authors of InternetExpress the same people who wrote WebBroker? Will WebBroker development continue, or be "routed" towards InternetExpress from now on??
The WebBroker features first available in Delphi 3.0 were implemented by the same team. InternetExpress is really an addition to WebBroker. We will continue to enhance WebBroker (which includes InternetExpress). Definitely.
Its possible to call Store Procedures from the client?
You would have to create something to make the call. You may want to put the stored procedure on the MIDAS server, or the web broker, then call it by using a URL.
What is the future direction of Internet Express development? Will Internet Express available in Java edition?
To make it a more general web-development tool, using new technologies such as XSL. We are working on the core-technolgies in java ,yes.
Why are the Web Editor components not visible in a separate (local) palette inside the Web Editor? The dialog lacks overview... (IMHO)
We're looking at improving the design of that web editor, but we haven't gotten there yet. One problem will be coming up with all the different icons for all the components. :-)
Let's say I've got an XML document (and its DTD) from somewhere; if I only need to load, parse, change & save it, locally, which VCL components could help me ?
Other than support in through ADO and MIDAS, XML support in VCL components is available on the Companion CD and on an open source web site for Delphi http://www.pbe.com/sourceworks/XMLWorks/. That's all that's available so far, but others are also being worked on.
Not at the moment.
There are still a few more questions we'll be answering for you all.
I assume that what you would like to do is use HTTP to transport XML data and delta packets to your active form(?). I haven't tried this but seems possible. You would use an HTTP component (such as TNMHTTP) to transmit XML data and delta packets between a web application and a clientdataset in the ActiveForm. You would use TXMLBroker to implement a webbroker-based web application that provides and resolves XML.
what is the amount of logic that we could put into the Web Client with IExpress? what we couldn't do
Dynamic data-display with navigation and insert,delete,modify and undo, and dynamic synchronization of details. Data-validation according to the properties set on the server. Data-display options, such as number of decimals, unit prefixes such as '$' or 'Kg'. Dynamic sorting of datacolumns.
is it possible to communicate bidirectional between the client and server (event service)?
You can do this with MIDAS clients using some of the transports like TCP/IP and DCOM, but HTTP is an asynchronous protocol, so it has limitations for what it can do. All InternetExpress applications do is get and apply MIDAS datasets. Currently you can't add custom calls to the MIDAS server. If you follow up to the MIDAS newsgroup, perhaps we can get an idea of what you're looking for.
Are there any plans to add a scriptable PageProducer that would produce content using VBScript, JScript, (DelphiScript)?
Thank you for joining us today! The auditorium will be unhushed shortly so that you can resume general chat. Please join us for future Delphi Team chats. The schedule of upcoming Live Delphi Chats can be found at http://community.borland.com/article/1,1410,10208,00.html. Hope to see you here again!
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