FireMonkey FAQ

By: Tim DelChiaro

Abstract: Next generation business application platform

    What is FireMonkey?

FireMonkey is a native CPU and GPU powered application platform that makes it easy for developers to rapidly build visually engaging and data rich HD and 3D applications with blazing native performance on Windows, Mac and iOS.

    What’s behind the name FireMonkey?

2016 is the year of the FireMonkey in the Chinese calendar. FireMonkey brings with it extra energy and determination to reach far beyond your expectations. The FireMonkey is uniquely inventive and thinks out of the box.

We picked the name because our engineers have aimed high. They have done what many thought wasn’t possible with our next generation application platform.

And finally because we like the name. We think its fun. 

    What programming languages do I use to develop FireMonkey applications?

You can program in either “RAD” C++ or Delphi, two easy to learn component based object oriented languages that are used by millions of developers worldwide. You can choose “RAD” C++ to use existing C++ or C-like language skill or to reuse existing ANSI C++ code in FireMonkey applications. Or you can choose Delphi, an elegant and easy to learn object oriented language.

    How much does FireMonkey cost?

The FireMonkey platform itself doesn’t cost anything. There are no deployment fees or runtime fees. Applications built with the FireMonkey platform can be distributed royalty free. To build FireMonkey applications, you need Delphi XE2, C++Builder XE2 or RAD Studio XE2. You can click here to learn more about these products or download a trial.

    What is the difference between FireMonkey and RIA platforms like HTML5/CSS, Adobe Flash or Silverlight?

RIA platforms have rich free-form graphics, time based animation, and media capabilities that are well suited for web content, entertainment, and advertising. Because RIA applications are typically web embedded, they use scripting and VM engines to execute program code. This provides cross-platform browser compatibility, but comes with a performance trade off. RIA platforms being entertainment focused are not designed around the needs for business applications. Things like enterprise data and services connectivity, business UIs and graphics, and packaged and enterprise app distribution are not well served with RIA platforms.

FireMonkey is a native application platform, with many of the “Rich” capabilities of RIA platforms such as vector graphics, 3D, animation, effect, and cross-platform but FireMonkey is focused on the unique needs of business, ISV, and industrial use software. FireMonkey is fully CPU and GPU native, UI oriented, and provides powerful database and services connectivity.

    Is FireMonkey a gaming framework?

Not really. Unlike 3D frameworks such as Unity 3d, Unreal or Torque that specifically work on game development, FireMonkey is focused on the business or industry specific applications such as healthcare, automotive, aerospace and so on. But if you do wish to build a game with FireMonkey let us know, we’d love to play it!

    What platforms does FireMonkey support?

You can build FireMonkey applications on Windows and deploy to Windows and Mac OS X. You can also build and deploy your applications to iOS – iPad, iPhone, iPod touch.

    How fast are FireMonkey applications?

FireMonkey applications are 100% CPU and GPU native which means that your applications are executing directly in your hardware and not in software “engines”. Application code runs full throttle in the CPU and graphics are executed by your GPU hardware. This means your FireMonkey business applications will run with “hardware level” performance that you simply cannot get from RIA platforms, virtual machine runtimes or dynamic languages.

    Do FireMonkey apps require exotic hardware?

Not at all. FireMonkey is designed to run on any standard Intel based PC or Mac or ARM based iOS device such as iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. And FireMonkey GPU requirements are very modest, only requiring a DX9 level GPU also known as pixel shader level 2. In plain language, this means pretty much any display hardware shipped in the last 10 years.

    Are there any events which I can attend to learn about FireMonkey?

Yes. You can attend our World Tour event series that started on August 2, 2011. You can also contact your local sales representative for more information.

    How do I get more information or give my feedback?

You can join our forums on EDN, follow u on Twitter and Facebook, or reach out to our team directly by visiting our blogs. You can also contact your local sales representative for more information.

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