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New in 11.2: a Peek Into Markdown And Help Insight

Delphi, C++Builder and RAD Studio 11.2 is already available for download, and a couple of weeks ago Marco posted a preview for one new feature, iOS Simulator for Delphi. But what is in the IDE?

11.2 is a quality-focused release. That means a lot of work on existing features, ensuring they work smoothly: high DPI VCL design, for example, is an area with a lot of focus. But in this release we have several new features that were driven by quality: we had something we wanted to change, and rather than only resolving an issue, that could lead to a new feature.

So as a pre-release teaser, I want to share one of those quality goals and the features that come out of it, and show a little of the path that lets us address quality while leveraging that to add some much-requested features.

The quality impetus: We have aimed for several releases to remove all use of embedded Internet Explorer within the IDE. (More on why below.)

The feature impetus: Returning XSLT to HelpInsight (something you may not have realised was temporarily missing, but that many people use to customise the display)… and adding Markdown support!

Removing Internet Explorer

IE is legacy; its integration (message processing requirements, for example) is related to a number of issues, and we suspect the cause of several more.

Welcome Page in RAD Studio 112Plus there’s one good question: our own tech is very capable of great user interfaces, so why should we use a browser? You saw part of this recently with 11.0’s new Welcome Page: it used to be an embedded browser, but we replaced this with a native VCL implementation that looks better, gives you more information, and is highly customisable for your workflow and interests. You can even write your own frames to display inside it. (Want a different Recent list? Add it! Want to track your project’s CI? Add that!)

IE was also used for HelpInsight, the transformed XmlDoc code documentation that is displayed when you mouseover a symbol in the code editor. That’s a validly good place for HTML, because it’s data generated from an XML source and an XML to HTML transform is powerful. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be IE specifically. And we could definitely improve the data displayed there, and let that XSLT transformation be customisable again, which is great for your productivity when developing.

And that’s what we did:

Help Insight tooltip displaying in 112Help Insight in RAD Studio 11.2 (Preview)

This screenshot is of Help Insight, rendering as HTML transformed from XmlDoc through XSLT (as we used to support), in a native Delphi HTML renderer, not an embedded web browser. This is the quality step: same feature, reimplemented with better technology, bringing back a desired piece of functionality too.

Find out more from this Innovation Timeline infographic from Delphi’s 27th Anniversary as it walks you back through the history of Delphi and its evolution.

From quality principles to features

Stepping back, you can see some key principles for 11.2’s work:

  • Removing Internet Explorer
  • Moving to native Delphi implementations of technology, because we have excellent language and frameworks

Just as we did with the Welcome Page in 11.0 and 11.1, where these principles let us replace the HTML Welcome Page with a tremendously more powerful and customisable (and better looking!) native VCL one, we followed the same ideas further in 11.2 to improve HelpInsight and HTML and project readmes in the IDE in general.

We also want to support Markdown: there are tens of thousands of Delphi github projects with Markdown readmes. And Markdown, of course, is intended to be used with HTML.

This is where a technical plan, quality and native focus using the native Delphi HTML components, and a feature plan, implementing Markdown, overlap. We have been moving towards this point for some time.

Learn more about how Delphi is being implemented as a scripting engine on this article about MFL.

Introducing native Markdown and reworked HelpInsight in RAD Studio 11.2!

The rich Markdown view in RAD Studio 112

Markdown support and reworked HelpInsight are just one of many, many things in the IDE and across the entire product, especially since 11.2 is a heavily quality-focused release. Join our 11.2 launch webinar on Wednesday 7th September to find out everything that’s new!

In the next article, get insights about the fun LED Scroller app for androids and how helpful it is in making text and emojis on the screen without breaking a sweat!

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About author

David is an Australian developer, currently living in far-north Europe. He is the senior product manager for C++ at Idera, looking after C++Builder and Visual Assist.

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