Desktop applications are the most productive apps for the majority of ordinary people. From scientific apps to applications which power user’s creativity, Windows desktop applications lead the market. Moreover, the new Windows 11 has big changes that can ramp up Windows applications to the next level. Windows 11 has a gorgeous visual tweaking of the Windows desktop coupled with a rethinking of how areas of the program could be improved to make a user’s life easier.
Since you are a developer, it’s very likely you’re interested in Windows app development. The Windows ecosystem for applications is so huge it’s pretty impossible to ignore There are lots of software development tools available for developing Windows desktop applications, but there are misconceptions about the available tools, the development process, and several other common misunderstandings. Here in this article, we will talk you through the misconceptions and what, instead, is the reality.
Table of Contents
1. Do you think you have to use a Microsoft framework?
Microsoft itself provides a set of tools to build Windows desktop applications in the box like WPF, UWP, WinForms and the new one is the .NET MAUI. Moreover, they have a big community around those tools. So, if you choose Microsoft Windows development tools, you have to follow the .NET framework, and your application is dependent on that.
Other options offer more resilience and have decades of stability. For instance, Delphi is one of the leading programming languages for the development of Windows desktop applications for more than 25 years. Delphi has the Visual Component Library (VCL) that offers you to build a classic desktop application that has all the features that you can get from the classic desktop C++ applications. The difference is that Delphi VCL provides high productivity and a set of built-in components that you can design and develop any type of application in a short amount of time.
2. Are you worried your Windows App will be bloated like Electron?
While it provides easy development for experienced web developers, sometimes it consumes high memory and gives less native user experience compared to those native development tools like Delphi, C++ or C#.
For instance, Delphi IDE provides all the available tools to create any type of application. These applications run fast and utilize less memory. Moreover, while building apps with Delphi, you do not experience:
- DLL Hell
- Bloated EXEs
- Slow compilation
- Complex toolchains
3. Do you believe that Windows development is complicated?
If you are having struggles with your Windows development tools, you might have chosen the wrong development or you are not aware of the available functionalities of it.
Delphi with Visual Component Library is one of the most productive Windows desktop development platforms in the market. The built-in visual and non-visual components provide flexibility and productivity for the developers. Moreover, the Visual Component Library (VCL), with its ability to map to classic and modern APIs (from Win API to COM-based APIs, to WinRT) and its support for High DPI monitors, Snap Layouts, and modern UI trends – all without requiring a full application rewrite – is a great Windows desktop development tool available for the developers. It stands out for its power.
4. Do you worry that your design skills will make building a UI difficult?
If you have been developing applications with Microsoft technologies you know about XAML or if you have been developing desktop apps with web technologies, the Delphi VCL and FireMonkey framework are here to save you. We talked about VCL but not the FireMonkey framework. FireMonkey (FMX) is a cross-platform native app development framework that you can develop native and cross-platform applications using a single code base. FireMonkey framework is available in the Delphi and C++ Builder toolset and targets:
- Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Web (HTML5)
Furthermore, prototyping and designing responsive applications with FireMonkey is just easy as dragging and dropping components to the form. By tweaking the alignment properties you can create flexible and responsive applications for mobile and desktop platforms.
Additionally, with the power of styles and the Live Preview building, cross-platform user interfaces with Delphi IDE is excellent. For instance, from the pool of gorgeous styles, you can just pull one and apply it runtime or even design time which helps you to assess the UI easily.
Learn more about how to add visually-stunning FMX styles to your project:
FireUI Live Preview – is another next-level tool/feature for Delphi developers. It is a server/client multi-device tool that allows you to broadcast the active form of your application, in real-time, to several devices simultaneously.
If you want to learn about:
- Evolution of Windows Design
- Fluent UI
- What’ New in Windows 11
- Examples with Code
- Libraries, Resources for Windows 11 Fluent UI Development
You need to watch this latest workshop:
5. Do you believe that if you create a Windows app it means your code won’t be able to work on other platforms and non-Windows devices?
As we just talked about the Delphi FireMonkey framework, you can easily turn your Windows desktop applications into mobile-friendly applications.
Moreover, Microsoft is now building their next-generation app development tool called .NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) that provides multi-platform app development like that we have in the Delphi FireMonkey framework for over a decade. If you are an experienced C# developer, .NET MAUI can be more friendly to you but, it is only available in preview.
FireMonkey is available for more than a decade and is in active development. It provides cross-platform app development with easy access to the operating system and hardware features. Moreover, with dozens of available styles, creating exciting cross-platform applications is straightforward. Besides, there are lots of tutorials and great books around the Delphi FireMonkey.
6. Are you worried that compiling applications takes a lot of time?
It mostly depends on how many projects files you have and how you compile and built it every time.
Most Delphi developers love the speed of the Delphi compilation time because the Delphi compiler gets performance improvements in every update and gives high speeds. For instance, in this demonstration, you can see that Delphi compiles a million lines of code in 5 seconds.
You can these tips to improve compile times
- Precompiled units – only the new compile the units that changed since the last compile
- Inlining, compiler optimizations, run time packages, optional debugging, and RTTI
7. Do you think it is hard to debug a Windows App?
Debugging is generally hard and needs careful attention to the process. But, debugging Windows applications is pretty easy. Since there are lots of professional and powerful debuggers in Windows there is no worry about it. When you code your project and after compilation, it behaves differently, so that is when you need a powerful debugger as we have in the Delphi IDE.
A Debugger lets you step through the execution of the program. You can also inspect and change almost all aspects of the environment in which your application executes from the contents of variables that you define to computer processor registers.
You can watch this workshop and learn about all the tricks to debug faster and smarter in Delphi. It covers:
- Compiler Settings
- Break on condition in code
- Programmatically break into the compiler
- Use passcount to determine the number of loops
- Log to console window
- Debugging Multithreading Programs
- Hardware breakpoints
- and more
Keep up-to-date with the latest updates on .NET Core vs .NET Framework and what some of the drawbacks are as Microsoft aims to transition into a new cross-platform framework.
Overall, Windows desktop development is a fun process and using the right IDE makes it much easier, almost simple in fact. You just need to select the right software development tool! Check out the Delphi 11 Alexandria for free