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Books : Mastering Borland Delphi 2005: Update for Delphi 2006

Mastering Delphi Update for Delphi 2006

Chapter 21 

ASP.NET in Delphi 2006

In relationship with ASP.NET, Delphi 2006 provides several updated features and many fixes of issues found in the previous version. In particular, Borland developers seem to have put a lot of care in avoiding accidental changes in the page markup (both in HTML tags and in the specific ASP.NET tags) when the .aspx files are loaded into the designer. In Delphi 2006 the IDE preserves spacing, format attributes, closing tags, and almost everything else in the source code file. To improve tag editing, Error Insight is now enabled in the tag editor window (the one showing the details of the selected tag), so that you can see errors as you type in this editor.

A relevant improvement, even if an indirect one, is the availability of connection pooling in case you are connecting your ASP.NET application to a database using Delphi's Borland Data Provider (BDP), as described in the update material for Chapter 16. This feature has limited appeal in case of a client/server WinForms application, but it is very relevant for an ASP.NET project. In fact, in these type of applications each page has its own connection components and it is far from simple to save these components and manage the database connection based on user sessions. Connection pooling overcomes this architectural limitation of ASP.NET, and also allows you to keep fewer database connections open as inactive sessions (still available and ready to use) do not need to keep a database connection open.

Other new ASP.NET features of Delphi 2006 include the improvement of the Deployment Manager, now capable of listing all the referenced assemblies of a project (including those referenced indirectly) to simplify the deployment of an application on the target server. The same tool has also been extended to better support the deployment and the installation of external files not included in the project (that is, you don't need to add external files to the project only for the purpose of managing their deployment).

It is also possible to modify the default page layout from Grid Layout to Flow Layout and vice verse with the HTML/ASP.NET Options page of the Options dialog box. Another improvement worth mentioning is that Borland Developer Studio 2006 now provides better support for debugging ASP.NET applications within the Cassini server, of which there is a ready-to-use (that is, already compiled) version.

It is necessary to note that, like other .NET Microsoft libraries, Delphi 2006 still supports only version 1.1. of the .NET framework, so there are no core library changes compared to Delphi 2005. Borland specific controls, like the DBWeb controls, instead, have been improved and made more robust. In particular, the DBWeb controls provides the management of the name of the active page among the session data. Another relevant issue (but only for the developers who own the Architect version of Delphi and use ECO) is the possibility of generating web pages automatically when building the prototype of an application, just like with AutoForms for a WinForms interface.