Books : Mastering Borland Delphi 2005: Update for Delphi 2006

Mastering Delphi Update for Delphi 2006

Chapter 18 

ECO III in Delphi 2006

There are far too many new features in ECO III to discuss them in detail in this book update. Most of the new features are rather advanced, and the aim of the ECO chapter in the book Mastering Borland Delphi 2005 was only to provide an introduction to the Enterprise Core Objects technology. However, it is worth listing the new features briefly.

  • In any case notice that the examples provided with the Mastering Borland Delphi 2005 book no longer compile in Delphi 2006. The steps described in the book are no longer 100% compatible, as many implementation details changed between ECO II and ECO III. I find this very disappointing.
  • First of all, some of the core features of the ECO architecture (including Object/Relational mapping and XML-based persistency) are now available not only in the Architect version of Delphi but also in lower editions, Professional (with limited features) and Enterprise. The subset of the ECO technology that is available in all versions of Delphi is now called “ECO Basics”.

    One brand new feature is the support for modeling using state diagrams. Once you've generated a State Chart with Together you can execute it using the default ECO State Machine implementation. In these projects you can model the available operations in each state, the state changes caused by these operations, the initial and final states, provide OCL guard expressions, and support concurrency.

    Without writing any source code you can generate a prototype of the application running in a web interface, thanks to the ASP.NET support. This automatic generation of a web interface is possible thanks to another new feature of ECO III, ASP.NET auto-forms, which work similarly to WinForms auto-forms.

    Another new feature is ECO Action Language, which extends the OCL language by allowing the developer to write expressions that cause side effects in the objects involved. Finally, there is much improved support for integrating ECO applications with existing databases.

    As I mentioned earlier, this is nothing but the tip of the iceberg of the ECO architecture and the countless new ECO III features. Of course, the most relevant element is not in the technology itself but in the availability of this technology for more Delphi developers, even if this is limited to the .NET Architecture and not even all of it (it excludes VCL for .NET applications).

  • If you are still bound to Delphi for Win32 and you are looking for an Object/Relational Mapping engine, I suggest you take a look at InstantObjects (, a very interesting open source tool for Delphi that is being actively developed.