Delphi 2007 SP3 - Some quirks

On my Help Tests, I ran around some minor quirks and I decided to blog about them as well! (Whoa: 3 whole posts in one day? Don't worry, that's probably 3 more months without posting so you'll have enough time to recover!)

Don't get me wrong, these are minor quirks, but it's also the 4th release of Delphi 2007 for Win32 (Release, SP1, SP2, SP3), so these should have been caught and dealt with by now, unless the quality control processes are seriously flawed... And before someone else goes "Oh, but the product is VERY good if this is all you can say about it", let me just point out that, no, this is not all (I've placed over 40 QC reports back when I did care about doing it), these are just those that immediately jump on you seconds after you start using the product, which doesn't give a good idea about the overall product quality... First impressions usually take longer to disappear...

1) Even selecting "Just me", the shortcut for the RAD Studio Documentation is installed for All Users.

In all honesty, I can't say whether this is a bug from the default SP3 install or caused by the Help Update. In either case, it should have been child's play to both detect and fix this, so there's no real excuse for letting something as simple as this slip through...

2) Minor toolbar sizing errors:

3) Personality Icon not showing (it appears to show only when a project is loaded, which is a bit odd for a single personality product)

4) Help Improve Visual Studio. WHY? If you buy a Volvo, will you get a form to fill out and return to FORD about how pleased you are with their engine? It doesn't make sense and for a team of developers, it shouldn't be hard to determine what registry key is needed to stop that from showing. Creates a wrong impression, when one does NOT buy Visual Studio and instead opts for buying a CodeGear product and then sees that "Help Improve Visual Studio"!

5) What's with this dull launch screen? So much space and the only thing that changes is a couple lines at the bottom? I used to like the previous launch screen better. Maybe it gets "filled" when you have some optional dotNET "modules", but as it is, it's plain dull...


Like I said above, all minor quirks, but also all first wrong impressions with a product...

Delphi 2007 Improved Help (?)

If you recall from previous posts (yes, I know it has been a while, but I've been busy!), I was frankly disappointed at the so-called "Improved Help".

The major flaws

Back on release of Delphi 2007 for Win32, the major flaws I found were the following (listed in no particular order, but numbered for easier reference):

  1. Crashing the IDE when requesting help on a menu;
  2. Failing to retrieve help for common Pascal/Delphi keywords;
  3. Giving "precedence" in searches to results pertaining to VB, VC++, Anything else under the moon and, in the last spot, Delphi;
  4. Taking up a huge amount of space with non Delphi for Win32 help contents;
  5. Using an Help engine that would consistently remain in memory leaking resources;
  6. Failure to retrieve help for components in forms or giving too many pointless options to choose from;

What has changed on SP3

#1 was solved with SP1, IIRC;

Help on End#2 Simple test program loaded from the demo ones. Pressed help on unit, interface, uses. All of these would pop a few options to choose from, but among those was the "correct" one. Then press F1 over type: only two options given and neither very useful... Class, procedure: again a few choices; private: a few choices too and among them the "good" one, but the one that I clicked first because it looked as the most promising, took me instead to the C++ reference section. No, that's not C++.net, but rather RAD Studio C++ reference. Odd for a "Delphi for Win32" product. Yes, I know that they have common bases for all their products, but that's THEIR choice and US, END-USERS, should NOT be bothered with that. If I'm programming in Delphi (Pascal), I should NOT need C++ help on my system and certainly not being offered that help when I press F1 on a Delphi keyword... The image on the right shows a list of the choices given when pressing F1 on end (but a similar one shows up for begin as well)...

#3 From the tests above, it appears that this has been nicely worked out: many VC++, VB or J# entries still show up, but usually towards the END of the list, rather than being at the top of it.

#4 remains the same and I don't expect it to change seeing that it's a common base for their Win32+dotNET products;

#5 I couldn't get a single DEXPLORER instance to stay in memory. Maybe the conditions that cause that are rather peculiar, but in all the open/closes I did, not once did I see it left or even another instance being loaded while another one was already in memory.

#6 I had to try REALLY hard to find a component that would not get me to that component's reference help. Almost every single component, from those in a form, to even those in the component selector, got me to the proper page after pressing F1 with no further questions asked.


1) Definitely a much welcome improvement, but still needs a lot of work. It's sad that 9 months after the initial release that touted "Improved Help" as one of the key factors for purchasing the new version, it still fails to live to that promise. Maybe by the time they get to Delphi 2008 the help is then at the standards they said it was back on release of Delphi 2007. Let's just hope they keep improving it, because it certainly looks as they still have a lot of work to do, but as long as they keep doing it, maybe in the future we will get a decent help!

2) There are still quite a few "place-holders" like the one in this example:
Place Holder

3) I was, towards the end of my tests, prompted with this:
Local Help

I opted to use Local Help as the primary source and haven't tested with the default option given as shown above. Seemed to work pretty much the same but only did a few more tests.

Delphi 2007 for Win32 SP3

This week I've been a bit sick. Nothing serious, just a nasty cold with the nasty side effect of going through paper tissues like there was no tomorrow.

So, rather than trying really hard to stay focused on debugging tasks at hand when I had to interrupt every 30 seconds to wipe my nose, I decided it was about time to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time and just couldn't afford the time to do it: upgrade my Delphi 2007 SP1 with both the SP3 and the improved help files that were released after that. That's something that doesn't require much concentration and is "compatible" with using paper tissues every 30 seconds...

So, I start by going to the Delphi registered user's downloads and download two files:

Armed with those files, I reset my computer to a ghost file with nothing but Windows XP SP2 + patches + drivers. After a few hours of installing more patches and all the software I use *except* Delphi (a process that is now much faster as I keep many utilities pre-installed on my D:\Utils folder), it was time to tackle the main procedure: Install Delphi 2007 SP3.

So, I start by creating a new ghost image to have a more recent "fall-back" should something fail, and I mount the ISO on a Virtual CloneDrive.

My first impression is not good when I double-click the drive:

Error01 Error02 Error03

I then proceed to open the drive instead and manually click the install file which brings me to this:



Pre-Reqs Disk Space From this point on, everything runs much smoother: I proceed to install the pre-reqs, which I intentionally had not installed before, and then a reboot is in order.

The pre-reqs took an astonishing 2 GB of my C: drive as you can see from the image on the left. After closer scrutiny, you can easily see that it still suffers from the same "bugs" as the original install, namely, caching the same install files in several different places. That's 1.1 GB worth of .NET SDK install files in those two folders marked in the image.

This whole process did complete without any problems and within approximately 10 minutes, after which I had to reboot to proceed with the install.




Delphi Disk Space Then, on to installing Delphi 2007 for Win32 SP3. After inputting my registration data, I selected to install everything available to my PRO SKU, including Rave Reports. The whole process took around 15 minutes and again proceeded with no problems.

As you can see, Delphi itself, discounting the pre-reqs, requires around 1.5 GB in the Professional Win32 SKU. That's roughly 450 MB for cached install files, 340 MB for help files and 690 MB for CodeGear files in either the program folder or common files.

I could have ran the IDE, but instead I opted for installing the Help Update. The one minor quirk about it, is that you need to go to a command line and type HelpSetup /upgrade. But the upgrade ran smoothly and this time I didn't time it, but it was around 10 or 15 minutes. Not worth another space screenshot as it only differed in a couple MB.


Full space report

Full  Disk Space To the left you can find a FULL disk space report before installing even the pre-reqs and after installing Delphi and the help update. As you can see, that's 3.7 GB worth of stuff, from pre-reqs to cached files to more cached files to the proper program files. Not really an improvement over the original setup, IIRC... However, since I believed that at least 1.1 GB of this can be safely shaved, that's what I'll did next. So, I removed the first of the two folders marked in the Pre-Reqs image above and was surprised to find out that the 2nd one was no longer there. However, the total space used was not consistent with that 2nd folder being removed, so after a quick search, I found out that it had been instead moved into my own Local Settings rather than the All Users' one. That's consistent with the choice I was given of installing for myself only (which I chose), or installing for all users. So, I deleted that 2nd folder and then ran Windows Update to download the latest .NET 2 security updates. As expected, it worked flawlessly, and I don't expect to be running into problems by not having those files around.  Of course, Windows Update doesn't update the SDK itself, so this was not a big test. But if you want to play safe, just burn those two folders to a DVD should they be required at some upgrade point in the future...

So, the (current) final space used is down to 2.5 GB, but that's without having yet followed my own guide on how to trim some more MBs out of it. That's intentional, as I want to test the help file and see if it has been REALLY improved without using my own tweaks. That will be the subject of my next post which should be posted either later today or tomorrow, if all goes as planned.


The whole process ran very smoothly, even if CodeGear still thinks that, just because disk space is cheap, they can waste as much as they want. Sure, disk space IS cheap, but if you want to create a ghost image of your main working drive and burn that to a DVD, having 2 GB worth of data or having 2 GB worth of data + 2 GB of worthless cached files DOES make a big difference in making it all fit onto a DVD or not. The way I do it, if anything other than an hardware failure goes very wrong, I can be up and running with a working configuration by popping a DVD into my drive and restoring my system to a full working condition in under 20 minutes, instead of re-installing everything for the better part of 1 or 2 days. The same problem applies to creating and backing up a Virtual Machine with a full working install, so, please CodeGear, stop wasting one's disk space just because it's "apparently" cheap!