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So, I've got a mandate to make our aged trillion lined Delphi app web based and it needs to make heavy use of the <canvas> element (HTML5 compatibility doesn't seem to be a big issue since we can just make our clients use a compatible browser the way we'd make them use a compatible version of Windows in the win32 environment).

The Delphi app in question is almost completely database driven and will still pretty much continue to be developed as the main product. What I am tasked with is pretty much recreating a scaled down version of the program that performs the major functions of the whole program.

I couldn't find any frameworks that simulate windows forms using the canvas element, I'm assuming this is probably by design since it is easier just to use HTML, well, be that as it may, I still think it would be cool to have a few of my cool controls on the web (TRichView and TVirtualTree, etc...)

So my question is, to anyone who has tried this before,

A.) What can we use for an IDE to code this web app (I just use emacs, but no one else in my company does)?

B.) Is it a good idea to mix PHP and Processing.JS? It seems like I'm using a lot of AJAX to get anything to happen. 3 calls just for one dialog box to pop up,

  1. Loads the HTML for the dialog,
  2. Loads the XML to populate the database info on the form
  3. Loads the processing.js PJS file which draws the database info to the canvas.

Is three a lot, do people usually combine all their gets into one?

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I thought Delphi provided tools for web programming? You'd get a lot more mileage being able to reuse all that code instead of having to branch everything off into a php port. –  red-dirt Jun 22 '11 at 10:41
    
@el fuser, it does, but I've never heard of a single person/company ever using it successfully. I've messed around with it, but it just doesn't seem to work the way I want. If I get too into it, I'll probably use delphi4php and make php extensions with delphi, but then I tie myself to windows (for now at least), which is really not what I wanted to go for. –  Peter Turner Jun 22 '11 at 13:58
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1 Answer

If you want to connect your delphi app to the web app, I would investigate the following:

  1. Develop a new UI and talk to the back end which is based on your current delphi code, communicating via a REST or SOAP "web methods" with the back end.

  2. I would use PHP to write the new Web UI, and to communicate with the Delphi code. I would recommend you check out RAD PHP which allows you to use a very rich framework to build your views, similar to the way you know in Delphi. It's component oriented, and was originally called "VCL for the web". It's a lot better and more stable and scalable to use PHP for this than things like Intraweb in pure delphi.

I would not call that a rewrite at all, especially since your delphi project will continue to exist. If your middle tier (database access below, web methods above) is well written, you can support multiple front ends properly (a Delphi UI, and a PHP or Python UI for the web).

You're smart enough not to even try using IntraWeb, and for that I applaud you. (grin)

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