Should GExperts Functionality be Incorporated into Delphi?

I recently upgraded to Delphi 2009 and was disappointed to find out that I couldn't easily replace one VCL component with another. The best answer back was that GExperts could be used to do this.

Is it worthwhile to petition Embarcadero to incorporate some or all of the capabilities of GExperts right into Delphi? Which of their "Experts" do you use most and would like to see in Delphi?

Or is GExperts best left as a community Open Source addon?


What features in GExperts would you most like to be included in Delphi itself? I would suggest that you come up with prioritized list of your, say, top 10 features. Then pop on over to Quality Central ( and see if they've already been added as suggestions and if so, vote for them. If not feel free to go ahead and add them. This information is regularly mined and queried not only for product defects, but also as a way for us to hear from our customers about product enhancements. The voting system helps us prioritize the planning of our work and product cycles.

I vote for grep search and procedure window too. Probably procedure window in first place though

My vote would be negative on this. I think, with their limited resources, they better concentrate on the core language - platform improvements which the community cannot give a hand as of the closed nature of these aspects.

Community already takes the burden of this high quality addon on itself and all they should do, I think, is maybe promote it in a clear way (ie. a link on the Welcome Page).

I'd love to see code formatting supported (experimental port of DelForEx in Gexperts) and some functionality to help manage uses clauses.

I don't mind Delphi's Find in Files, but I like being able to use the Gexperts grep search outside of the IDE.

Useful things like Comment/Uncomment code and locating matching delimiters is already in Delphi.

Most of the rest probably belongs in third party add-ons like Gexperts to keep from cluttering up the IDE with too many "specialty" features. Things like reversing a statement, replacing components or the ASCII chart.

I wonder is it time now that Delphi had a better, more stable plugin system. I know the Toolsapi has been around for quite a while and works well, but it does suffer from a number of problems.

  • It is really complicated. In 2009 I dont think writing plugins for an IDE has to be as difficult as implementing interfaces on the ToolsAPI makes it.
  • Its unsupported and subject to change - although I'm not sure if its ever changed in a substantial way, the fact that there is the possibility of change is not an incentive to create for it.

It would be great to have a simple modern plugin system for the IDE that would make writing plugins for Delphi trivial, this would really increase the number of good plugins and act as a positive force for Delphi development. I don't think emb should spend time writing plugins but I do think they should spend time writing a decent plugin framework.

My number one GExpert is Grep Search.

Close second is the Procedure List window.

Also very handy are the various keyboard shortcuts, and the toolbar embedded in the editor - I have a few buttons on there; like CPU-view, Project Manager and the selection-tools as a dropdown (like sort selection).

Sometimes I use the Clipboard History window.

And even more rarely the ASCII windows.

Everything else I don't touch really.

I know the procedure-list could also be found in the structure-pane of Delphi 2009, but somehow the fact that I can press Ctrl+G to get a window with quick filtering and preview capabilities is more productive for me.

Same thing for grep - the GExperts' version is way more powerfull than the standard Delphi search function.

If these two (and maybe the clipboard history) where embedded in standard Delphi, I probably wouldn't install GExperts anymore.

But on the other hand : I do like the fact that these solutions are available as open source - this allowed me for example to add section-filtering to the grep-search, which otherwise wouldn't have been possible for me...

I've thought about that before too. So many of GExperts features are so useful I think they should be part of Delphi proper. I think it comes down to just having manpower to maintain it those features in house in addition to all the other stuff they are doing.

I vote for procedure window (CTRL+G) and copy component to source code

Please, don't forget the resources from CnWizards. Can't program in Delphi without the CnPack's source highligth enhancements, uses cleaner and procedure list.

I would also vote for GrepSearch, especially the option to search the Design forms! Just recently I needed to look for a special DataSet references in TDatasources in all my forms! I could only do it with GrepSearch and the activation of the inclusion of forms in my search! That is something I really missed in the Delphi IDE!

Most used features for me are: Grep Search and Replace Components.

But, i think it's not a good idea to include gExperts functionality in IDE at all. Because:

  1. gExperts are independent product which can be easily installed in less then minute
  2. There are too much unfixed bugs in QC, to spend Codegear's team time for reinventing bicycles.
  3. And main thing is GExperts license, which has the following line:

You may not use the GExperts source code to develop proprietary or commercial products including plugins or libraries for those products. You may use the GExperts source code in an Open Source project, under the terms listed below.

This means, that CodeGear should write this functionality from scratch.

I also vote for the procedure window (CTRL+G). I don't know how I lived without it before GExperts. I also really like the zip backup's my "source control" :-)

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