So you have decided to modernize your Delphi app by adding a web frontend to it, that will address several outstanding issues:

  1. You will be able to update the UI to a new modern look and feel. I like Google’s new Material Design, it gives apps a new, modern interface based on current design best practices, but easily customized and adapted to meet user demands.

  2. You will be able to provide access to the application through a web browser, allowing users access to their data from home or whilst on the road.

  3. Delivery will be simplified: no need to install the application on every user’s machine, simply put it on a server and send the location’s url to users by email.

  4. Upgrading will be much easier, all you need to do is overwrite the current version on the servers and the users will automatically get the new version.

  5. And you should be able to tick-off some outstanding user requests as a web frontend will address the growing need for mobile access on both tablets and smart-phones.

And the good news is, you don’t have to purchase any new software license, as of version 10.3 your Architect license now include a license for Sencha Ext JS, everything you need is to build a web frontend.

So how do you get started? Well if your company is anything like ours before building the new web UI you will need to convince your management and users that a web app is the way forward. I have always found the putting together a simple Proof of Concept is a good way to convince people, ‘seeing is believing’ as they say and a Proof of Concept let’s management see that it can be done and helps get user buying to the new UI and new platforms. Luckily, your new Ext JS license contains a tool specifically designed to help you build and customize web frontends without being a JavaScript expert – Sencha Architect (sorry for the clash of names).

  

Initially designed to meet the need to quickly develop prototypes of web UIs, Sencha Architect has grown in capability and is now used by thousands of team around the world to build sophisticated, great looking web applications. Using a Visual Application Builder in an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop environment reduced the need for you to write a lot of boilerplate code, automatic code generation accelerates application development and reduces the need for detailed skills in JavaScript, HTML and CSS.

I am going to spend more time discussing how to develop a Proof of Concept web UI for your Delphi application in another post but for now I recommend you take a look at:

  1. Marco Canto’s post Application Architecture Modernization with Delphi 10.3. Marco describes an architecture that simplifies building a web frontend whilst reusing your current backend code.

  2. This great video showing how to build a sophisticated web app using Sencha Architect, Sencha Architect.
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