It all started back when we were preparing for exhibiting at PDC2008. We took a good look at the exiting samples we had, and decided it would be a good time to start afresh and make them more consistent.
One important factor was that at the time, all samples were unique client/server combinations, talked to different databases and did not have much in common in general. To best be able to show and present DA, we decided to develop one unified sample server application (along with a standard database) that all clients would talk to. This way, we could have one server running, and just launch different clients (either as executable or as projects to show within Visual Studio) to show off specific functionality.
To make things more interesting, we also decided to not make the server app a black box, but instead provide a very rich user interface that would show exactly, what was going on in the server to process requests – say, to illustrate how DA SQL was being translated to SQL that would be run against the back-end server, now Dynamic Where clauses would be interpreted, or what work would go on to merge data for a schema-side Union table.
This was a great success, so we decided to turn this into what we would ship as as samples with the product, eventually – and while we did not have the time to get everything ready for the Spring 2009 releases in February, the time has come and at the end of this month, we’ll ship the new sample suite for Data Abstract for .NET.
After installing the next release of DA, you will find (among other new things!) two new shortcuts in the start menu, to launch pre-compiled versions of this sample server. The server comes ready to run with a SQLite-based database that will work out of the box, so there is absolutely no setup work needed, anymore, to get started. As always, a range of sample applications are available from the Welcome page in the IDE – these are now all client-only samples that will work out of the box (open, build, run) against the provided server, making it really easy to start exploring.
We of course ship full C# source of the sample servers (we have two versions, one based on WPF with the very rich user interface mentioned above, as well as a lower-key version based on WinForms, for users who are still using .NET 2.0-only) so you can explore, change and rebuild the server.
In true RemObjects fashion, the Delphi and .NET versions will be inter-changeable, so the .NET client samples will work against the Delphi server, and vie versa.
Once we start rolling out Data Abstract for OS X (the first beta of which will actually go out to testers this week), it too will leverage the same sample infrastructure – in fact we’ll have a copy of the DA/.NET based server with a Monobjc based front-end that runs Mac side.
We’re still in the progress of writing up information about all the samples, but you can get a first glimpse at them on wiki.remobjects.com.