Friday, October 14, 2011

Delphi-Treff interview–In English

I recently did an email interview with Martin Strohal of the Delphi-Treff Team. I got permission to publish the original English version (Since my German is a little rusty...)
Delphi XE2 will be published this year. What are the key features of this new release? (Is this the release named "Pulsar"?)
Customers will now be able to target Windows 32bit, Windows 64bit, and Mac OSX 32bit. XE2 introduces a new cross-platform GUI-centric, GPU accelerated component framework called, FireMonkey. VCL also received an extensive upgrade with the introduction of Styles. New in XE2 is LiveBindings. This provides a powerful and flexible system that allows binding any kind of data source to any property or properties. The data source can be nearly anything, including other properties.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More x64 assembler fun-facts–new assembler directives

The Windows x64 ABI (Application Binary Interface) presents some new challenges for assembly programming that don’t exist for x86. A couple of the changes that must be taken into account can can be seen as very positive. First of all, there is now one and only one OS specified calling convention. We certainly could have devised our own calling convention like in x86 where it is a register-based convention, however since the system calling convention was already register based, that would have been an unnecessary complication. The other significant change is that the stack must always remain aligned on 16 byte boundaries. This seems a little onerous at first, but I’ll explain how and why it’s necessary along how it can actually make calling other functions from assembly code more efficient and sometimes even faster than x86. For a detailed description of the calling convention, register usage and reservations, etc… please see this. Another thing that I’ll discuss is exceptions and why all of this is necessary.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

x64 assembler fun-facts

While implementing the x64 built-in assembler for Delphi 64bit, I got to “know” the AMD64/EM64T architecture a lot more. The good thing about the x64 architecture is that it really builds on the existing instruction format and design. However, unlike the move from 16bit to 32bit where most existing instruction encodings were automatically promoted to using 32bit arguments, the x64 design takes a different approach.