Home > Amibian.js, QTX, Quartex Pascal > Quartex Pascal: Public Alpha

Quartex Pascal: Public Alpha

October 11, 2022 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s been a long time since I have written a post here on my blog. I have been so busy with work that I quite frankly have not had the extra energy to maintain this website. During the weekdays my hands are full with work, and in the weekends I typically recharge 1 day, with Friday afternoon and Sunday allocated for the Quartex Pascal project. On Saturdays I sleep for as long as I can, go for a walk, and watch Netflix.

Quartex Pascal has a good range of features for using object pascal to write mobile, desktop and web applications. Including node.js servers for the back-end, and using web-workers to thread larger tasks both in the browser and under node.js

Thankfully I am happy to report that Quartex Pascal is more or less ready for a public alpha. I took out a week vacation today to finish the remaining handful of tickets, which are ultimately superficial and fiddly, but nothing difficult compared to what we have already achieved.

Have we reached our goals?

When you start a project it’s easy to get caught up in the potential. One feature quickly avails the next, and if you are not careful – you can be whisked away to vaporware land. Or even worse, end up with a project that never ends and where you keep telling yourself “i just need to add this, then I’m done”. I am happy that we have managed to avoid that, and set a clear boundary of what should be in the initial release. The point of version 1.0 is not to cover all possible features, but rather – to make damn sure the fundamental features work as well as I can make them. Because future revisions and features will build on that foundation. So in short: Yes. As much as 90% of what we set out to include in version 1.0 has been realized. The only thing we had to push to version 1.1 and 1.2 is the database explorer, DAC classes so your web application can work directly with a database through a node.js service, and a few minor features like having a Gr32 powered picture viewer and paint-program included.

The IDE has evolved into a nice ecosystem with package support, project templates, delegates (events) and much more

There is plenty of room for optimization and refactoring in the code-base, so once the first version is out you can expect regular updates (Patreon backers only) where both the IDE and RTL becomes more and more refined and optimized. One of the things I am really looking forward to is writing new and exciting widgets (controls are called widgets under the QTX paradigm), and also port over more JS modules and frameworks. We already have an impressive list of JS frameworks that you can use out of the box. The benefit of having highly skilled backers is that they are quick to digest new technology and produce packages, so we have a lot of widgets that you can drag & drop that are 1:1 wrappers (a wrapper is a class definition that describes an external object, or a unit that makes the features of an external framework usable from pascal).

The Cloud desktop project

Since a couple of years have passed, most people have probably forgotten why Quartex Pascal was created to begin with. Namely as a development tool to implement and finish the Quartex Media Desktop (also known as Amibian.js). Quartex Pascal was actually a detour we had to make to save the codebase I had already implemented. So the moment version 1.0 goes out the door, my first priority is to refactor and re-implement the desktop client under the Quartex Pascal RTL. The background node.js services already run on my new RTL, so all the work we did a couple of years ago is still there, waiting to be picked up again.

The Amibian.js desktop prototype turned a lot of heads. This will finally be realized once Quartex Pascal v1.0 is out

I am not going to spend ages re-hashing the desktop system, but in short this is a client-server system that implements a Windows like desktop, complete with filesystem over websocket, multi user accounts, message based API, and that is 100% JavaScript from the back-end services all the way up to the desktop itself. It is in other words portable and completely hardware and platform agnostic. The point of the desktop is to provide the exact same ecosystem that Windows provides for native applications, for enterprise level web applications. This includes hybrid application modules where half the program is deployed server-side, while the visual part is rendered in the browser (this is how we could have a Torrent client with live status in a web application).

Combine this with a thin Linux bootstrap, where you boot into Chrome in Kiosk mode – and you have a fully working, incredibly powerful desktop system. One that you can literally copy from one machine to the next without recompiling a line of code. As long as the system supports node.js and have a modern browser, Amibian.js will run. Heck, I even booted it on my Smart TV (!).

Release date?

The public alpha is, as the name implies, a pre-release version meant purely to be played around with. There are bound to be hiccups and bugs, but the point is just to get you familiar with the ecosystem (which is very different from Delphi, so don’t think you can just magically compile some old Delphi application).

The IDE has both code suggestion and parameter suggestion, and it does background parsing and VMT building

I am aiming at next weekend. It can be that some delay comes up, but all in all I have only a handful of tickets, most of them small and somewhat fiddly, but nothing too difficult. I will close 2 or 3 tickets a day, so a build should be ready next weekend for you guys.

What License?

The application is released as vanilla shareware, which means that copyright and ownership of all materials (except packages and examples written by others naturally) is tied to me. Once we have enough to establish the Quartex Pascal Foundation (which aims at teaching object pascal and offering free development tools for for students, schools and non-profit organizations) ownership will be isolated there. You can read more about the license on the website, here: https://quartexpascal.wordpress.com/about/licensing/.

We also have a rule that any version of Quartex Pascal will never cost more than €300. The first version will be in the €100-€150 range, which buys you a license to use the development tools in a commercial setting. Quartex Pascal is free to use for open-source work. Students can also use QTX for free, provided they provide proper student identification that can be verified, and they dont use it for commercial gain. Considering the cheap price, buying a license wont exactly break the bank.

The RTL is accessible the exact same way that you are used to under Delphi, so exploring the RTL is encouraged. I have started on the documentation but this is an alpha so you really need to explore a bit.

Just like Delphi all applications have a TApplication object that is the first to be created, and entities like forms are managed by TApplication (they automatically register when you create TQTXForm or TQTXWindow). Once you familiarize yourself with the units, you should have no problem becoming productive in a very short time.


  1. Wodzu
    October 11, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Someone has been playing SMITE? 😉

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