Today we are officially announcing Project CrossTalk. CrossTalk is a project for Delphi that allows native Delphi code to consume .NET code in a very transparent way, very much like referencing a package. Select .NET classes you want to use from Delphi, and that’s it. Very much like in C#, or VB.NET. Or at least as close as possible without Delphi being managed code.
Over the coming weeks we will post a lot more information about CrossTalk. Here are some topics to answer initial questions.
How does CrossTalk differ from Delphi for .NET?
- Delphi for .NET is deprecated so that makes it unusable in most environments. Although we know of a few still using Kylix.
- Delphi for .NET produced managed code and was highly incompatible with existing code. CrossTalk allows your code to remain native, yet talk to .NET code in an easy manner. This allows developers to take advantage of not just other .NET libraries, but .NET backends, as well as the .NET framework itself.
How does CrossTalk differ from Hydra?
Hydra and CrossTalk overlap in some areas, but their design is rather different and the two products should be considered complementary rather than competitive. Hydra (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) requires developers to have control of the source code on the .NET side and expose an interface, while CrossTalk connects to .NET in a more generic fashion without requiring changes or control of .NET code.
Hydra also contains many capabilities not targetted by CrossTalk such as visual controls. Hydra also supports .NET 1.1 as well as newer versions, while CrossTalk will support only .NET 2.0 and higher.
How does CrossTalk differ from Delphi Prism?
Delphi Prism is a .NET implementation of a language using Delphi as the base. CrossTalk will be compatible with Delphi Prism on the .NET side as CrossTalk supports any .NET language. Delphi Prism, Delphi Native, and CrossTalk make an ideal combination.
How does CrossTalk differ from Managed VCL?
Managed VCL uses the COM export functionality of .NET and requires developers to query .NET classes in fashion similar to using late binding COM via IUnknown. CrossTalk provides a more transparent connection to .NET.
How does CrossTalk differ from Delphi.NET?
Delphi.NET (SourceForge project) only supports much older versions of .NET and relies on a COM object proxy. This requires registration of a COM dll and still only provides access in a generic non type safe manner.
Will CrossTalk support visual controls?
There are no plans to support visual controls. Developers wishing to host visual .NET controls should investigate Hydra. CrossTalk aims to allow native Delphi code to talk to non visual .NET libraries and back ends.
How much will CrossTalk cost?
Pricing is undecided at the current time.
Will there be special offers for IntraWeb customers?
Yes, and there will be very special offers for existing IntraWeb customers. One of the main reasons we embarked on the CrossTalk project was to allow IntraWeb customers to more easily interface with .NET backends and support our future plans for IntraWeb.
If you are considering IntraWeb, now is the time to purchase or renew your subscription if it has lapsed.
When will CrossTalk be available?
We are targeting Summer 2009 (Northern Hemisphere Summer).
What is the current status of CrossTalk?
We have passed all of the hardest obstacles and built a proof of concept which allows Delphi code to talk to C# code. While our proof of concept was developed using Delphi and C#, we plan to support C++ and on the .NET side any .NET language is supported including C#, VB.NET, Managed C++, Delphi Prism, Python for .NET, and more.
How can I try CrossTalk now?
CrossTalk is not ready for testing. Watch our blog and newsgroups for further information.
What Delphi versions CrossTalk support?
The same as IntraWeb, which is Delphi 5 and higher, excluding Delphi for .NET personalities and Delphi 8.
Will CrossTalk support C++ Builder and C++ personalities of Dephi?
Who is working on CrossTalk?
The team is being led by Chad Z. Hower and also includes Jackson Gomes, Hristo Stefanov, and Matthijs ter Woord.
Where can I ask about CrossTalk?
For now please use the IntraWeb newsgroups.