Model Driven Applications

Modeling is a term used to describe the process of software design. Developing a model of a software system is roughly equivalent to an architect creating a set of blueprints for a large development project.

Like a set of blueprints, a model not only depicts the system as a whole, but also allows you to focus in on specifics such as structural and behavioral details. Abstracted away from any particular programming language (and at some levels, even from specific technology), the model allows all participants in the development cycle to communicate in the same language.

Borland's Model Driven Architecture (MDA) describes an approach to software engineering where the modeling tools are completely integrated within the development environment itself. The MDA is designed around Borland's Enterprise Core Objects (ECO) framework. The ECO framework is a set of interface, classes, and custom attributes that provide the communication conduit between your application and the modeling-related features of the IDE.

The ECO features include:

  • Automatic mapping of the model classes, with their attributes and relationships, to a relational schema.
  • Automatic evolution of schema when the model changes.
  • Specification of the persistence backend. You can choose to store objects in a relational database or in an XML file.
  • Design-time structural validation of the model and its Object Constraint Language (OCL) expressions.
  • Runtime validation of the OCL expressions.
  • An event mechanism that allows you to receive notifications whenever objects are added, changed, or removed.

Delphi 8 for .NET IDE leverages the ECO framework to provide an integrated surface on which to develop your application model. The IDE and its modeling surface features include:

  • Creating model-driven applications as a new kind of project.
  • Creating class diagrams, and manipulating model elements (packages, and classes) directly on the surface.
  • Adding, removing, and changing class attributes and methods on the class diagram.
  • Two-way updating between source code and the modeling surface. Changes in source code are reflected in the graphical depiction, and vice versa.
  • Two-way navigating between model elements and source code. You can navigate from the graphical depiction of a model element directly to its corresponding source code. Similarly, you can navigate from a modeled class in source code directly to its graphical diagram on the modeling surface.
  • Exporting and importing models using XMI 1.1.

Note: Not all modeling features are available in all editions of Delphi 8 for .NET. To determine the modeling features supported in your product edition, refer to the feature matrix on

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Project Management Made Easy

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