Unicode and the VCL

Having Unicode string support in the Delphi language is thrilling, having the Win32 APIs remapped to the Wide version opens up a lot of easy migration, but the fundamental change is that the entire RTL and the Visual Component Library (VCL) are now fully Unicode enabled. All of the string (and string lists) managed by components are declared as string, so they now match the new UnicodeString type.

Some of the low-level, internal areas of the RTL, though, rely on different formats. For example property names are based on UTF-8, and so is part of the RTTI support available in the TypInfo unit. Beside some very specific exceptions, everything else has been migrated to UnicodeString and UTF-16.

51 Also note that very few editors out there recognize the UTF-32 BOM and encoding.

The Unicode support is a key element, but not the only feature that helps improving the support for building international applications. Other features relate to the use of BiDiMode and Translation support.

Regarding source code files keep in mind you can save them in any format you like, but it is necessary to use a Unicode format if you are using any code point above 255 in your source code (for identifier names, strings, comments, or just about anything else). The editor will prompt you to use such a format when required, but you can go for Unicode source code files anyway.

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