Delphi XE2 IDE with cross-platform Firemonkey framework project loaded
|Original author(s)||Embarcadero Technologies (2011)|
|Operating system||Cross-platform (Windows, Mac OS X, IOS)|
FireMonkey was designed by Eugene Kryukov in the company "KSDev" from Ulan-Ude, Russia as a next generation vector-based GUI Framework. The original name of the framework was VG-Scene. In 2011 it was sold to the American company Embarcadero Technologies and included as a library with their products. FireMonkey is, along with the traditional Visual Component Library, part of Delphi, C++Builder and RAD Studio since version XE2.
Introduced in RAD Studio XE2, Delphi XE2 and C++Builder XE2, it allows developers to design applications and interfaces that take advantage of the acceleration features available in Direct2D (on Windows Vista and Windows 7), OpenGL (on Mac OS X), OpenGL ES (on iOS), and GDI+ on Windows platforms where Direct2D is not available (Windows XP for example).
Applications and interfaces developed with FireMonkey are separated into the two categories HD and 3D. HD and 3D elements can be mixed by utilising built-in components that ship as standard with the IDE.
- HD applications are 2D applications with flat interfaces similar to much software that is currently used. The term HD is used to refer to the vector-drawn elements.
- 3D applications are 3D applications and feature an XYZ interface, similar to what is used in many modern video games.
Firemonkey is not only a visual framework but a full software development framework, and retains many features available with VCL. The major differences are:
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Vector drawn interface elements
- Any visual component can be a child of any other visual component allowing for creation of hybrid components
- Built-in styling support
- Support for visual effects (such as Glow, Inner Glow, Blur for example) and animation of visual components
As such, Firemonkey can serve as merely a UI for an external application, or serve as the application itself. Due to the framework being cross-platform compatible, the same source code can be used to deploy to the various platforms it supports. It natively supports 32-bit and 64-bit executables on Windows, and 32-bit executables on Mac OS X and iOS.
As of the release of XE3, iOS support has been dropped, but it is still possible to develop iOS applications using XE2 editions of the same products. The limitation is, however, that this functionality is supported only for OSX 10.6, XCode 4.2.1 and iOS SDK 4.3 and earlier. With XE4 the ability to develop iOS applications was restored by providing their own iOS compiler and by additional controls wrapping native iOS GUI elements. It has also been integrated more tightly with the IDE so that a Mac computer is only necessary for deployment and debugging on iOS devices and for Apple's iOS simulator.
Firemonkey 3/FM³ is the name of the framework in XE4, and though it provides similar features to what was shipped with XE2, there have been numerous improvements in many areas of the framework.
FireMonkey does not support RighttoLeft languages.