February 23, 2001

Lazarus , the Open Source answer to Kylix

Author: JT Smith

A new version of the Lazarus IDE is available for download and
review.

Lazarus is a RAD Object Pascal Development IDE for use with Free Pascal. Version 0.7 has many more features available then the previous release. It now uses the latest release of SynEdit. The use of SynEdit is an indication of the ability of porting Delphi code to Lazarus.While many aspects of the product are being fined tuned here is a list of some of the things found in the IDE.

Form Designer

Object Inspector

Editor Options

Compiler Options

Environment Options

Project Options

Code Completion

Syntax Highlighting

The IDE is built with the Lazarus LCL (Lazarus Class Libraries) which is analogous to the Delphi VCL. The LCL is designed to be widget independent so it can be built and run with different API widgets sets. Currently most development work is being done using GTK+ and the IDE can be run in Linux and to a certain extent in Win32. The problems with Win32 are related to the GTK+ version for Win32. Interfaces for the native Windows API and Qt are also under development. In the future interfaces for KDE, Gnome and other libraries will be available. The widget set used is determined by which one you compile and link against. No changes to your source code are required.

Lazarus is designed to work with Free Pascal. This means that any platform where Free Pascal can run you can build and use Lazarus. To date version of Lazarus have been built on Linux, Win32, and FreeBSD. The IDE looks and operates in much the same fashion as the Delphi IDE. If you are familiar with Delphi then you will immediately understand the Lazarus IDE. A screen shot of the IDE can be seen here. Unit information is saved in .PP files and Form layouts are saved in .LFM files. The .LFM files are similar to the .DFM files found in Delphi. The only difference is that the .LFM file needs to be first turned into a .LRS file before compiling the code. In the future this step will be incorporated into the IDE itself. This step allows the Form data to be streamed into the code.

The documentation for the source code is built nightly and you can download nightly builds of the Linux version of the IDE. ftp://lazarus.freepascal.org/lazarus/lazaruslinux.tar.gz. We would appreciate any and all help with development or testing of the IDE.
While the ability to use the IDE itself is limited the mere fact that the IDE can be built and run at all indicates the level of the LCL and the ability it provides to write Delphi like applications for Linux.

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