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I am fairly comfortable creating applications in Delphi. I can put up a static page on the web.
I have little experience of the "innards" of TCP/IP and HTTP... but with a little help, I've made a small application which can fetch the HTML inside a webpage from across the internet, and look at it. It's a start! (I make no attempt to convert the HTML into the display that a browser presents.)(You really don't need the details of what my application does, but if you want them, they are at my FarWatchWatcher page. It is a module in a system- FarWatch- to monitor premises remotely.)
I spoke of "a little help". Actually, it was a great deal of help. I started with a demo application which fetches the contents of a web page and puts it in a memo. I have very little knowledge of the details of that... thank heavens. A freeware suite of tools for Delphi (or C++) did all of the "heavy lifting" for me. More on that in a moment. "All" I did was the programming concerned with looking at what was in the memo after it had been fetched. The demo I built my application on included the capability of using DNS.... in other words, I could ask for the contents of, say, http://bbc.co.uk, and the looking up of the IP address was taken care of for me behind the scenes. (It also works if I put in an IP address... be the server "out on the web", or local, e.g. at 192.168.0.150, say.)
From here, we will....
I'm not... in general... a fan of third party components for Delphi. I'm probably a fool for eschewing them, but I am a sane fool who's mental equilibrium hasn't been taxed by some of the extra "issues" which can arise.
However, for every rule, there are exceptions. I am very happy to install the (free!) "Internet Component Suite" into my Delphi, for the many extra opportunities it creates for me.
It has been around for a long time. It has a thriving forum where serious people discuss technical things intelligently. I've never had my Delphi installation misbehave as a result of the presence of the ICS.
Go to the OverByte site, and use the menu at the left to drill down into the ICS material. Enjoy! (You don't, by the way, need to install a subversion client to download and use the ICS. But DO read the "install" notes in the textfile in the zip.)
In November 2010 I installed the ICS from scratch in an XP machine and used it with Delphi 7, the "Personal" edition. Note: Some editions of later versions of Delphi do not allow you to install third party components. The people owning the rights to Delphi in 2010 have not, for at least several years, seemed very interested in the amateur or hobbyist. Pity.
I have done a separate page with details of how I installed the Piette ICS on my Windows XP system, November, 2010.
I hope I've already convinced you to try the ICS? If so, you can go to the "How I installed" page from the link above, or skip down to the "Blocking..." or "Adapting..." topics below. If you're still wondering if you need ICS, the rest of this section is here to help with that.
The following is adapted from text on the site ICS comes from.... Begin Quote from OverByte.de....
The Internet Component Suite is composed of various Internet components and applications. It is distributed as freeware with full source code for all Delphi and C++Builder versions. The sample applications exist in two forms: Object Pascal (for Delphi) and C++ (for C++Builder). The components are written in Object Pascal native VCL which can be compiled by Delphi as well as C++Builder.
....End Quote from OverByte.de=========================
The following is adapted from material at another supporter's site, http://www.mestdagh.biz/ics/help/. .... Begin Quote from mestdagh.biz....
At the heart of ICS are TWSocket and TWSocketServer components. They encapsulates the winsock API, offering support for TCP, UDP, and ICMP protocol. Included in the suite is a series of higher level components, encapsulating various common Internet protocols, such as POP3, SMTP, FTP, HTTP, SOCKS and others. All of these components either use TWSocket or are derived from it. Some of the components have a synchronous version (like TSyncPop3Cli), while others have synchronous methods added. However, the use of either of these is deprecated. It is strongly encouraged to use the asynchronous version (like TPop3Cli) or the asynchronous methods instead (see individual help.) Asynchronous means that a component is non-blocking; a method call will return immediately while the component will do the request in the background. When the request is done, an event will fire indicating it. Using synchronous approaches can lead to blocking.
End Quote from mestdagh.biz
The issues of synchronous/ blocking approaches are explored more fully elsewhere.
To every simple question there is a simple answer... and it is wrong.
When you "talk" across the internet, you encounter delays. Within a Windows or other modern computer, it is a problem if a program "hangs up" in a loop, waiting for the end of a delay.
There are answers to the dilemma... answers you will have to master if you are to make much progress with TCP/IP programming. I have produced a separate page trying to help you understand the need for non-blocking programming.
If you are new to TCP/IP programming, you will, I hope, be amazed by what you can learn in my tutorial which ostensibly makes "just a little" modification of the OverByte demo "OverByteICSHttpTst". I certainly learnt a lot while writing it!
Click here if you're feeling kind! (Promotes my site via "Top100Borland")
If you visit 1&1's site from here, it helps me. They host my website, and I wouldn't put this link up for them if I wasn't happy with their service. They offer things for the beginner and the corporation.
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