Data types are types of data e.g. text data. For those of you who are familiar with Databases, a data type is like a field type. If you want to store any type of data then you need to tell Delphi what data type you need.
These are some of the data types (most used) you can use in Delphi:
Integer - Whole number e.g. 5.
Extended - Decimal number e.g. 5.5.
Char - One character e.g. 'A'.
String - A string of characters e.g. 'Delphi'.
PChar - A string for use with Win API (Applications Programming Interface).
var // This
starts a section of variables
LineTotal : Integer; // This defines an
Integer variable called LineTotal
First,Second : String; // This defines two
variables to hold strings of text
We'll show later exactly where this var section fits into your program.
Notice that the variable definitions are indented - this makes the code easier
to read - indicating that they are part of the var block.
Each variable starts with the name you choose, followed by a : and then
the variable type. As with all Delphi statements, a ; terminates the
line. As you can see, you can define multiple variables in one line if they are
of the same type.
It is very important that the name you choose for each variable is unique,
otherwise Delphi will not know how to identify which you are referring to. It
must also be different from the Delphi language keywords. You'll know when you
have got it right when Delphi compiles your code OK (by hitting Ctrl-F9 to
Delphui is not sensitive about the case (lower or upper) of your names. It
treats theCAT name the same as TheCat. Number types Delphi provides many different
data types for storing numbers. Your choice depends on the data you want to
handle. Our Word Processor line count is an unsigned Integer, so we might choose
Word which can hold values up to 65,535. Financial or mathematical
calculations may require numbers with decimal places - floating point numbers.
// Integer data types :
Int1 : Byte; //0 to
Int2 : ShortInt; // -127 to
Int3 : Word; //0 to
Int4 : SmallInt; //-32,768 to
Int5 : LongWord; //0 to
Int6 : Cardinal; //0 to
Int7 : LongInt;// -2,147,483,648 to
Int8 : Integer;// -2,147,483,648 to
Int9 : Int64;// -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to
Some simple numerical variable useage examples are given below. Text typesLike many other languages, Delphi
allows you to store letters, words, and sentences in single variables. These can
be used to display, to hold user details and so on. A letter is stored in a
single character variable type, such as Char, and words and sentences
stored in string types, such as String.
Str1 : Char;// Holds a single
character, small alphabet
Str2 : WideChar;// Holds a single
character, International alphabet
Str3 : AnsiChar;// Holds a single
character, small alphabet
Str4 : ShortString; // Holds a string of up to
Str5 : String;// Holds strings of Char's
of any size desired
Str6 : AnsiString;// Holds strings of
AnsiChar's any size desired
Str7 : WideString;// Holds strings of
WideChar's of any size desired
Some simple text variable useage examples are given below .These are used in
conjunction with programming logic. They are very simple:
Log1 : Boolean; // Can be 'True' or 'False'
Boolean variables are a form of enumerated type. This means that they can
hold one of a fixed number of values, designated by name. Here, the values can
be True or False. See the tutorials on
Sets, enumerations and subtypes Delphi
excels in this area. Using sets and enumerations makes your code both easier to
use and more reliable. They are used when categories of data are used. For
example, you may have an enumeration of playing card suits. You literally
enumerate the suit names. Before we can have an enumerated variable, we must
define the enumeration values. This is done in a type section.
TSuit = (Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades);//
Defines the enumeration var
suit : TSuit;
// An enumeration variable
Sets are often confused with enumerations. The difference is tricky to
understand. An enumeration variable can have only one of the enumerated values.
A set can have none, 1, some, or all of the set values. Here, the set values are
not named - they are simply indexed slots in a numeric range. Confused? Well,
here is an example to try to help you out. It will introduce a bit of code a bit
early, but it is important to understand.
TWeek = Set of 1..7; // Set
comprising the days of the week, by number var
week : TWeek; begin
week := [1,2,3,4,5];// Switch on the
first 5 days of the week end;
Using these simple data typesVariables can be read from and written to.
This is called assignment. They can also be used in expressions and
programming logic. Assigning to and from variablesVariables
can be assigned from constant values, such as 23 and 'My Name',
and also from other variables. The code below illustrates this assignment, and
also introduces a further section of a Delphi program : the const
(constants) section. This allows the programmer to give names to constant
values. This is useful where the same constant is used throughout a program - a
change where the constant is defined can have a global effect on the program.
Note that we use upper case letters to identify constants. This is just a
convention, since Delphi is not case sensitive with names (it is with strings).
Note also that we use = to define a constant value.
TWeek = 1..7; // Set comprising the
days of the week, by number
TSuit = (Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, Spades);//
Defines an enumeration
FirstName, SecondName : String; // String
Age : Byte; // Integer
Height: Single; // Decimal
IsTall: Boolean;// Boolean
OtherName : String; // String
Week: TWeek;// A set
Suit: TSuit;// An
begin // Begin starts a block of code
FirstName:= FRED;// Assign from
SecondName := 'Bloggs';// Assign from a
Age:= YOUNG_AGE; // Assign from
Age:= 55;// Assign from
constant - overrides YOUNG_AGE
Height := TALL - 5.5;// Assign from a
mix of constants
IsTall := NO;// Assign from
OtherName:= FirstName; // Assign from
Week := [1,2,3,4,5]; // Switch on the
first 5 days of the week
Suit := Diamonds;// Assign to an
enumerated variable end; // End finishes a block of code
FirstNameis now set to 'Fred'
SecondName is now set to 'Bloggs'
Ageis now set to 55
Height is now set to 191.4
IsTall is now set to False
OtherNameis now set to 'Fred'
Week is now set to 1,2,3,4,5
Suit is now set to Diamonds(Notice no quotes)
Note that the third constant, TALL, is defined as a Single type. This is
called a typed constant. It allows you to force Delphi to use a type for
the constant that suits your need. Ohterwise, it will make the decision itself.
Compound data typesThe simple data types are like single elements. Delphi
provides compound data types, comprising collections of simple data types.
These allow programmers to group together variables, and treat this group as a
single variable. When we discuss programming logic, you will see how useful this
can be. ArraysArray collections are accessed by
index. An array holds data in indexed 'slots'. Each slot holds one variable of
data. You can visualise them as lists. For example:
Suits : array[1..4] of String;// A list of
4 playing card suit names
Suits := 'Hearts';// Assigning to array
Suits := 'Diamonds';// Assigning to array
Suits := 'Clubs'; // Assigning to array
Suits := 'Spades';// Assigning to array
index 4 end;
The array defined above has indexes 1 to 4 (1..4). The two dots indicate a
range. We have told Delphi that the array elements will be string variables. We
could equally have defined integers or decimals.
For more on arrays, Records are like arrays in that they
hold collections of data. However, records can hold a mixture of data types.
Ther are a very powerful and useful feature of Delphi, and one that
distinguishes Delphi from many other languages.
Normally, you will define your own record structure. This definition is not
itself a variable. It is called a data type
It is defined in a type data section. By convention, the record
type starts with a T to indicate that it is a type not real data (types
are like templates). Let us define a customer record:
firstName : string;
age : byte; end;
Note that the strings are suffixed with . This tells Delphi to make a
fixed space for them. Since strings can be a variable length, we must tell
Delphi so that it can make a record of known size. Records of one type always
take up the same memory space.
Let us create a record variable from this record type and assign to it:
customer : TCustomer;// Our
customer variable begin
customer.firstName := 'Fred';// Assigning
to the customer record
customer.age := 55; end;
customer.firstName is now set to 'Fred'
customer.lastNameis now set to 'Bloggs'
customer.age is now set to 55
Notice how we do not use an index to refer to the record elements. Records are
very friendly - we use the record element by its name, separated from the record
name by a qualifying dot. Objects Objects are collections of both data
and logic. They are like programs, but also like data structures. They are the
key part of the Object oriented nature of Delphi.
Other data typesThe remaining main object types in Delphi are a mixed
bunch: FilesFile variables represent computer disk
files. You can read from and write to these files using file access routines.
reference. They allow variables to be indirectly referenced. VariantsVariants are also an advanced topic
They allow the normal Delphi rigid type handling to be avoided. Use with care!
Type definitionsWhen we discussed Records above, we introduced the
concept of types. Delphi has many predefined data types - both simple,
such as string, and compound, such as
holds X and Y coordinates of a point).