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Delphi vs Java

The Department of Basic Education recently released a circular stating that the programming language for Information Technology will be standardised to Delphi from 2014. Currently some provinces teach Java, an open source programming language while others teach Delphi.

Delphi is a programming language based on Pascal which incorporates object-orientation and is built around a graphical environment. It is event driven in that you begin with your interface, place graphical objects on to this and then provide the events and user objects as necessary.  Java is more “pure” in its object-orientation in that you always work with a class which then becomes an object.

There have been many parties in education and industry that feel negatively about this change and with good reason. It will be difficult to effectively train teachers new to Delphi and have them sufficiently well-resourced by 2014 in order to teach effectively in the new language. Another complaint is also how the DBE went about its decision and the way in which the change was discovered. These issues do not change the fact though that the programming will be standardised to Delphi and so educators and departments need to train for this. The good news is that it will be easier to build and find resources for a single programming language. The exit practical examination in grade 12 will be more easily aligned with the CAPS document and in fact allow for more creativity within the  exam as the examiners do not have to ensure that every concept that is examined can be equally assessed in both Java and Delphi without any advantage or disadvantage to either side. This is a critical factor that could strengthen the subject.  Decisions and changes like these will always be extremely controversial but it is a situation where everyone needs to make the best of it.

2013 IT PAT

So another year and another new PAT theme. The 2013 PAT theme is centered around a registration and voting process with possibly a random selection feature.

The wording in the PAT guidelines is “The learner is expected to write a program that could be used to manage one of the following:
• An election process
• A competition to identify a winner

Popular options for this theme will no doubt be programs designed to manage music competitions and sport events. This post is to add some feature ideas to these options.

This theme lends itself to a nice set of Internet related features as well as other external features. Featuring network connectivity is an obvious one but the program could also create a webpage interface allowing users to enter information that is stored in the database. This could be done by generated HTML. A central database is key with the program needing to be well designed in order to manage incoming data from a number of clients.

Another option is to make use of mobile devices in a voting process. This could include special apps written to submit data or be as simple as sending an email with the user’s chosen options for later processing.

A Grade 12 IT PAT must display advanced programming skills, database developement and good graphical user interface design in order to achieve an excellent result. These should always be kept in mind when planning and investigating a proposed software. The theme again lends itself to a database driven application and so care should be taken by learners that they incorporate enough features to attract marks in all sections of the Phase 3 rubric.

Download 2013 PAT