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Lazarus is a Delphi compatible cross-platform IDE for Rapid Application Development. It has variety of components ready for use and a graphical form designer to easily create complex graphical user interfaces.
Most similar to earlier versions of the Borland Delphi, Lazarus provides a highly visual development environment for the creation of rich user interfaces, application logic, and other supporting code artifacts. Along with the customary project management features, the Lazarus IDE also provides features that includes but are not limited to:
- A What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) visual windows layout designer
- An extensive set of GUI widgets or visual components such as edit boxes, buttons, dialogs, menus, etc.
- An extensive set of non-visual components for common behaviors such as persistence of application settings
- A set of data-connectivity components for MySQL, PostgreSQL, FireBird, Oracle, SQLite, Sybase, and others
- Data-aware widget set that allows the developer to see data in visual components in the designer to assist with development
- Interactive code debugger
- Code completion
- Code templates
- Syntax highlighting
- Context-sensitive help
- Text resource manager for internationalisation (internationalization)
- Automatic code formatting
- The ability to create custom components
Lazarus inherits three features from its use of the Free Pascal compiler: compile speed, execution speed, and cross-compilation. The Free Pascal compiler benefits from the Pascal language structure and the steady advancements of the Pascal compiler design (spanning several decades) to compile large applications quickly, often in a matter of seconds. When compiling reference programs for performance metrics, Lazarus produces programs that exhibit near or similar performance when compared with the same programs written in C.
An application that developers create using Lazarus on one platform can potentially compile and execute on any platform for which a Free Pascal compiler exists. The usual caveats of the limitations of the target platform apply; however, for desktop applications a single source can target Mac, Linux, and Windows, usually with very little or no modification. An example application is the Lazarus IDE which itself was created using the Lazarus IDE from a single code base and is available on all major platforms and also runs on the Raspberry PI.