Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the ‘Shadow Me’ course?

A: This course allows 16 participants to follow Mike Leahy as he creates the next generation of Chess Openings Wizard for Windows and Macintosh. It will probably take 2 to 3 months. Some new part will be introduced about five times each week. Weekly video conferences will allow questions and answers. All of the material will be captured on a private blog. All the source code created will be available.

Other participants will be allowed to audit the course but without access to the video conferences or the source code. Video about the course

Q: When does it start?

A: Registration opens at noon New York time on Friday June 14th. Those doing the first round of homework can email Mike for a chance at early registration.
The course material should start by Sunday June 16th.

Q: Is there a cost?

A: Yes, there are two levels of tuition. One level gets direct access to Mike via webinars, videos, email and a development blog. Source code for the program is included. A second less expensive level gets to view the blog and videos but with no access to the source code or live webinars and limited ability to pose questions.

The cost of the course does not include development tools such as Delphi.

Q: What tools are used?

A: For this course we’ll be using Delphi XE4 from Embarcadero which is based on object pascal. (C++ programmers should be able to easily follow along using RAD Studio XE4.)

Q: Will this cover apps for iOS (iPad, iPhone) or Android?

A: This course will not cover other devices but the new version for Mac and Windows is being made so that the data can be easily shared with upcoming apps for iOS and Android.

Upcoming versions of Delphi are supposed to have support for Android.

Q: What is the new database?

A: The new program will be using SQLite 3.

Q: What is the first homework for the course?

A: If you want to get a jump on the homework, the first homework is to download install a trial version of Delphi XE4 Architect from Embarcadero. Then email Mike for further instructions.

Q: Are there free alternatives to the Delphi XE4 product?

A: Not really. Lazarus is a free open source compiler that works much like Delphi but not nearly well enough for this project.  The “Starter” Delphi XE4 is $149 as an upgrade from any other development environment. Academic pricing is also available. Delphi XE4 Starter is limited to Windows development only.

Q: What are the prerequisites for this course?

A: Some programming skill is certainly useful. While the course will not teach programming from scratch, it will be a gentle introduction to creating an app.

C++ programmers can definitely use RAD Studio XE4 and follow all the steps in this course.

Q:Why is the Architect version recommended for download as a 30 day trial?

A: Embarcadero only offers the highest level of Delphi for the 30 day trial. This version is $3,599.10 but don’t worry! This is not the version we’ll be using to finish the product. This is just to get you started for free. If after 30 days you want to continue developing, I’ll be using the Professional version for $899 and you may want an even cheaper version for just Windows or you may qualify for academic pricing.

Q: Why Delphi?

A: I’ve been using this product since its roots from Turbo Pascal over 25 years ago. In my opinion it is the easiest and fastest tool for creating this kind of software. They’ve added support for iOS and about to add support for Android.

Q: What if I want to develop on a Mac?

A: I’m developing on the Mac too. Download a 30 day free trial of VM Fusion 5 on your Mac and then add a copy of Windows 7 to it. Windows will run for 30 days before it requires that you register it. After 30 days, VM Fusion is $49 and an OEM copy of Windows 7 is about $79 online.

Once you have Windows running on your Mac, download and install that copy of Delphi XE4.