InstantBDExpress: From the BDE to dbExpress

Many Delphi applications still use the Borland Database Engine (BDE) for data access. Although this is an obsolete technology, effective tools for a smooth transition from the BDE to the newer dbExpress  technology were never supplied with Delphi. dbExpress is available since Delphi 6, and considered robust and reliable since Delphi 7. This technology has been improved with each new version of Delphi and continues to be a very efficient way to manage data in SQL format.

Having to carry the BDE's dead wood along may prevent an application from working correctly on the latest versions of Windows and in particular environments such as Windows Terminal Services. Anyone who tried to do that knows all too well that making it work often requires configuration tweaks and tricks. The ability to use an engine that's lightweight, up-to-date and simple to deploy and configure represents a clear advantage for people coming from a BDE experience. The only problem is the difficulty in converting (or rewriting) existing applications, which do work although they are technologically obsolete.

Thanks to the experience gained by porting several big BDE applications to dbExpress, Ethea is now able to provide a library of components and development tools to support the conversion to dbExpress. Ethea can also provide qualified consultancy services to help in the process. The fundamental idea behind this offering is that  the application must be able to continue to work with the BDE during the (potentially long) porting and testing process.

InstantBDExpress is a dbExpress-based component library that emulates interface and behaviour of the BDE components, plus an array of techniques and methodologies to easily integrate these components in existing (possibly huge) applications. This combination of components and techniques allows to keep backward compatibility at the application level while switching data access libraries. This way of working will also allow developers to approach a new database through a gentler learning curve, continuing to use familiar tools and techniques where possible. InstantBDExpress allows access to all databases supported by dbExpress.

Supported Delphi Version

InstantBDExpress supports many Delphi versions: D7, D2007, D2010, DXE, DXE2, DXE3, DXE5, DXE6, DXE7, DXE8, D10 Seattle, D10.1 Berlin, D10.2 Tokyo and D10.3 Rio. Other versions are available only by request.

Price List

We have simplified the price list, in accordance with our experience about additional services and support that are normally requested.


  • Individual + KickStart (up to 2 mail requests about installation and compatibility) @ 499 €
  • Individual + Support (up to 2 days of support about development planning) @ 799 €
  • Team + Support (same as above with coverage for more developers) @ 999 €

Every license includes 2 full years of updates


  • Additional day of remote consultancy @ 499 €
  • Additional day of on premises consultancy TBD

With this new price list we try to provide, with a single item order, all needed ingredients to start a project.

About the invoicing, we can supply licenses and support directly, payment by SEPA Credit Transfer

Downloadable Trial version

You can Download the free InstantBDExpress Trial version and use it for evaluation with unlimited time!

Case studies

InstantBDExpress has enabled a lot of legacy applications to migrate from the BDE to a lighter and more up-to-date technology such as DBExpress. Here you can find a couple of brief, selected case studies that describe how we or our customers have done some conversions in the past. Reading them should help you understand whether InstantBDExpress is suited for your particular case or not:


Here is an online copy of the documentation we supply with InstantBDExpress:

Readme | Release notes Conversion strategies | Converting MastApp | FAQ.

Please contact us through the InstantBDExpress newsgroup or our site if you have any questions.

InstantBDExpress Administrator

InstantBDExpress Administrator

This tool is for administration of the database "Aliases", mimicking the way the BDE Administrator works.

Thus, you can configure the database access settings through a familiar user interface.

InstantBDExpress Administrator also features a metadata navigation function.

This tool is useful for people used to working with the BDE Administrator. It is not required to use and configure IBDX.

InstantBDExpress Components

The components in the InstantBDExpress package are the basis for transparent porting of an application.


Consultancy and development services

Ethea's philosophy is to give complete support for the conversion of an application from the BDE to dbExpress. For this reason, porting projects must be evaluated on a case by case basis, analyzing their starting point (the initial application) from several different points of view:

  • Size and complexity of the application
  • Use of low-level BDE calls (DBixxx)
  • Use of Paradox/Dbase tables or SQL databases
  • Use of TTable or TQuery components
  • Use of CachedUpdates or live queries
  • File-oriented or SQL-oriented application logic

Starting a porting project means, first of all, considering every related problem. For this reason Ethea offers its consulting services, together with the use licence of the InstantBDExpress components, to help the companies face this challenge in a professional way.

Ethea's consultancy consists of:

  • Analysis of the BDE application and identification of the main problems
  • Training about the use of the InstantBDExpress components
  • Technical support during the whole porting process
  • Analysis of possible enhancements for the application
  • On request, Ethea can take over the whole porting process


Contact us for any additional information.

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