Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Trevor Parsons, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder: Article

What Do You Want to See in PowerBuilder 12?

That's not just my question for you this month, it's also Sybase's question for you as well

What do you want to see in PowerBuilder 12?

That's not just my question for you this month, it's also Sybase's question for you as well. Two things demonstrate that. The first is the recent invitation to participate in a survey by Sue Dunnell, PowerBuilder's product manager, so PowerBuilder users could "provide some feedback to us as we plan for the next major release of PowerBuilder." The survey may still be assessable by the time you read this at www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi?p=WEB226LD7N48ZT

The second is a series of posts by Dave Fish, PowerBuilder engineering evangelist, in the sybase.public.powerbuilder.futures.discussions section of the Sybase newsgroups. In those posts, he discusses in broad terms particular areas where they're planning new features for 11.x and 12.0 and solicits input on the direction.
Specifically:
• 11.x enhancements (incremental compile, Informix 10, Vista support)
• Managed Code (including a feature reduced DataWindow based on WPF)
• .NET 3.5 support (particularly LINQ)
• Presentation Layer (support development for WCF, XBAP, and Silverlight)
• Visual Studio Shell (OEM Visual Studio editor for window and DataWindow painters - particularly to support Silverlight and WPF development)
• Language enhancements (interfaces, parameterized constructors, generics, partial classes)
• WCF, WorkFlow, and CardSpace

Dave notes that it can't be stressed enough that these enhancements are currently in the consideration stage and so "this list could change and some features could be added and some dropped from the final implementation."

I've made my own comments in the threads there in the newsgroups, but I'll summarize them here as well. As much as I see the PowerBuilder 11 release as a step in the right direction, there are at least four areas where I believe that dramatic improvement are still required. The other enhancements that are being considered are important as well, but these four are the highest on my priority list. In particular:

Incremental Compile - There are subtle differences in the behavior of a Win32 deployed application and its WinForm and more significantly its WebForm deployed versions. Therefore, debugging the Win32 target is not always useful in determining where a problem is occurring in one of the .NET deploys. Currently we have to do a full compile of a .NET target application after making even the smallest change before we can debug and run it. For particularly large applications, that can significantly hinder developer productivity. We need incremental compile to ensure that the productivity of developing .NET targets is roughly the same as for developing Win32 targets. The sooner, the better.

Managed Code - Web server administrators are very reluctant (to put it mildly) to host .NET WebForm applications that have dependencies on unmanaged code. That current limitation of the product is a significant barrier to small shops that have their sites hosted by ISPs and large enterprise shops that have separate Web application hosting departments that essentially act as internal ISPs. Fully managed code is important for the other .NET target types as well, but it's critical for WebForm targets. Assuming these enhancements are included in DataWindow.NET, it will reduce barriers to that products adoption by .NET shops as well.

Visual Studio Shell - That particular enhancement is of interest to me only to the degree to which it gives us additional features (more powerful intellisense, collapsing code blocks, refactoring, smart tags, track changes, tabbed MDI sheets) without tying up Sybase developer resources. The advantage I see is to reuse something that's readily available and functional rather than try to build it internally to free up developer resources to work on enhancements in other areas of the product. If integrating the shell turns out to require significant resources and might result in reducing resources available to work on other enhancements, then I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

Language Enhancements - I'm not a big fan of PowerScript playing "me-too" with Java and C# as far as language features go. Akin to my arguments concerning the Visual Studio Shell as an alternate editor, I'd rather see Sybase reuse something that's readily available and already provides the features rather than trying to add them to the existing product. In particular, I believe one of the concerns that many companies have with adopting or continuing to use PowerBuilder is the proprietary nature of the language, one of the major features of both Java and C# that modifying PowerScript will do nothing to address. I had a couple of major misunderstandings about what the conditional compilation feature in PowerBuilder 11 was going to be, and didn't realize what it was actually going to be until fairly late in the beta. My original impression was that the code that would be entered between the conditional blocks would actually be C#. I was also under the impression that the result would work not only for .NET targets but also with Win32 targets. The latter impression had to do with what "interop" truly is - interaction between .NET and Win32 code. I'm convinced that what my original impression of conditional compile was is still where we need to be. It's good that I'm able to reference .NET assemblies in my PowerBuilder code. However, we shouldn't need to use a modified version of PowerScript to do it. When I look up documentation on those .NET assemblies, there's bound to be sample code provided to demonstrate how to use it, and that sample code will be provided in VB.NET or C#. A PowerBuilder developer shouldn't have to guess how to convert that into something that PowerBuilder will understand. Let's just open it up so that I can use C# directly in those conditional blocks. Frankly, I didn't find C# all that hard to learn - it's just another scripting language. Similar to when you were first learning to use PFC, the hard part about .NET programming isn't the scripting language. What's hard is sorting through all the classes and methods available and then figuring out which to use and how to use them. Being able to use the results of referencing .NET assemblies in a Win32 target is also an important, and overlooked, enhancement need. I've demonstrated in previous PBDJ issues how to create a COM-callable wrapper for .NET assemblies and use them within a Win32 PowerBuilder target. What we need is the capability in PowerBuilder to create such assemblies and their wrappers and then use them in Win32 targets without having to handle the "wiring" that you have to do today.

That's my list. The question is: what's yours? You don't need to agree with me. But what you do need to do is make sure your own voice is heard. If it's still available go answer Sue's survey. Sign onto the Sybase newsgroups and add your comments to Dave's threads about the future of the product. Sybase is showing an interest in getting user input into the direction of the product like it never has before, and we'll only have ourselves to blame if the product doesn't meet our needs because we didn't respond.

More Stories By Bruce Armstrong

Bruce Armstrong is a development lead with Integrated Data Services (www.get-integrated.com). A charter member of TeamSybase, he has been using PowerBuilder since version 1.0.B. He was a contributing author to SYS-CON's PowerBuilder 4.0 Secrets of the Masters and the editor of SAMs' PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.