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PB 8-RAD Everywhere

PB 8-RAD Everywhere

The launch of PowerBuilder 8 coincides with the 10 year anniversary of the product. Sybase focused on three major areas in this release - the Web, EAServer integration, and n-tier development and productivity. Sybase has introduced a host of new features that speed up the development of client/server applications and provide some significant capabilities for next generation application development. The following is a Q & A with the PowerBuilder product manager, Sue Dunnell, and the editors of PBDJ.

Q: Toward whom is this release oriented?

A: This release was designed with the needs of our customer base in mind. Many of our customers plan to maintain and develop existing and new two-tier applications with PowerBuilder 8. For these customers we've added many features to help them build their applications faster and more efficiently. For customers who need to bring their existing applications to the Web or distributed environments, or create new applications for these architectures, PowerBuilder 8 offers new capabilities within a familiar IDE.

Q: What specific productivity capabilities are contained in the new release?

A: There are many changes in the IDE, such as the Clip Window, which stores frequently used code snippets, and the Output Window, which is used to show results of migrations, builds, deployments, project execution, object saves, and searches. There's also the System Tree that displays information about your applications, objects, syntax, and object models for client- and server-side scripting in Web applications and components in EAServer. It also provides easy-to-use drag-and-drop programming. New Java-style exception handling gracefully handles errors where they occur in an application through better object-oriented design methodology.

Q: What new features enable or ease the development of Web and n-tier applications?

A: We have some cool new wizards that will guide you through object creation and deployment for next generation applications. You can build and deploy components into EAServer without leaving the PowerBuilder IDE. For Web development, the DynamoWizard will build an ASA database and create the Web site in the database. It'll also create the target as well as the build, debug, and deployment configurations. The Web Target Object Model adds a layer of abstraction that makes building and deploying Web applications a truly RAD experience.

Q: Anything else new about the integration with EAServer?

A: PowerBuilder developers can be immediately productive using EAServer out of the box. We've tightly integrated PowerBuilder with EAServer in several ways. By using Wizards you can easily build and deploy components into EAServer without leaving PowerBuilder. PowerBuilder components can now be built based on existing interfaces inside of EAServer - this means that your design group can focus on design, not on how the applications in your organization will be written.

New exception handling capabilities enable PowerBuilder NVOs residing in EAServer to throw user-defined exceptions and gracefully handle other exceptions generated within intercomponent calls, regardless of the other component's implementation. Similarly, PowerBuilder clients can handle exceptions thrown from PowerBuilder, Java, C/C++, and EJB components providing a much more robust and maintainable end-user application.

Q: What are the benefits of using PB to build Web and n-tier applications over Java?

A: With Java, developers face two learning curves - understanding the new architectures that they're building for as well as learning the Java language. With PowerBuilder, one learning curve is removed from the picture and developers will be able to immediately contribute to their company's Web, n-tier, and e-business development efforts using a familiar tool.

The true cost of moving to Java is often underestimated by companies. It's a significant effort to learn the language well enough to develop sophisticated applications that PowerBuilder developers are accustomed to building and delivering quickly. Since Java is a 3GL, it's more difficult and time-intensive by definition. The 4GL RAD power of PowerBuilder enables developers to quickly deliver next-generation applications.

Q: Can you provide us with any insight into the features and timing of the next release of PowerBuilder?

A: We're in the planning stages now for the next release of PowerBuilder, and we're looking for input from PowerBuilder users. Currently, we plan to continue to strengthen our integration with EAServer and implement new functionality provided by that product. We have some other great ideas for the next release, and we're continuing to look for requirements and features customers would like to see in the product.

More Stories By Sue Dunnell

Sue Dunnell is the product manager for PowerBuilder, InfoMaker, DataWindow.NET, and Pocket PowerBuilder at Sybase. But, she began her career in criminal justice with undergraduate and graduate degrees in that field. Aftert nine years of private investigations, consulting, and teaching at Northeastern University, she switched fields and received a Master's degree from Northeastern's Graduate School of Engineering. Previously at Sybase, Sue worked in the Custom/Alliance techsupport group and in a staff position dedicated to internal training, hiring, customer service and certifications. Sue briefly left Sybase to work at an internet startup, but came back to PowerBuilder, and currently works in Concord, Massachusetts.

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