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TechWave 2004

A review of the keynotes, sessions, and more

The question that the folks who didn't attend generally ask is: "How was it?" Unfortunately, I was a bit too close to the action this year to give an adequate answer, but I did keep a daily blog, which is presented to you here.

Getting to TechWave

Compared to a lot of other folks, I got to the conference pretty easily despite Hurricane Charley. My flight wasn't delayed and the shuttle from the airport to the convention center arrived within minutes of my obtaining the ticket. A number of other people had to take alternate flights into Tampa Bay or even Atlanta and then drive in. I also heard of people having to wait an hour or more for a shuttle from the airport.

There was some hurricane damage at the Orlando airport. I saw a broken window around the tram that takes you from the terminal to baggage claim. The convention center was unharmed, but there was damage in the neighboring areas, such as a downed tree in the parking lot and damaged signage at the local businesses.

The folks from the power company who were doing emergency repairs were also staying at the conference center hotel, so one of the sights we were treated to was a huge line of work crews heading out to do repairs.

They've added a lot more entertainment at the hotel this year. There was a laser light show in the atrium every night at 9:30 p.m., and when I arrived, there were also a number of entertainers performing throughout the hotel, although it may have been for the conference prior to ours that was just ending.

The additional good news is that the hotel Internet connections were working well this year.


Registration was a piece of cake like last year. The e-mail kiosks are back, as well as the Internet hot spots throughout the conference area.

Opening Session

Sybase hasn't announced where TechWave 2005 will be, but John Chen, CEO of Sybase, did indicate during the opening session that it's returning to the West Coast. He also presented some arguments that this is finally the year when wireless (unwired) technologies will take off.

John Davies, vice president for solutions at Intel, talked about some of the initiatives that involve both Intel and Sybase technologies; he then brought out Juan Jose Ferreris, a physician, who discussed how he uses a Sybase-based technology to implement an electronic medical records system (MediNotes). Ferreris was followed by Brian Vink, vice president of marketing for iAnyWhere, who presented the 2004 Innovator Award to Gavril Nanaziashvili of MediNotes and John Greisz of DB Microware.

Cindy Bean, ISUG President, made the 2004 ISUG Achievement Award to Sethu Meenakshisunderam (Sybase director of engineering for the Data Management Group), Luc Van der Veurt (former ISUG president and current member at large), and myself.

Database Keynote

One big improvement this year: instead of trying to have the database and tools keynotes in a single session, they were split up. The database keynote was on Tuesday morning and the tools keynote on Wednesday.

The database keynote was introduced by Raj Nathan, Sybase vice president. He was followed by Tom Rabon, executive VP of corporate affairs for Red Hat, who talked about Red Hat's relationship with Sybase.

Irfan Khan, director of evangelism for Sybase, then discussed new features and options in upcoming ASE versions such as dynamic archiving and dynamic auditing. Javier Cuerva, a Sybase evangelist, then demonstrated some of these new features.

On the iAnywhere side, Dave Neudoerffer discussed new features in a number of the iAnywhere products such as server-initiated synchronization, then Alex Reif gave a demo of some of those new features.

Tools Keynote

The tools technote opened with a "birthday cake" for Sybase, celebrating 20 years of business.

Jonathan Baker, PowerBuilder evangelist, talked about the history of PowerBuilder; then a video was shown that included Raj Nathan and Alex Whitney, a former Sybase employee and current Sybase customer. John Strano, PowerBuilder evangelist, talked about features of the just-released PowerBuilder 10 as well as some of the upcoming features of PowerBuilder 11:

  • .NET transformer
  • Rich Internet architecture
  • PowerScript enhancements
  • DataWindow enhancements (UI and functionality)
  • UI enhancements
  • SOA support via enhanced Web services
He then demonstrated the XML DataWindow in PB10, and TablePC support coming in PB 10.1 (such as the new ink picture control and the new signature control). That was followed by another video of Kathleen Schaub, VP of marketing, and then Alex again.

Ian Thain then talked about Pocket PowerBuilder 1.5.2 and the upcoming features in PocketBuilder 2.0, including phone enabling, SmartPhone support, ADO.NET support, remote debugging, native controls for new hardware, and WM2003-SE support. Ian finished with a demo of PocketBuilder.

A video of Niel McGovern, director of strategy for XcelleNet, was then shown, after which Shari Freeman, manager of Afaria, talked about their product (Afaria is an XcelleNet product, and XcelleNet is a recent Sybase acquisition).

Dimitri Volkman, worldwide product line director, Sybase enterprise products and technologies, tools, appeared in a video and talked about PowerDesigner features with Mike Nicewarner, a PowerDesigner customer.

Dave Dichman, product manager, and Matt Creason, product evangelist, demonstrated PowerDesigner 10 followed by a video of Raj talking about PowerBuilder and PowerDesigner, and Jim Sheehan of PowerObjects, a Sybase VAR.

Dave Fish, PowerBuilder specialist, spoke about "DataWindows Everywhere" followed by a demo of DataWindow.NET. Version 1.5 of DataWindow.NET will add support for Web forms and dot notation - the beta of which will start by the end of this year. DataWindow.NET 2.0 will add support for DataSets, the incorporation of the DataWindow Designer into the IDE, and support for .NET 2.0 when it becomes available. The release of DataWindow.NET 2.0 is planned for the end of 2005.

Dave also indicated that PowerBuilder 11+ (also by the end of 2005) will also provide support for a generation of WebForms and WindowForms in .NET.

The next video was of Irfan talking about Appeon and Web DataWindows and Dean Jones of PowerObjects talking about their success with Sybase products, including Appeon. Rex Geissler then did a demo of the Web DataWindow and Appeon.

Jonathan Baker talked about "Street Team," a program designed to reward people for contributing to SDN.

Raj Nathan brought out Sue Dunnell and talked about the future of PowerBuilder, PowerDesigner, and other tools. Unlike the slides shown by the other presenters, his slides included a PBVM for Linux: 9 Q4 2005, 10 Q1 2005.

There should be a beta at end of this year or 1Q 2005 for a Java-centric (Eclipse-based) development center (Sybase Workspace).

At the end of the session, Raj and a number of Sybase staffers threw "Street Team" T-shirts into the audience.

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.

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