PowerBuilder Authors: Chris Pollach, Yeshim Deniz, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Kevin Benedict, Avi Rosenthal

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PBDJ Cover Story — Why Upgrade to PB11?

An overview of some of the new features

Why upgrade to PowerBuilder 11? Here are some interesting and compelling reasons in my opinion...

First, before we even get into the PowerBuilder details, PB 11 will be shipping with the new SQL Anywhere version 10 DBMS. This newest release is "jam-packed" with over 200 new features and performance improvements so this DBMS engine will rival the big guys like Oracle, DB/2, SS2005 - but at a fraction of the price. What caught my eye were features like table encryption, column compression, reduced locking overhead, parallel queries, improved BLOB indexing, failover/mirroring, .NET 2.0 support, performance and application analysis tools , Web services, etc.

To view a detailed PowerPoint presentation on all the new features of SQL Anywhere 10 by iAnywhere Canada's Dave Shiposh, go to http://files.blog-city.com/files/M05/128508/b/sqlanywhere10.pps.

New Target Types
PowerBuilder 11.0 introduces new target types that include:

  • Application (the legacy PowerScript application target)
  • .NET Windows Forms Application
  • .NET Web Forms Application
  • .NET Web Service
  • .NET Assembly
  • EAServer Component
  • Application Server Component
  • JavaServer Pages (same as in earlier PowerBuilder releases)
Each target type requires the creation of a project that you use to deploy, run, or debug the target application or component. For component targets, you can indicate the application you want to use to test your component in the development environment.

.NET Web Forms Deployment
With PowerBuilder 11, you can deploy PowerBuilder applications that will run in a browser as ASP.NET 2.0 applications. To do that, create a .NET Web Forms project using the .NET Web Forms Application Wizard and deploy the application from the .NET Web Forms Project painter. You can test the Web application by right-clicking on the project in the System Tree and selecting the Run Project menu item in the context menu. Your end users will access the deployed application through a browser with a URL that you provide. If your PowerBuilder application is an MDI application, the MDI sheets are displayed as tab pages in the deployed Web application when multiple sheets are opened.

Most PowerBuilder features, including embedded SQL, file operations, DataWindow printing, and calling external functions, are supported in Web Forms applications. Features that are not appropriate for Web deployment, such as drag-and-drop, are not supported. When deploying an application, PowerBuilder reports all unsupported features used by the application in the Output window. The Web Forms deployment feature is suitable for applications of moderate complexity that use query, data transaction, and reporting features. Typically, only minor adjustments to PowerScript code are necessary before you deploy PowerBuilder applications as .NET Web Forms applications.

This feature enables you to easily and quickly deploy PowerBuilder applications to the Web without incurring a steep learning curve for building and deploying .NET Web Forms applications. You can leverage existing skills and experience in PowerBuilder to deploy applications to ASP.NET servers.

.NET Windows Forms Deployment
With PowerBuilder 11, you can deploy PowerBuilder applications as .NET Windows Forms applications. To do that, create a .NET Windows Forms project using the .NET Windows Forms Application Wizard and deploy the application with the .NET Windows Forms Project painter. You can then test the Windows Forms application by right-clicking on the project in the System Tree and selecting the Run Project context menu item, or by selecting Run from the toolbar of the Windows Forms Project painter.

Most PowerBuilder features, including drag-and-drop, registry, and clipboard functions, are supported in Windows Forms applications. In most cases, these features behave the same as they do in client/server PowerBuilder applications, but may have a slightly different appearance. Please refer to the online Help for further details.

The Windows Forms deployment feature is an extension of the traditional PowerBuilder Win32 application in the .NET environment. You can create .NET Windows Forms applications in PowerScript syntax without incurring the learning curve often necessary for application deployment to the .NET platform. With the .NET interoperability features of PowerBuilder 11, you can leverage functionality provided by the .NET Framework and third-party tool vendors.

Smart Client Deployment
In the past few years, Web-based applications have dominated the application deployment market. One of the key reasons to choose Web-based applications is the ease of deployment. The PowerBuilder 11 smart client deployment feature is designed to leverage this benefit and simplify application deployment. Smart client applications bring together the best of both worlds: a combination of the richness your end users are used to with client/server-based applications combined with the ease of deployment of Web applications.

PowerBuilder 11 has a new component called the intelligent updater that you can use to make .NET Windows Forms applications self-updatable quickly and easily. Enable smart client deployment in the .NET Windows Forms Application Wizard to take advantage of this feature. For further details, please refer to the online Help.

Deploy Nonvisual Objects as .NET Classes in .NET Assemblies
Nonvisual objects can now be deployed as .NET classes in .NET assemblies. During deployment, the namespace can be specified and the class and function names can be modified in the deployed version. Standard data types such as int and char can be exposed as .NET nullable types.

.NET Debugger
With PowerBuilder 11, you can debug PowerBuilder .NET applications in the PowerBuilder debugger. To do that, you must first deploy the .NET target. You can invoke the debugger by clicking the "Debug" icon in the toolbar, or by right-clicking on the project in the System Tree and selecting the Debug menu item.

The .NET Debugger enables you to easily debug PowerBuilder .NET applications, since it has almost the same operations as the PowerBuilder native debugger. Most PowerBuilder debugging features, including expression evaluation and conditional breakpoints, are supported in .NET applications. The "Objects in Memory" view and variable breakpoints are not supported due to the limitations of the .NET platform. Exception handling is enhanced in the PowerBuilder .NET Debugger. It also provides some unique features like attaching to or detaching from a current .NET process.

You can leverage your existing PowerBuilder debugging skills and experience in debugging .NET applications and components.

Nonvisual Objects for .NET Web Service Deployment
Web services are ideal for cross-platform communication in heterogeneous environments because of their use of open standards such as XML and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). The ease of deployment and maintenance makes Web services a very attractive approach.

PowerBuilder .NET Web Services components are built on top of the Microsoft ASP.NET Web Service Framework. When you deploy a .NET Web Services target, the PowerBuilder .NET Web Services generator creates .asmx files and the .disco file for selected PowerBuilder nonvisual objects.

The .NET Web Service project wizard can help PowerBuilder developers create a .NET Web Service project quickly and easily. It guides the developer through a series of steps, collecting the required information for deploying the project. You can use the Project painter to view and edit information entered in the wizard. After you deploy the Web service, you can run and debug Web service methods from a test application that you assign to the .NET Web Service project in the Project painter.

More Stories By Chris Pollach

Chris Pollach is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years experience in Systems and Software Analysis, Development, Maintenance and Technical Support, mainly in the areas of GUI Design, MS-Windows Programming, Java / .NET Programming, Wireless, Application / Web Server Design & Programming, Object Oriented Development Tools and Methodologies, Data Base, Data Communications and Network application development. He has participated in numerous technical, planning and management roles, as well as consulted and educated in these fields for a diverse clientele. He is also the owner of “Software Tool & Die Inc.” a company dedicated to provide custom software and education solutions on Object Oriented business systems.

As an educator, Chris is certified to teach PowerBuilder (first in Canada), MS-SQLServer, Sybase’s Enterprise Application Studio and EAServer integrated application/web development environment. He is former Certified SilverStream developer (CSSD) and current Certified PowerBuilder Developer – Associate / Professional (CPD-P) as well as a Certified Sybase Tools Instructor (CSI).

Chris has written numerous articles in various popular personal computer magazines, newsletters and is the author of the PowerGuide and PowerExpert products as well as the STD Foundation Classes. Currently, Chris has developed a Foundation Class library for Sybase's PocketBuilder, SAP's PowerBulder and EAServer products and now Appeon Web & mobile products that integrates JSP or ASP web development, Section 508 / CLF web standards and mobile applications. A new Web Service framework has also been released for IIs to support PowerBuilder based web service NVUO's!

Chris recently became a 2nd Degree Black in the TaeKwonDo martial art and has developed a Martial Art multimedia study guide using the Component-One “Doc2Help” and Sybase PowerBuilder products. Since the fall of 2004 he became a TaeKwonDo instructor for the City of Ottawa’s Goulbourn program. He has also been certified with the World TaeKwonDo Federation (February 2005 - 1st Dan and October 2008 - 2nd Dan).

Chris was awarded the Sybase “Innovation and Achievement” award for 2005 as voted for by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG). This award was presented for innovations to the PocketBuilder mobile development product, contributions to the PowerBuilder News groups and support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group.

To round his management and leadership skills, Chris is the former president of the Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn and still volunteers his time with the service clubs in his area. He is also the coordinator of the Ottawa Sybase User group and a certified NAUI scuba instructor. For the last three years, Chris has been voted onto the ISUG Board of Directors and holds the position of "Director - North American User Groups".

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