From the Editor-in-Chief of PowerBuilder Developer's Journal

Bruce Armstrong

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PowerBuilder: Article

PB 8 Is Finally Here!

PB 8 Is Finally Here!

Two years ago, I interviewed Sybase's Bill Bartow - then vice-president of marketing and engineering for the Internet Applications Division. Among the things we discussed were Sybase's plans for PowerBuilder 8 (PB 8). Now that PB 8 is here, I'd like to look back at that interview and see how closely the product tracked with those plans.

At the time, Bill made the following claims:

  • With PB 8 and beyond the goal would be higher quality.
    Personally, I'd say that goal has been met. With a product as multifaceted as PowerBuilder, I'm sure a few bugs have slipped through. However, I can say that I was much more pleased with the quality of the builds during the PB 8 beta process than I have been with several of the previous product version beta cycles. I'm sure this will be reflected in the quality of the officially released product.

  • PB 8 would provide a common approach for viewing and defining projects and workspaces.
    Another goal met, well beyond my expectations at the time. Not only has PowerSite been integrated into the Power-Builder IDE, but so has a good portion of the functionality of Jaguar Manager. One of the major gripes I have with PB 7 is switching back and forth between several different IDEs. With PB 8 that has largely been eliminated.

    Some more work could be done with Jaguar Manager integration. I still need to use it - and it still must be installed on NT - to do things like generating stubs or TLB/REG files. However, I believe that the new "workspace" concept is one of the more significant ease-of-use enhancements in the product.

  • PB 8 would include significant new features.
    Another goal met. Perhaps nothing as significant as the introduction of object-orientation with PB 3, PFC with PB 5, or the HTMLDW with PB 7, but quite a number of important new features nonetheless. Obviously, many of those features were aimed at the n-tier and Web development folks. However, for those of us who are still spending the majority of our time working on "traditional" client/server applications, PB 8 offers quite a few items of interest as well. I discuss this in more detail in a separate article in this issue of PBDJ.
One thing Sybase did differently during the PB 8 development cycle was - in conjunction with the International Sybase User Group (www.isug.com) - to open up the list of enhancements that are being considered so the user community could vote on them. I think that process was largely responsible for the significant number of enhancements in the final product that will make my day-to-day work much easier. To that end, I encourage Sybase to do the same during the PB 9 development cycle.

The one downside, though, is that the voting occurred about a year and a half ago. I don't think people had any idea then of how important technologies such as XML would become in the interim. As a result, PB 8 doesn't have a XMLDW. You can be sure that it's near the top of my list for PB 9 enhancements. Perhaps Sybase should allow the PB 9 feature list to be a bit more fluid during the development cycle. That is, if significant new technologies evolve during the development cycle, Sybase should to try to incorporate them into the final product.

In any event, I'm looking forward to working with the new product, and I hope you are as well. See you at TechWave 2001!

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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