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PowerBuilder: Article

Long Live The King

Long Live The King

If you're reading this, chances are you're enamored of PowerBuilder. Not just a casual user, but a longtime adherent and defender thereof. And why shouldn't you be? PowerBuilder, in my humble opinion, is the best. From the first time I tried the patented DataWindow right up to EAStudio 3.5, I have always been able to deploy the best solutions for my clients using these tools. PowerBuilder and its accompanying solution set have always been growing. What's more, our knowledge and experience in PowerBuilder has made moving to EAServer virtually painless. You and I know that there are practically no business requirements that can't be solved utilizing EAStudio. Sybase is improving as a company and is really pushing EAStudio in the marketplace. They've recently boasted over 400,000 active PowerBuilder licenses and the potential for many more given their investments in PowerBuilder 8.0 and 9.0. How can you not love this thing?

This leads us to a perplexing question: Shouldn't EAStudio be the reigning king of the application development world as opposed to a struggling contender? Well, let's consider some world history. There have been countless governments throughout the ages, but only a handful of world powers. Regardless of the number of little governments coming and going within a given age, there has never been more than one world power ruling at any given time. Being the ruling power didn't necessarily define it as being the best of all the contenders, although it may have been. It did, however, prove it had the best support. We can say that their subjects fought for and supported them into and through their reign.

The same holds true in the information technology industry. If we consider operating systems as a world to be ruled, Microsoft is clearly the world power. If we consider office suites another world, well, Microsoft is their world power, too. When it comes to our world, though, the application development world, PowerSoft was our world power and PowerBuilder was our king. There was always debate over whether PowerBuilder really was the superlative development tool during this time. But that didn't matter. Its loyal users were many and they vocalized that loyalty as they vehemently denounced competitors, eventually driving them into submission. PowerSoft marketed PowerBuilder in a way that convinced us we'd lose our businesses if we didn't take advantage of it. Between PowerSoft and us, we were unstoppable.

Whoever the perceived king of application development is today, he must be getting the support he needs. His subjects must be growing with him, exercising their skills and developing new ones as he expands in capabilities and territorial rule. Have you been doing the same for PowerBuilder?

Sybase has been getting much more aggressive in their marketing and I give them a loud shout of praise for that. Still, not many businesses understand just how powerful EAStudio is. They don't know that with all of the tools within EAStudio they can solve their business requirements, whether the solution be on client/server, intranet, Internet, etc. We, the PowerBuilder community, do know it. It may very well be up to us to voice the solutions to our clients. The question is, is our voice authoritative enough to make an impact? Have we exercised and grown along with EAStudio so that what we say is what we can accomplish? Do we have the strength to get EAStudio onto the throne its father, PowerBuilder, has lost?

I believe we can. We need to become endeared to EAStudio as we are to PowerBuilder. We need to learn Jaguar CTS, PowerSite, and PowerDynamo. The learning curve is close to nil given our PowerBuilder skills. Our experience in the real world will afford us opportunities to introduce to our clients natural paths from client/server to n-tier. There is plenty of work out there! But we will need to grow stronger and push if we want to stick with PowerBuilder and EAS.

Don't get me wrong. If the day ever comes where I can't pay my rent using Sybase's toolkits, I'll have no choice but to move on to another vendor's solution. But until then, I'll be pushing for EAStudio to become the application development world power. Long live the king! t

More Stories By Tom Peters

Tom Peters is director of online applications for Sherwood International in Armonk, NY, an ISV that specializes in insurance software. Tom is a CPD professional with over 15 years' experience.

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