Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Janakiram MSV, Yeshim Deniz, David H Deans, Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud

PowerBuilder: Article

The PowerBuilder .NET IDE

For the past year plus I've been spending a lot of time working with a web-based BI tool

For the past year plus I've been spending a lot of time working with a web-based BI tool (the development is actually done in a plug-in to Eclipse, but the end users access the results through a browser). The tool reminds me a lot of the DataWindow. You create objects that can either map directly to a database table or are based on textual SQL. Those objects are then combined into a composite object that the user can access to do ad-hoc queries without having to know how the underlying tables are related. The data connection is abstracted from the data access layer, and the reports it generates have an extensive event model that can be coded to respond to a wide variety of system events and user interactions.

That being said, it also reminds me of PowerBuilder and the DataWindow because as powerful as it is, it can also be extremely frustrating to work with. It rewrites the SQL in the composite objects, and sometimes it undoes a rather complicated operation that I didn't need rewritten. At that point I'm left trying to find a way to isolate my complicated operation so that the tool doesn't try to rewrite it for me.

I have been having similar problems with PowerBuidler .NET 12.5 lately. One of the updates in the .NET Framework 4.5 is a native Ribbon control for WPF. There was one in the .NET Framework 4.0, but it looks like it might have been a WPF wrapper around a non-WPF control. I wanted to try out the new control, so I installed the new framework. As soon as I did, I could no longer compile *any* WPF applications. So I uninstalled .NET 4.5, at which point I couldn't even run PowerBuilder .NET any longer. I ended up having to (a) uninstall .NET 4.5, (b) uninstall PowerBuilder 12.5, (c) reinstall PowerBuiler 12.5 and (d) reinstall .NET 4.0. Yes, I had to reinstall the previous version of .NET to completely clean it up.

I'm not sure it's PowerBuilder .NET's fault. I've got a lot of software tools on this machine, including multiple copies of Visual Studio, the Windows SDK, etc. Sybase wasn't able to replicate it with a fairly clean install. I was also setting up a second machine that had MS SQL Server 2012 on it, which also installs a couple of the Visual Studio 2010 shells. Since PowerBuilder.NET needed the Windows SDK, I attempted to install that. However, that wouldn't install until I removed all traces of the Visual Studio 2010 shells that MS SQL Server installed. It seems it's not that uncommon for Microsoft .NET related tools and SDKs to step on each other.

For what it's worth, that particular pain point was enough to finally convince me to start using virtual machines and to put the different development tools (and versions of different development tools) on different virtual machines. Once I got started (I'm using Oracle's VirtualBox, which is free), I'm surprised at how simple it is and wondered why I waited. The only snag so far is that I had to order more memory for my laptop and desktop. And eventually I might need to do hard drive upgrades. But it's better than the nightmare of software conflicts that I had to keep dealing with. If I do run into configuration problems in the future, I can just send tech support the VM image so they can see exactly what I'm dealing with.

That's all well and good, but what's the point you're probably asking. Well, all this pain got me thinking about how much pain we're willing to put up with to continue to use products that we like. There's got to be some point where the pain we experience from the tool not working the way we need it to overrides the benefits, at which point we start looking for some new development tool. With PowerBuilder the pain isn't really new. As long as I've been using the tool, and that's been for just about all the time it's been around, there's always been a point using it when it's a struggle to get it to do something, often times because something's not working the way it's supposed to. At one point somebody commented, and I think there's a lot of truth to it, that using it was like playing soccer in a minefield. The tool was buggy, but the people who had been using it for a while knew what the bugs (mines) were and avoided them, so they were successful using it. People who were new to the tool kept running into the mines, and wondered why the more experienced people even bothered using it.

I think the key for the product at that time, as well as for some of the other tools I've mentioned, is that the pain factor only reared its head after you'd been using it and being productive with it for a while. So you had some feel for what the tool could do and liked it, and you were willing to put up with the pain to continue to achieve the benefits. That's important, because if you start experiencing the pain point sooner than that, you won't get a feel for the advantages that the tool offers and wouldn't be motivated to continue using it.

I also got to thinking that this may be the reason that some people aren't as excited with the PowerBuilder .NET IDE as I am. Of course, I'd already been doing .NET development using Visual Studio for quite some time by the time that PowerBuilder .NET became available, so I was already familiar with the advantages that a .NET development tool offers. But for people who aren't sold on the benefits of .NET just yet, I'm not sure if some of the pain points associated with using that IDE aren't enough to keep people from using it before they get to the point where they realize the benefits. In particular, when I want to have PowerBuilder .NET interact with some .NET classes, I'm often starting with what I know is working C# code. I might even have created a small sample of what I needed to do in C# first. So when I'm working in PowerBuilder.NET, I'm mostly converting the C# code into the syntax that PowerBuilder .NET will accept. People who aren't that experienced with C# - or who aren't starting off with working C# code - face a double burden because they often don't know what the script is supposed to look like yet.

So, I do feel your pain. I know that I can find the .NET IDE a struggle to work with at times, and I imagine it's much more of a struggle for people new to .NET. We need to encourage SAP to work on making PowerBuilder.NET even simpler to use, particularly for people who are new to .NET. Customers will never learn to appreciate what it can do if they have trouble with it when they first start using it. Eventually you hit roadblocks with any tool, but they should come when you're pushing the envelope, not when you've first using it.

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.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
mlibner 04/29/13 10:18:00 AM EDT

I agree completely. I struggled with the same problems until I installed PB.net and Visual Studio on a different VMs. SAP needs to continue developing the tool to reach its full potential. If people will step out of their comfort zone and give PB.net a chance (instead of bashing it) they will see how much easier integrating with other .net developers, vendors, tools, controls etc. it is than Classic. When a hammer is the only tool you have everything tends to look like a nail.

Dimitri Joosten 12/29/12 08:18:00 AM EST

Totally agree on this article! I find myself in solving problems in C# first and then "translate" it into PB script. To me PB.Net is the best PB yet as you can do much more with it once you know how .Net and XAML works.I know for many people it will be a learning curve. I hope SAP comes with improvements on the product soon with new targets like HTML 5 and winRT and an upgrade to .Net 4.5

@ThingsExpo Stories
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...