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PowerBuilder: Article

How to Use PowerBuilder .NET Applications on Linux

Turning legacy apps into Web apps

With PowerBuilder 11 Sybase gave developers what we have long hoped for - the possibility of taking an application created in a client/server architecture and turning it into a Web application, almost without having to move the code; and it's better if you don't use a server application. Once the Web Form application is ready, it looks like I have a "multi-platform" application and any operating system can use it. But when I go to a Linux box to see my system...open the Web browser and type in the Web URL... it doesn't even show the user and password window well. Now imagine running a Windows application in Linux - impossible? No, not exactly. This article will try to explain how to run applications made in PowerBuilder 11 on a Linux operating system.

The article is divided into two parts: the first is about how to run an application in Web Form PowerBuilder on Linux and the second is an application running on a Linux PB client/server.

How to Run a PB.NET Web Application Form on Linux
First let's assume that I have a Web PowerBuilder Forms application that runs properly on a Windows server. Actually, in this article I'm not going to explain how to write the application, just how to run it on Linux.

The Problem
To run a .NET WebForm application made with PowerBuilder on Linux, various things must be taken into account. First ASPX pages and others generated through the .NET Framework 2.0 are designed to run on Microsoft Internet Explorer, preferably version 6 or 7. The problem is getting the application to use a "native" Linux browser, such as Firefox or Opera. I wrote a small application to test the compatibility of common Web controls such as a DataWindow, checkbox, radio buttons, and edit mask (see Figure 1). Naturally it behaves well in Windows with Internet Explorer 6 or 7, but if I want a Web application, I want it to be multi-platform and capable of running on other operating systems such as Linux. To see how it works on Linux, I accessed the application from openSUSE 10.3 using the Opera browser (version 9.23 build 660). The results were surprising, surprisingly bad, because nothing worked as it should. The only controls that operated were the radio buttons and vertical and horizontal scroll bar; the other controls didn't work.

The summary was as follows:

  • The checkbox does not work.
  • The radio button works properly.
  • The dropdown list box does not work; it doesn't display anything.
  • The edit mask does not work.
  • The DatePicker does not work, and reloading the page does nothing.
  • The vertical scroll bar works properly.
  • The horizontal scroll bar works properly.
  • The picture button does not show the picture.
  • The tab pages don't work.
  • The list box doesn't work, and neither does the right list box.

I thought that maybe the browser was the problem so I tried Firefox, which I've used a lot with Windows but it didn't help much. The screen shows it reconfigured: the edit mask didn't worked, some text is faltering and controls such as list box didn't work when clicked (as they should) but did with double-clicks.

The Firefox use summary was:

  • The checkbox doesn't work.
  • The radio button appears without text, and by clicking it, the text appears cut.
  • The dropdown list box doesn't work and doesn't display anything.
  • The edit mask doesn't work
  • The DatePicker does not work, and reloading the page does nothing.
  • The vertical scroll bar doesn't work as well as the horizontal scroll bar.
  • The picture button doesn't show the picture.
  • The tab pages do not work.
  • The list box and the right list box don't work with a click, but two clicks gets them working

Discouraged by what I saw, I concluded that Web applications made with PowerBuilder .NET cannot be used for platforms other than Windows. But I didn't give up and found a solution that worked well for me.

More Stories By Oscar Uriel Tobar Rios

Oscar Tobar is the webmaster of www.powerbuilder.org. He has worked with PowerBuilder for over 10 years. He is certified in PowerBuilder by Expert Rating & Brain Bench, and lectures at various organizations and universities across Latin America. Oscar currently works as an independent consultant for various organizations internationally.

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