Tag Archives: Visual Basic

Sybase’s PowerBuilder v12 is powerful, .NET based, and wonderful! Why you shouldn’t use it

The following is MY perception of Sybase’s PowerBuilder:

Years ago PowerBuilder was king.  No one could touch it.  It was relatively inexpensive.  Microsoft’s Visual Basic matured and the Pascal based Borland’s Delphi was released.  Then it fell and fall it did.

Sybase

Sybase

As it was falling from the throne Sybase purchased Powersoft, makers of PowerBuilder.  As the the market share continued to shrink, PowerBuilder developers had more difficulty in finding new projects.  Most new development was written in Visual Basic or Java.

Years went by with marketing of PowerBuilder little more than the occasional road show, TechWave presentations and the ISUG Technical Journal ads catered towards existing customers.  Little to no effort was put forth by Sybase to gain new PowerBuilder customers.

During this week’s Sybase TechWave, PowerBuilder version 12 was released.  It has all the whistles and kitchen sinks you could ask for.   An amazing tool for development!  Too bad no one outside of the die hard PowerBuilder programmers will use it.

Blasphemy!  Heretic!

Consider this:

Sybase owns PowerBuilder.  It owns the PowerBuilder software, PowerBuilder language, PowerScript, the PowerBuilder vm, and everything PowerBuilder.

No problem right?

What will happen to PowerBuilder when Sybase is bought out by another company?  Products with tiny market share like PowerBuilder would likely be killed or in a state of limbo for several years.  Anyone remember what happened when IBM bought Informix?

Do you really want to bet your career and business on a software development tool that is locked to a single smallish vendor?

Maybe, perhaps, if Sybase were to release the PowerBuilder 4GL language and PowerScript to the world like Microsoft did with the C# and Visual Basic languages and Sun with Java…   Perhaps if Sybase would allow 3rd parties to develop tools based around the PowerBuilder language royalty free…

Sybase:  PLEASE FREE THE POWERBUILDER 4GL LANGUAGE!

I mean, really, what benefit could Sybase have to cripple the PowerBuilder developers?

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New developers for Sybase’s Powerbuilder 11?

There still seems to be a steep learning curve when it comes to Sybase’s PowerBuilder. In this specific case, PB11 is no easier.

What *I* personally would like to see is:

  1. step by step online tutorials to create a multitude of projects – from simple ‘hello world’ applications to database connected applications to .NET to AJAX enabled .NET web apps
  2. online videos for the new and experienced developers rather than just feature highlights
  3. more books… from the “Beginning PowerBuilder 11″ (perhaps a ‘for Dummies’ series type book) to super advanced PB11
  4. more podcasts ( take a look at Meet the Gimp for example format )
  5. PowerBuilder gallery of open source and commercial PB applications (please don’t just point to the abomination known as codexchange) and online pb communities
  6. A better tiered licensing model: Free version (take a look at Microsoft’s VB Express for a model of what should be included for free), Student (K-university) edition, Professional / Small Business, Enterprise. There should be NO feature differences between the student and enterprise editions – the only difference should be in what PB can be used for (licensing).
  7. Open source & hobby-ist development should be actively promoted to help rebuild the PB community

Can anyone think of anything else to help new developers learn PowerBuilder?

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