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Wednesday night I was at the PowerBuilder user group meeting in Charlotte, NC. Matt Balent hosted the event and we even had a couple of first time attendees. The highlight of the evening was when Armeen Mazda, CEO of Appeon, did a demo for us and showed how easy and fast it was to take a PowerBuilder application and deploy it as native iOS code for an iPhone or an iPad. Nothing is as fast for app development on the iOS platform – if you want to check it out for yourself, the beta is still in progress http://www.appeon.com/form/form.php?mid=10

Most customers in attendance were frustrated that we couldn’t provide more clarity around the PowerBuilder roadmap at this time, but we should have that information soon. 

One of the discussions we had was one that was quite familiar – one ISV has their main application built in PowerBuilder, but they desperately need a Web Solution. They know other companies who have successfully used Appeon but the cost is prohibitive for them and they want a native solution for PowerBuilder. This company has a small development team with  extensive development skills – they’ve used Java, Ruby, PHP, Python, WinDev, Visual Studio – and every time they use another product they always turn back to PowerBuilder, because it can’t be beat for its productivity.  We hear this a lot from people. And, there’s been strong momentum in the community where customers who failed at PowerBuilder rewrites are coming back because its productivity is simply unparalleled.

Let me know if you’ve had a similar experience in your company, I’d love to share your experience with others and encourage more folks to do the same.

While we hear about PowerBuilder’s unmatched productivity quite often, there is also the mindset that PowerBuilder is ONLY a client/server tool.This is just not true – of course, you can easily and quickly build client/server apps, and it rose to prominence by defining this architecture. But, since the mid-90s, it’s supported n-tier development and encouraged developers to use best practices to decouple UI and logic. It supported app servers before most customers knew what they were. PowerBuilder was built to evolov, and its premise is quite: abstract complex technologies and make them easy to use.  If we had no limits on the amount of money and people we could hire,  PowerBuilder’s IDE would have a multitude of target types and all you’d need is your PB skills to build any of them. My questions to you are do you use PB in an n-tier environment, do you use services or do you rely mainly on a c/s architecture? Will you build new apps in PowerBuilder and if so, what architecture?

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  1. no new power

    We are in the cloud with 2X.com that lets us run our app on Ipad, Android, Mac & Windows. Appeon cannot do any of these – it only works on Windows and Internet Explorer, requires lot of re-engineering.

    I would do pb.net applications so we can benefit from .net framework. – best of both worlds. I need a better migration from pb classic to pb.net.

    Anxiously waiting for roadmap!

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    1. Chris Pollach

      Hi Power;

         I think that this would be a good solution to small user base applications and a great replacement for Webforms!

        FYI: Appeon Mobile is already iOS ready and Android and MS-Surface are coming later this year. On the web front – Appeon v7.0 will have Chrome, FireFox and Safari support.

        Note that Appeon Web and Appeon Mobile allow you to get at device (machine) specific features that PB.net under 2X would not facilitate. If you don’t need that level of integration in your Apps – then, your PB.Net + 2X suggestion could be a good one.

      Regards … Chris

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      1. no new power

        We have over 1000 users and the PB application, 2X, RDP infrastructure works extremely well. If running on Windows we have access to machine specific features and additionally can execute a local program.

        Appeon Mobile is in beta and there is no release date for Appeon v7.0. I have been hearing about appeon planning to support different browsers for many years with no release! Is there a release date for appeon v7 with support for all these browsers?

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        1. Chris Pollach

          Thanks for the feedback experience!

          FYI: Appeon needed to “tweak” their underlying architecture in order to support cross-browser applications. Appeon Mobile’s new underlying technology for iOS and Android support will also deliver a revamped Appeon Server structure behind the scenes. This will start to cement the next generation of pieces in place that will then facilitate Appeon v7’s feature set. Its sort of like the old cliche … “getting your ducks all lined up”!  πŸ™‚

          HTH

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          1. no new power

            I would not invest in appeon until the items you mentioned are available. I am not sure if they have the resources to timely deliver.

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  2. Benjamin Kemner

    I am interested how to separate data logic and presentation in a Dataewindow. I consider it as encapsulated. It’s even in a the name. It’s true I could overwrite the sqlpreview, parsing sql, send it to a middleware, … but I could also try to clean my kitchen with a toothbrush (no hard feelings).

    So, how to develop n-tier applications with Powerbuilder?

    I am also interested how Powerbuilder could react (it would be better to pro-act) to a increasingly heterogeneous system landscape. There is nothing I can do with PB but building windows applications (WebForms is dead, WebService are bad implemented, PB.NET is uncertain and not good enough for production).

    Powerbuilder (Classic) has  a good productivity! But Sue, try to ask your self why ISV even think about switching. It’s because building client/server apps for windows isn’t enough for the market. The companies sitting on tons of code in PowerScript and a uncertain about there strategic plans for the future. The only question in the forums is: What will PB 15 bring us … we need enhancements … we need a strategy.

    PB 15 will show wether we should investigate in rewriting or staying on the Powerbuilder path.

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    1. Chris Pollach

      Hi Sue;

         I engineer 3 &4 tier solutions in lots of projects here for the Canadian Federal government now and in the past.  Here is a design for my lasted project that I just started on ….

        So n-tier computing and Web Services are key to my clients using and staying with PB – especially now as the Cdn government is moving quickly to the Cloud, Web and Mobile scene (  http://itac.ca/files/SSC%20Cloud%20Computing%20Vision_%20AFAC%20Dec17%2012%20Final_English.pdf  ). The fact that Appeon already supports the Azure, RackSpace and Amazon Cloud is a “huge” plus in my “neck-of-the-woods”!  πŸ™‚

      HTH

      Regards … Chris

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  3. Scott Morris

    Re:  “… all you’d need is your PB skills to build any of them”. 

    That’s a stretch, given the issues I’ve had with the 12.5.1 .Net IDE – especially the datawindow painter.  Plus the .net sdk / framework issues, deploying snafus, and so on.  As for future development, there is already a plan in place to discontinue use of Powerbuilder here.  I give even odds that might actually happen. 

    I’ll also say that I cannot see how Powerbuilder encourages a developer to decouple UI and logic, nor that it encourages best practices (just in case you did not intend to imply a direct relationship between the two).  In fact, I’d argue exactly the opposite – the datawindow is the prime example.  And if you are not using datawindows, then why would you use Powerbuilder?

    I agree with Benjamin.  I’m tired of hearing about success stories (vague as they are) and being told to “wait”, that “good things are coming”, etc.  The onging 12.5.2 debacle is not a promising sign.

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  4. David Peace

    Sue,

    We are not really interested in the PB.Net offering. It does not deliver RAD and MS Visual Studio is much better for .Net applications.

    We develop both FAT & THIN clients using PB Classic, by the way.. calling it “classic” is not a good thing from a PR point of view, It makes it sound dated. The thin client apps are based on EAServer, so we are concerned about where we are going with that!

    Nearly all of our applications are based on Oracle and we tend to push the business logic back to the database. Then we develop whatever front end is required using either PB for windows or MS for Web.

    We are also looking at tablet applications and currently would use a web application. We are very interested in native applications on tablet devices and would like to get a deployment target for PB classic directly to IOS and Android.

    I hope that gives you a flavour of what we are doing and would like in the future. If I were in control of PB I would do the following:

    1. Drop PB.Net

    2. Enhance the PB Classic UI and drop the word classic.

    3. Develop deployment options for the Tablet devices still keeping the nil runtime cost.

    4. I’d develop an application server specifically designed to run PB code in the PB VM.

    5. I’d look at a new IDE for HTML 5 based applications.

    Cheers

    David

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    1. Chris Pollach

      Hi David;

      Good points IMHO. May I add …

      1. Drop PB.Net

      => or just make it a separate product

      2. Enhance the PB Classic UI and drop the word classic.

      => see #1 and yes – get rid of the word “Classic”!

      3. Develop deployment options for the Tablet devices still keeping the nil runtime cost.

      => not worth it … just help Appeon with their Web & Mobile solutions

      4. I’d develop an application server specifically designed to run PB code in the PB VM.

      => Geeez .. get the old DPB server back!

      5. I’d look at a new IDE for HTML 5 based applications.

      => They already had it .. it was called the “Web Target” and Sybase deprecated it instead of enhancing it for just this purpose!

      => see #3 and just help Appeon get to HTML5 (better ROI – IMHO)

      Regards … Chris

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    2. Panos Platanas

      Very good points!

      My only issues with PB “Classic” are the dated look and the inability to do mobile thingies.

      And yes I do not like the “classic” label! πŸ™‚

      On the other hand, Appeon’s cost model is very complicated. Lets say I would like to build the PDA functionality in my application using PB (now I am using VS2008). Would I need an Appeon server? How much would each PDA deployment cost? etc etc

      Appeon (IMHO) will be more successful if it adopted a more consise sales policy.

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      1. Gimmy Susan

        [cit] Appeon (IMHO) will be more successful if it adopted a more consise sales policy. [end cit.]

        The same for the Italian’s market

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      2. David Peace

        “On the other hand, Appeon’s cost model is very complicated. Lets say I would like to build my PDA functionality in my application using PB (now I am using VS2008). Would I need an Appeon server? How much would each PDA deployment cost? etc etc”

        I agree that this is an issue, which is why I still think there should be a nil cost runtime.

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    3. Dale Shipman
      1. I’m not sure I’d drop the PB.Net product; I’ve found it useful on a number of occasions.
      2. Yeah, drop the whole “Classic” thing; unnecessary.
      3. Deployment to portable devices would be a boon to PowerBuilder, IMHO.
      4. Echoing Chris’s comments, I still support two applications in PowerBuilder 7.0.x which rely on Distributed PowerBuilder.  I’d *love* to see SAP dust that code off and reintroduce it.
      5. An IDE for HTML 5 development would be cool, unfortunately I’m thinking Appeon will get the nod for that interface.

      I’ll add a wishlist item of my own: I’d love an IDE for building Web Services in PowerBuilder Classic (sorry) complete with highly complex data types.  I’ve been partially successful in building a Web Service in PowerBuilder .Net, but have been completely stonewalled when it comes to using complex data typing for the service.

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      1. Chris Pollach

        Hi Dave;

          I’m with you 100% on better WS support for PB Classic!

         

           BTW: Check out my new IIs Web Service framework for PB Classic and the new WS Structure Builder application for PB Classic as well that I just released on my Foundation Class project on SourceForge.

          

        Regards … Chris

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  5. no new power

    Moving Forward:

    • Have only PB.NET and provide better migration
    • Drop PB Classic
    • Forget about appeon
    • Make PB License price same as one-year USP renewal for new adoption while getting the same money from existing USP renewals
    • Side Benefit: Integrate automatically with SAP NetWeaver!
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      1. no new power

        If PB focused all their energies on single-IDE i.e. PB.NET, that opens up .NET framework to PB application, we can accomplish more and get much more productive. You still have Power of PB with nice things of .NET.

        PB Classic – maintenance mode only

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        1. Chris Pollach

          No I disagree, PB.net – like MS – is getting to be a “small player” in the whole IT spectrum as C/S is becoming an area that is dying off.

          If Sybase had only put 1/10 the development resources behind the PB Classic IDE to improve it plus added more .Net interoperability …  that is all the PB community were looking for from the .Net aspect.

          From the current IT infrastructure needs, PB needs to address: Web, Cloud and Mobile as well as adding more J2EE interoperability. Then for a home run – PB needs to finally get Web Services “polished up”. Now that would put PB back into prime IDE contention!

          Regards … Chris

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  6. Michael Kench

    Most of our development is with Client/Server using powerbuilder classic.  I cannot see this changing in the short term.

    The rest of our powerbuilder development is for the web using the web datawindow component though IIS using ASP pages.  This gives us lots of control over the browser interface while still using the power of the datawindow. Supports all browser types too. I would love a new web datawindow server component to be available in future release if a viable RAD target is not possible.

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  7. Roland MΓΌhlberger

    We have a pretty big C/S application here that we want to keep running successfully for years to come. We tried PB.NET but it did not work out, mainly for two reasons: (a) due to the complex application framework we use separating into separate assemblys did not work (b) the result was slower than expected.

    So what we would like to see is

    (a) put as much effort as you can into PowerBuilder (without classic or even robust)

    (b) enhance the PowerScript language (interfaces, enumerators, …)

    (c) make the PowerBuilder VM use more than one CPU

    (d) create a VM for 64 Bit

    (e) enhance the DataWindow and all other GUI elements to be really stylish (just have a look at DevExpress…)

    (f) produce an IIS/HTML5 version of the VM to enable a big share of upcoming clients

    All these things together would form the kind of PowerBuilder we can rely on in the future. Thanks,

    Roland

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    1. no new power

      Lot of these things may be accomplished by PB.NET banking on .NET if the migration to it is easier. PB needs to continue on the .NET path in order for PB Developer and PB Application to compete in the market today.

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  8. Andreas Mykonios

    We have many applications written in PoweBuilder Classic, and some in Powerbuilder.NET… Most .net applicstions were built from start. We of course did tried to migrate but had lot of issues.

    Now about the main question in this post. For me Powerbuilder is a Development tool… And as a development tool I believe that it should provide us with the ability to deploy client server applications but also web applications. This is major. We at this point use Webform applications to get to the Web (yes we are aware about problems related with this kind of targets). We are frustrated about the decision to remove them from PB 12.5.2.

    I don’t agree with those saying that the new IDE should be abandoned. I saw a great evolution between PB.NET 12 and 12.5. But still the product seems to be partially complete… And we cannot beat competition that way. So there are some decisions to be taken from SAP. If they want to continue the new IDE they have to provide better support to it and help resolving lot issues known for sometime now.

    I’m also disappointed because I was expecting the 15 beta to be launched during March. We approach to May and neither the beta is launched, but the most important w don’t have a roadmap,.So we don’t know what to expect… And instead of that roadmap we get this question? What is Powerbuilder for us? I believe we all can get an answer… But SAP also must answer that question. And I think they haven’t done that. And SAP’s commitment about that product can’t be proven through a blog and this kind of questions.

    Powerbuilder is a great tool… But this isn’t enough to keep it alive.

    Andreas.

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    1. Chris Pollach

      Hi Andreas ;

        I disagree with continuing with the new PB.Net IDE. I bet if SAP put PB.net as a separate product and sold PB Classic separate as well – that within a year the PB.net IDE would easily be – by its  sales and adoption numbers – an SAP target for deprecation. Sybase tried to build & market PB.net as a better, faster, RAD, etc version of VS. Anyone who has used VS knows that it is the superior IDE – not by its GUI – but by its support for Web, Mobile, Win32/64, Console, O/S Service, etc targets that (we all know that) Sybase/SAP will never deliver.

        If you put your head into the average IT manger’s position – you can see why migrating to VS instead of PB.Net makes more sense. IMHO – SAP needs to stay focused on PB Classic as “the IDE”, add more .Net interoperability, Cloud, Web, Mobile, J2EE, into PB Classic to make it compete in today’s IDE market place. AND that is easy because Appeon has already closed the functional gap on all of these items in its Appeon 2013 release for PB Classic (come on SAP – its a no brainer!)

      Regards … Chris

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      1. Andreas Mykonios

        Hi Chris.

        Chris Pollach wrote:

                              

          I disagree with continuing with the new PB.Net IDE. I bet if SAP put PB.net as a separate product and sold PB Classic separate as well – that within a year the PB.net IDE would easily be – by its  sales and adoption numbers – an SAP target for deprecation. Sybase tried to build & market PB.net as a better, faster, RAD, etc version of VS. Anyone who has used VS knows that it is the superior IDE – not by its GUI – but by its support for Web, Mobile, Win32/64, Console, O/S Service, etc targets that (we all know that) Sybase/SAP will never deliver.

        Everyone has it’s opinion. Mine is that many people would use PB.NET if it was more stable, and if wpf wasn’t the only visual application target provided (also support for specific .net versions is a problem). As I said in other messages in the past, .net targets are available in PB Classic but are not very well supported. First of all there isn’t intellisense and auto complete! That isn’t acceptable today. 3rd party controls aren’t supported directly and this is a disadvantage! Winforms seems to be abandoned from Microsoft. Webforms have been removed, so we have only assemblies, which in my oppinion you can better create them in PB.NET. WPF has many disadvantages, I agree… But there are some demos showing application (big one) made using PB.NET & WPF. Of course the Classic IDE should continue to evolve and provide all those (I personally use both IDE’s to create .net targeted applications)… And selling the IDE’s separately isn’t a good Idea when Visual Studio is selling 4 development languages (c#, c++, vb, f#)… But of course Microsoft is selling the tool, not the scripting – programming languages…

        Chris Pollach wrote:

                              

          I disagree with continuing with the new PB.Net IDE. I bet if SAP put PB.net as a separate product and sold PB Classic separate as well – that within a year the PB.net IDE would easily be – by its  sales and adoption numbers – an SAP target for deprecation. Sybase tried to build & market PB.net as a better, faster, RAD, etc version of VS. Anyone who has used VS knows that it is the superior IDE – not by its GUI – but by its support for Web, Mobile, Win32/64, Console, O/S Service, etc targets that (we all know that) Sybase/SAP will never deliver.

          If you put your head into the average IT manger’s position – you can see why migrating to VS instead of PB.Net makes more sense. IMHO – SAP needs to stay focused on PB Classic as “the IDE”, add more .Net interoperability, Cloud, Web, Mobile, J2EE, into PB Classic to make it compete in today’s IDE market place. AND that is easy because Appeon has already closed the functional gap on all of these items in its Appeon 2013 release for PB Classic (come on SAP – its a no brainer!)

        Yes Sap have to invest in the classic IDE more than sybase did since v. 11… So here I totally agree with you.

        Andreas.

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        1. Chris Pollach

          Hi Andreas;

          1)  “many people would use PB.NET if it was more stable, and if wpf wasn’t the only visual application target

          => Agreed 100%!

            Is this really likely now?

            Would SAP shell out a ton more $$ to “make it so” (Jean-Luc Picard <bg>)?

          2) “Sap have to invest in the classic IDE more than sybase did

          => IMHO: If Sybase had invested 1/10 the cost of PB.net into PB Classic- we would have a much, much better IDE that could rival the VS shell! Then, add some more support for .Net and Appeon right into PB Classic and it could be a “knock out” RAD tool again!

          I think Sybase wasted a ton of time, money and engineering resources on PB.net that gives the PB community little value.

          Regards …. Chris

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  9. Guillaume Mayer

    We have 3 C/S applications written in PowerBuilder native.

    Then we have the newest, one application in VS/.NET/WebForm and the last one in VS/.NET/WPF.

    One of the reason of that choice is that it became really hard to find developers interested in, and even harder, who have skills in, PowerBuilder.

    We’re 8 PowerBuilder developers, the same old ones for years.

    (Good for us to be rare things in some point, i guess)

    So we were enthusiastic about Pb.NET, thinking we could put this all (people and techno) together.

    After testing, it appears that :

    – Migration process is a hard way to go

    – IDE is nice but not working fine.

    – Executable are slower

    I was expecting some PB#, totally integrated with VS and .NET, but it’s a converter from PowerScript to C#.

    At this point, we can’t invest much more on migration since we don’t know if SAP will give it up or not.

    Migration being a required step to go further, we can’t enjoy all the nice stuff of WPF and .NET compliance for now.

    However i’m still believing it’s a good approach.

    My suggestion is to make it a real .NET language, to focus on datawindow and to open an HTML5 alternative to WPF (because it’s not web compatible if i understood).

    My feeling is that the way to do it is shorter than the way to make Pb native a really modern tool, i may be wrong.

    The problem with Pb native: features often arrive after the battle, like xml support or dockable windows (and like me writing this i suppose).

    In the same time there is basic functions still missing, like the one to find a value in an array for example, and RichText is a nightmare.

    To react on above comments, we care more about n-layers than n-tiers development, i mean, more about separating view, logic and data in the program, than splitting programs in separated machines.

    A smartphone/tablet app will made my boss happy, but it’s not a real need yet, if it becomes one, we’ll do it from scratch, because GUI has to be redesigned and almost nothing is reusable due to this lack on layers separation.

    To answer the initial question: yes it’s just a client/server to us.

    It’s just my point of view.

    Regards

    PS: It’s amazing to read so many different ways there is using PowerBuilder.

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    1. no new power

      Yea, 100% Agreement with you.

      SAP needs to place on their energies on PB.NET, HTML5, provide easier migration path to PB.NET

      With PB classic you can never compete and keep up. PB.NET opens up all things .NET and with Windows Surface you have all devices.

      Moving Forward:

      • Have only PB.NET and provide better migration
      • Drop PB Classic
      • Forget about appeon
      • Make PB License price same as one-year USP renewal for new adoption while getting the same money from existing USP renewals
      • Side Benefit: Integrate automatically with SAP NetWeaver!
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      1. Chris Pollach

        NOPE .. drop PB.Net – you can not compete against VS (IMHO)!  πŸ˜‰

        Beef up Classic with .Net inter-op and support Appeon … Yahoo!  😘

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        1. no new power

          Yeah, PB cannot compete with VS. That is why they need to join VS and become PB.NET and empower PB developers to get all .NET features. They are on track and need to put 100% of their resources to make transition easier from classic to .net.

          Classic & appeon are dead-end. Will never be able to compete with VS and other IDEs.

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        2. Bruce Armstrong

          VS is an IDE for developing applications for the desktop, the web and mobile devices.  If you are truly convinced it can’t be competed with, then the obvious conclusion is that any additional effort spent on PowerBuilder’s part in any of those areas is a waste of time.  Might as well close up shop and go home.

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          1. Chris Pollach

            Hi Bruce;

              FWIW: If SAP does not get fully engaged with the PowerBuilder product soon (like yesterday),  it won’t matter either way for PB Classic or PB.net – and then yes, we might as well all go home (or fishing <bg>). 

            Regards … Chris

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            1. Bruce Armstrong

              Nice deflection, but it doesn’t address the point. If nothing can compete with Visual Studio, then PowerBuilder Classic is doomed as well.  Is that really your position?

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          2. Benjamin Kemner

            Hi Bruce, Hi Chris, i’d like to bring my point of view.

            Powerbuilder can’t compete with VS because it isn’t comparable. Visual Studio is a realy nice tool but it is an IDE to develop with almost every programming language under the sun. You can use C#, VB, F#, Java, Python, TypeScript, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Ruby, … This isn’t the ambition of PowerBuilder IDE. IMHO: The flexibilty of VS isn’t reachable und PB shouldn’t try to (look at the lack of a documented plugin interface in PB Classic … since decades). I was realy excited when I heard that PB will be an plugin in VS, but the end-product (PB.NET) didn’t convince me (yet?!?).

            The flexibility of VS is it’s advantage BUT also disadvantage. PB could be a RAD tool in Visual Studio to develop data-driven applications (the only competiter in .NET world is see is LightSwitch).

            In conclusion: Don’t waste your time in PB Classic, extend to Visual Studio and make PowerScript a real ❗ .NET language.

            thanks for reading πŸ˜‰

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            1. no new power

              Agree 100%

              SAP should 100% focus on making PB.NET

              PB.Net  = Web, Cloud or  Mobile


              PB Classic + Appeon = Workaround/Short Term solution for Web, Cloud & Mobile

              Will there be any new customer building apps in PB? No

              However, to stop existing PB customers to move away from PB and if SAP has any loyalty to their customer, SAP needs to provide better IDE (PB.NET) that is in-line with today’s app dev needs. Only way they can do is by having better integration with with .NET. PB user should be able to use everything .NET has to provide along with using PB.  Continue on PB.NET strategy and provide better migration from PB classic, integration with .NET.

              I believe in long run MS will have business customer back on their devices and PB apps with .NET will win.

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              1. Chris Pollach

                Q: Will there be any new customer building apps in PB?

                YES … already being done with PB Classic + Appeon => Web, Mobile & Cloud.  πŸ™‚

                In the dozens & dozens of Canadian Federal Government departments that I know have tried PB.Net – none of them have any PB.Net applications in productions. AFAIK 90+% of them have reverted back to using PB Classic or moved off PB to VS or Java just to be web enabled!   πŸ™

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            2. no new power

              in order of priority

              1. provide all the features to datawindow (for pb.net) that are needed to make it meet today’s app needs. review isug enhancements list for info.

              2. make pb.net better

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              1. Chris Pollach

                FYI: 99% of the current 542 PB enhancements are for PB Classic!   That pretty much tells me where SAP should be focusing their development efforts!   πŸ˜‰

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                1. Bruce Armstrong

                  Chris Pollach wrote:

                                         

                  FYI: 99% of the current 542 PB enhancements are for PB Classic!   That pretty much tells me where SAP should be focusing their development efforts!   πŸ˜‰

                                     

                  Given that the ISUG-TECH enhancement request system (which I assume you are referring to here) doesn’t provide a way to designate which IDE the enhancement request is for, I’m curious where the 99% figure came from.  I’m also curious about how many of the “current’ PB enhancement were filed before the .Net IDE was even available to summit request for.

                  I haven’t filed an enhancement request using the ISUG-TECH system since 2008, and most of the ones I’ve submitted since 2004 were those that were discussed in enhancement sessions at TechWaves.  When I want to submit an enhancement request, I do it directly through the Sybase/SAP support system.  Those don’t get directly voted on, but they do seem to get implemented faster than those on the ISUG-TECH system.  Of the enhancement requests I’ve filed with Sybase/SAP support system, the vast majority are for the .Net IDE.

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                    1. Andreas Mykonios

                      Hi Chris.

                      I really wonder if this “conflict” with Bruce has any sense… It’s clear to everybody what is your opinion and of course Bruce’s opinion… I really don’t know what Sap will decide about future releases. As I said I expect tomorrow’s presentation…

                      As I stated in previous articles I do use Powerbuilder Classic, but I also use PB.NET… Between 12 and 12.5 the second is of course better, faster and more stable (I’m talking about .net)! Both version have many bugs. But the bigger issue for me is that messages (errors – warnings) are not always clear… If you use the IDE you will learn how to overpass most bugs… The IDE is slower… Wpf applications are slower… By the way there was a great improvement between wpf applications created with pb.net 12 and pb.net 12.5. PB.NET 12.5 is really faster, in every point (as an IDE, and even its executables). This shows that it is possible to make the product better!

                      Now, I have to agree with Bruce. PB.NET should not be damned because the majority of this forum participants don’t use it! I’ve seen some videos about some projects being ported to pb.net, and the result was great… I don’t know how long wpf technology will be there. But I’m not also sure about how long win32 will be supported by microsoft.

                      The main problem for me is that we are already in the second semester of the year without a roadmap or a beta, and powerbuilder competition has new releases from last year, and preview releases e.t.c.

                      Andreas.

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                      1. Bruce Armstrong

                        Andreas Mykonios wrote:

                                               

                        Hi Chris.

                        I really wonder if this “conflict” with Bruce has any sense…

                                           

                        The main reason I’m responding at all isn’t to defend either IDE, but to make sure that arguments that are presented in support of one or in critique of the other are actually valid.  Statements like “You can’t compete with Visual Studio” aren’t valid in distinquishing between the IDEs.  When somewhat dubious statistics are thrown out without supporting information the basis for them is questioned.

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                2. no new power

                  It is obvious that most of the enhancements are pb classic since most people are still using pb classic as the path to pb.net is cost prohibitive today.

                  Vote for PB.NET becoming stronger, empowering PB developer with all the .NET tools for their existing PB apps.

                  I wish I posted my enhancements directly on Sybase/SAP support system instead of wasting my time on isug.

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            3. Chris Pollach

              Hi Ben;

                I disagree … while in the latter 2000’s .Net was surging – since 2010 the .Net realm has dropped significantly whereas J2EE has risen again to be in first place world-wide. In order for PB to survive in the corporate world where application connectivity, interoperability, mash-ups, etc are often needed – plus a strong emerging direction to Web, Cloud and Mobile … see’s no support for this from PB.Net.

              The PB community does not need another .Net “wannabe”. It needs a solid RAD based IDE that delivers applications across the spectrum of items I mentioned above. To me, PB Classic + Appeon IS the direction SAP should be looking at – especially now with Appeon’s new HANA connectivity and support for Azure, RackSpace and Amazon clouds.

                Its an easy decision to make .. just separate PB Classic and PB.Net into individual products and see which one gets the lions share of purchases and renewals. PB Classic + Appeon delivers now – while even if SAP embark on enhancing PB.Net to encompass these areas, the development will means years to market. Much too late IMHO!

              Regards … Chris

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            4. Bruce Armstrong

              Chris and yourself are making the same mistake.  “You can’t compete with Visual Studio” is not an argument in favor of either PowerBuilder IDE.  Either you can compete with it or you can’t.  If you can, then one or both of the PowerBuilder IDEs make sense.  If you can’t, then neither makes sense, or, at a minimum, it doesn’t make sense for you and you should be using Visual Studio.

              For either PowerBuilder IDE to make sense it has to offer some value above and beyond what Visual Studio has to offer.  You appear to believe that the PowerBuilder.Net IDE offers something that Visual Studio doesn’t offer.  Chris seems to believe that the PowerBuilder Classic offers something that Visual Studio doesn’t offer.  In either case, you both are arguing that in fact you can compete with Visual Studio, so maintaining that you can’t compete with it is contradictory to your position.

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              1. Benjamin Kemner

                Hi Bruce;

                thanks for your reply. Maybe I didn’t bring my point clearly. These days I read/hear a lot of PB against Visual Studio threads and meanings and I think it’s the wrong discussion. Visual Studio is like a shell for a lot of technolgies (mainly .NET but not exclusivly). PB Classic (IDE) won’t be something like this (yes I compared). LightSwitch is an add-in for VS, ASP.NET MVC is an add-in for VS, Xamarin is (if you want) an add-in for VS. THESE are the competitors. In fact lot of developers are using PB IDE and Visual Studio so why not a consequent step to integrate PB in VS. There are a lot of synergies like the add-in interface (YOU posted about this). Let the Classic die … classic is just an euphemism for dowdy.

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    2. Guillaume Mayer

      (I reply to myself to get more width for further comments)

      I agree with those who say that Pb.NET is not good enough for production, i was testing it last week and i saw too many issues to disagree, maybe for new projects, but not for legacy applications like ours.

      But Chris you have to recognize that the new IDE – i’m not talking about the language itself, just the IDE – is not perfect, ok, but it’s already better than the classic one, i mean: you can replace in more than one file at once, intellisense works, there is no more useless PBL files, you can open the source of two objects even if the first one contains the second one, debugger is better, source control integration is probably better.

      The last IDE enhancement i can remember in classic was that some dialogs became resizables, that is really far away from the taste we got with Pb.NET, for me it sounds like Sybase engineers had made their choice (just hope SAP’s ones will do the same).

      Can’t we have a “classic” target in the new IDE ?

      I’m not really aware of how Appeon works but i guess it converts source files, so it could work in the VS Shell IDE as well, no ?

      If you could write C++ and PowerScript in the same code, just like it’s possible to write PowerScript and C# in Pb.Net, won’t you be enthusiastic like we are about Pb.Net ?

      Initial post was talking about productivity, i agree Pb is a productive tool but it will be much more productive with a powerful IDE, like VS shell or Eclipse.

      To me, it doesn’t make sense to keep the classic IDE.

      Respectfully.

      Guillaume

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      1. Bruce Armstrong

        Guillaume Mayer wrote:

                               

        [snip]

        Can’t we have a “classic” target in the new IDE ?

        [snip]

                           

        FYI, that was the original plan.  The “Classic” targets would eventually be moved in the .Net IDE.  I haven’t heard anything about continuing that plan recently though.

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        1. Guillaume Mayer

          Hi Bruce,

          Well.. it was a good plan i think.

          I saw the pbtv webinar, and i could not see anything about Pb.Net in the roadmap.

          I think my last study on it was a waste of time.

          Did you understood like me that Pb.Net is not going to be improved ?

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          1. Bruce Armstrong

            There were a few items that were specific to the Native IDE such as:

                 64 bit deployment

                 MDI Docking Windows

                 Native IDE Overhaul

                 Native PDF Printing

                 PB Native multi-platform

            The others, mostly HTML5 reporting and the SAP integration bullets, didn’t really indicate which IDE they were targetted for, if not both.

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      2. Chris Pollach

        Hi Guillaume;

        1) Most PB developers I speak to agree with your assessment of PB.Net (not good enough for production).

        2) The VS IDE is OK but only adds Intellisense as any real value vs PB Classic (still has .Net assemblies, Web services, Winform).

        3) Unless SAP commits to adding Win32, Web, Service, Console, Mobile, etc targets to PB.net – I don’t see any ROI for using PB.net.

        4) In fact, unless SAP gets off their *** and does something with PB … we are #@!*&.  😯

        5) We had a C++ User Object and Sybase deprecated that great feature. IMHO – they should have just extended that into a C# UO.

        6) My guess is that Appeon would choose the Eclipse IDE instead. Especially, since Appeon deploys to the J2EE world just as well as it does .NET.  πŸ™‚

           Unfortunately, I don’t think that the .Net’ters here in this tread can see the forest for the trees. The IT landscape has dramatically changed recently and .Net is no longer the major player it was in the 2005-2010 time frame. IMHO its time for SAP to re-evaluate the whole situation (assuming they actually do something with PB 15  πŸ˜₯ )

        Thanks for your insight & feedback though Guillaume!

        Regards … Chris

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        1. Guillaume Mayer

          Hi Chris,

          Thanks for your points.

          I enjoyed your slides, i didn’t know your framework and will have a look at it.

          Like you said in 4), i think we’re #@*$, the way is pb to become a sap plug-in rather than a vs plugin (for what i felt).

          Do you know more about this “Pb native IDE overhaul” item ?

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          1. Chris Pollach

            Hi  Guillaume;

               No,  I have no more information other than what Armeen reported on in the webinar (from what he saw SAP people present at the Germany event last month).

               The key messages I took away from the PB 15 road-map section of the webinar were:

            1)  The main focus will be on PB Classic ( which will be renamed PB Native  πŸ˜€ )

            2)  The IDE “makeover” for PB Native is a HUGE direction statement and one I endorse 100%!  πŸ™‚

            3)  Most of the feature upgrades for PB 15 were for PB Native!  😘

            4)  There was little said about PB.Net

            Regards … Chris

            PS: Glad you liked the PBTV session!

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        2. Benjamin Kemner

          2)

          + a documented add-in interface

          + code collapsing

          + nuget (try to imagine: PFC via nuget!)

          + mainstream SourceControl support (no more proxy! bye bye pushOK!)

          + integrated unit tests

          + msbuild

          + …

          These points won’t work from the scratch (Intellisense also didn’t) but the potential is there. SAP would never integrate this to PB Classic (it’s more likely that SAP integrates PB into ABAP Wokbench or invents something like PB Workbench for NetWeaver).

          That’s it. My last post in this thread. It feels like every discussion about PB future ends up in the conclusion: Only SAP knows and more discussion boosts the PB developer “cabin fever”. So enjoy you summer πŸ™‚

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          1. Chris Pollach

            Hi Ben;

               I agree .. we now need to formerly hear from SAP – otherwise, its still all just speculation.

            Have a super summer yourself!  😎

            Regards … Chris

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  10. m s

    We sell our main application currently as client/server (classic), and will very shortly be providing it in a hosted SAAS web environment using Appeon.  In addition, we will also provide it as a web version hosted by our customers, again via appeon. 

    We expect portions of our app to be on tablets, and possibly phones, again via appeon.  We did a proof of concept that ran our entire application on an iPad using appeon mobile, and it worked shockingly well.

    I really like the idea of having a single code base that runs client/server, web, tablet and phone.

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