FrameWorks Before and after PFC
Almost twenty years ago, before PFC, user group meetings were mostly totally dedicated to frameworks. How deep or shallow… Inheritance, encapsulation and polymorphism. Who had the smartest string functions or ability to do file system operations better than anyone. I remember getting a buzz out of playing a wavefile using soundA. It was all very technical. On projects frameworks were an afterthought for the techos while waiting for the final final user specs or while we were RADing. Who needs specs when you can write a quick and dirty actual system in half the time.
Every new project seemed to have a Lead who managed to sell or donate their framework enhanced since adopted from a previous project and which would get it all going and programmers had to learn it and adhere by its’ inherent standards, whilst forgetting Cobol and worse. PB was better than VB and SQL Windows came and went. Datawindows above all conquered the up and coming client server market running on windows 3.1.1 for work groups.
My point here is. 15-20 years ago PB was it. New project = PB. In 1998 we had 16+ people attending FastTrack to PowerBuilder 5 and 6.5 every month in Sydney, Australia alone.
PFC set the foundation of all new projects in the mid to late nineties. Frame, sheets, menus, tabs and 3D sunken five deep. Game, set and match. By late ’96 I was a lead on a project and found myself wanting to write my own, cos that’s way more fun, but hearing myself praising PFC. Got my kicks from writing new window services. Sticky Notes was one.
By 2000 PB had gone from best C/S tool with added PFC to 3tier Jaguar with… well you really need a different sort of framework to pool your poor stateless components. Not many could justify a Jaguar and true to form, Sybase struggled selling it for HOW MUCH?! We had gone from high development license cost and free for all deployment to a different model all together.
After PFC… well PFC is now embedded in a few “Legacy” systems. If you wanted something else you couldn’t justify it. Metaphorically speaking the PFC foundation is as heavy as solid concrete and all the utilities heavily embedded. At least your house won’t move in a hurry. Might also keep a few of us enjoyed till retirement in not so many moons.
So is there an after PFC. Is there something to replace it. Are there Tech Leads and Architects on projects who can take the user requirements and who can justify PB Apps at all? Apps!! have we gone full circle? What are Apps on Windows going to look like next year? Could a modern PB framework take control away from terrible awful browser applications where you have to enter a simple date from 3 dropdown. A drag when you are born more than half a century ago. Who will design it? What are the real requirements of a modern generic app?
To me, the ideal framework would enable you to produce a maintainable core business application app in a very short time frame.
I don’t know what else can snatch PB from the jaws of the slow attrition to oblivion.