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Despite the uncertainty surrounding SAP’s plans for PowerBuilder,

more of you answered the 2014 PowerBuilder Survey than previous years.

SAP Management recently confirmed that they are preparing PowerBuilder’s future,

but for the moment no announcement has been published.

In this context, it’s important to show how committed the PowerBuilder community is.

This year, SAP added questions to identify the most demanded evolutions by PowerBuilder developers.

Your answers were numerous and very detailed.

We compiled them by theme to help SAP elaborate an eventual roadmap.

Even if no one can predict SAP’s plans for PB, the best message that can be sent to SAP is to show them your loyalty as PB developers.

This is what all those who answered the survey did, and the PowerBuilder community thanks them!

Christophe

2014 PB survey’s results

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18 Comments

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  1. Armeen Mazda

    I 100% agree with all that was said in this post.  I encourage everybody out there to fill out the survey so SAP will have the information to make best decision for PB.

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  2. Philip Sidgwick

    You say that “SAP Management recently confirmed that they are preparing PowerBuilder’s future” refering to another thread. I have initiated this thread, but even after reading it again, I don’t see ANY commitment or involvement in PowerBuilder’s future. Isn’t it scary that only you and Armeen( both SELLING tools for PowerBuilder) have the same optimistic opinion? I think that we should put an ultimatum on SAP : if at a defined date, there is no real roadmap, with guarantee of delivery, we should state that we abandon PowerBuilder definitively. If SAP is not commited to the custommers, it won’t change anything for them. Otherwise, they know what to do… My 2 ct

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    1. Armeen Mazda

      Phillip, it is natural that Novlays, Appeon, and other PB partners have more optimistic opinion than the average PB user because as PB partners we have more visibility into what is going on.  But by no means am I discouraging you and other PB users to express to SAP the consequences they will face if they do not move fast enough to take real action or what negative impact it would have to your organization. 

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      1. Philip Sidgwick

        OK : we, average PB users, have no visibility, but is there something to view?

        If there was, why is SAP so silent ?

        Do you find normal that the users have to beg SAP for a RoadMap for years?

        We are in business, real business. Do you think it is sensible from our part to just wait years without news, with sometimes a positive announce, but which remain an announce( PB15 –> PB 12.6, …)?

        In this situation, how can we convince our managers that developping in Powerbuilder is not a loss of time, resources, revenues, etc? It seems difficult, if not impossible.

        If I was SAP, and if my goal was to ditch PowerBuilder, I think that I would do the same.

        Philip

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        1. Armeen Mazda

          There are intentions and directions but no concrete plans.  Unlike Sybase, SAP doesn’t communicate something that is not basically set in stone… at least that is what I’m told. I think this is a strange practice but every company has their culture and policies.

          You hit the real issue, which is no roadmap for years.  That is why we are all frustrated at SAP.  I could be wrong but I believe we will see a roadmap for PB sometime next year.  I know, it’s ridiculous that we had to wait 5 years after SAP bought Sybase to see roadmap for PB.

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          1. David Peace

            Hi Armeen

            You are spot on, we keep going round the same loop with people starting the gloom & doom stories. The fact is that SAP have not laid a fixed plan yet! It is their policy to say nothing until the plan is etched in stone, so until that point we will have to wait.

            Seasons Greetings to All đŸ™‚

            David

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    2. Christophe Dufourmantelle Post author

      Hi Philip,

      I understand your concern, and I would like to add a few comments to Armeen and David’s answers:

      Below I’ve put together some facts; I’ve avoided expressing my opinion as much as possible to not further fan the flames of a debate in an already complicated context. Everyone is welcome to interpret these facts as they wish.

      When I talked about how SAP recently confirmed that they’re working on the future of PowerBuilder, I was referring to the explanations at the Berlin conference, where I was present, given by the SAP manager in charge of PowerBuilder. As well as to discussions I’ve had with him and information we’ve exchanged pertaining to creating a stable operational base for PowerBuilder.

      As I stated above, no one today knows if the result of this reflection time will be positive or negative for the PB community. I can just confirm the current state. Is the process moving too slowly? Of course. Should SAP have published a roadmap and released new versions of PowerBuilder long ago? There’s no doubt about it.

      The only thing we know is that SAP has repeatedly confirmed that they will not EOL PB. As Armeen and David mentioned, SAP is not the kind of company that announces something if it’s not concrete. Plus, I sincerely doubt they would let down hundreds of their biggest customers running both SAP business solutions and mission-critical PB applications. We can reasonably consider this option is out of the picture for the coming years. That’s the first point you can say to your managers.

      The second point I would suggest mentioning to them is simple: whatever the level of investment that SAP will put into PB, we will likely end-up in somewhat of a similar situation than when PB was under the Sybase umbrella: minor evolutions done by the product owner (Sybase/SAP), and major evolutions provided by 3rd party vendors. The lack of effort from Sybase to evolve PB gave birth to an active ecosystem that has provided the most significant evolutions for years. This ecosystem is well alive and PB IS key for their business, so I don’t see any reason why they would turn their back on it.

      Christophe

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  3. André Rust

    I hope the SAP sometimes resolves the long-standing bug in PowerBuilder. Of course urgently current functions are used.

    Perhaps we should sometimes collect information which can be solved for error. Or what should there be any changes or extensions.

    I’ve been working more than 25 years with PowerBuilder and there are quite a few errors which traverse through all versions of PowerBuilder.

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  4. Oswaldo Varela

    I’ve been in love with PowerBuilder for the past 15 years, it’s so easy to use and I love the DataWindow, but wistfully must say I have to let it go … because every time it stay further back … not to mention that HTML5 and javascript and the web is the future and PowerBuilder has not the slightest intention of approaching these technologies. Just think about it… I was in total deny too, but in the future… all the people is going to connect to their enterprise systems in their phone or tablet or PC or anything else that maybe don’t have “Windows”, so we have to catch up… Appeon is just a rough patch (only works on windows, so I don’t see the benefit) By this I say: Thank Powerbuilder, thank you very much … but Goodbye … I can not let you drag me to your death.

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    1. Armeen Mazda

      Appeon generates native mobile apps for iOS and Android in addition Web app for Windows PC and you can use most PB features on mobile in addition to mobile-specific functionality not available in PB, such as mapping, camera, barcode scanning, etc.

      While HTML5 is the future for Web we don’t believe it is the future for mobile and neither does Apple or else they wouldn’t have invested to create SWIFT.  HTML5 is poor man’s solution to mobile app. .

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    2. Christophe Dufourmantelle Post author

      Hi Oswaldo,

      I understand you need to catch up and allow people to connect to their enterprise system with their phone, tablet, PC, etc. Actually lots of projects I meet do, and they use Appeon for that.

      HTML5/Javascript is a popular alternative and I assume each project can evaluate what’s best for itself. So let’s look at the facts (denial can go both ways, remember Silverlight and other technologies that are no longer obvious solutions…).

      I don’t know many development platforms that combine:

      • The unbeatable productivity offered by PowerBuilder to develop database driven applications – of course, tons of applications do not fall in that category.
      • The ability to maintain a single code base and deploy it to several types of clients (Windows PCs, Windows based Web browsers, iOS and Android mobiles). That’s where you may catch up with the deployment expectations you mentioned.
      • The ability to leverage existing investments (existing PB code, PB licenses, PB skills…). Again, not all organizations fall into this category.
      • The ability to provide a rich UI and decent performances, especially when manipulating significant volumes of data on the client side.

      I guess my point is: all projects I know that meet several of the above criteria usually consider PB/Appeon as a good solution, and I can understand why.

      Christophe

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  5. Peter Piechutzki

    I agree almost fully with Oswaldo, using PB for the last 18 Years mainly for development of an ERP System, keeping it up to date and implementing new functinonality.

    We now have a system with far more than hundredthousand lines of code used by almost 200 employees. Acutally I have no idea where to go if powerbuilder EOL’s. Does anyone have advice how I can give our CEO’s a Roadmap of the product we’re developing? It’s not even sure, that our development environment will be around next year. Actually we would need more developers, but how shall I sell this to our investors?

    Rationally thinking about it, what interest did SAP really have in taking over a product with which you can develop enterprise business software? By now I’m convinced that SAP is much more interested in selling their own business suites than doing further development in Powerbuilder…

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  6. dinis miguel

    Novalys, is a company focused on powerbuilder tools and products already gave us an example how to evolve when choosed to rewrite their main product (visual expert, originally in powerbuilder)  to C#.

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    1. Christophe Dufourmantelle Post author

      Hi Dinis,

      Let me clarify one point: as you mentioned, Visual Expert is a tool, not an application. Unlike a typical PB application, Visual Expert is not database-driven, and therefore does not benefit from PB’s productivity. It analyses PB code for impact analysis purposes, so its engine was C++ based for performance reasons and has been re-written in C# (more details at http://www.visual-expert.com).

      Christophe

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      1. dinis miguel

        Christophe,


        Thanks for our answer.
        Indeed the visualexpert is basically an application based on database (not in the ordinary sense) because it uses a database to work.
        But the question of the core is that novalys had a product made with powerbuilder (pretty good) and turned out to be compelled to migrate to escape the powerbuilder problems. Probably to pb.net but eventually realize that there was more bugs then went to C #.
        How is that now the Novalys want to convince their customers to continue to invest in PB when itself abandoned?


        Dinis

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        1. Christophe Dufourmantelle Post author

          Dinis,

          As mentioned above, Visual Expert 6 was mainly composed of C++ code (90%), not PowerBuilder. The UI itself was partially written in C++, partially with PB.

          Our primary motivation was to rewrite the C++ engine with C# for a matter of productivity. Once this was done, we also replaced the C++ and PB UI code to have a consistent code base and get rid of interoperability issues.

          Believe it or not, if we would be maintaining a database driven, business application, we would certainly keep it in PowerBuilder. I’ve seen too many conversion projects failing because it was simply impossible to develop the same features than PB at a reasonable cost. So I would not encourage any project to go down that road…

          Did you try it yourself? If so, could you tell us more about the size of the application and the end result of the conversion?

          Christophe

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          1. dinis miguel

            Christophe,

            I’m not sure about that 90% c++ ratio

            VisualExpert 6.1

            pb 11.5    PDB   : 18MB

            c++ ve61  DLL   : 10MB

            VisualExpert was the most complex PB application i have known until today.

            I have two enterprise applications made in PB9 and recently migrated to PB12 and I am a repentant bit because I was only with more bugs and slower.
            Unfortunately there is no viable exit to the PB, since it showed me that the PB.net also is not the way.


            Dinis

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        2. Paul Murray

          Christophe,

          Regarding: “How is that now the Novalys want to convince their customers to continue to invest in PB when itself abandoned?

          I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of Novalys.  I recommended Appeon to a client who made the decision to purchase it today.  I worked with Carmina who was very professional and followed through on every promise.

          I can still get more done with an old version of PB and Appeon than anything else on the market.

          Paul

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