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Author's profile photo Christophe Dufourmantelle

Thoughts on the latest PBTV webcast

Thanks again to all the attendees and speakers who joined yesterday’s « Latest news from the PB world » webcast.

For info, Bruce Armstrong just published a summary on his blog

What can we take away from this webcast?

The first thing is that no, Dirk Boessmann was not able to announce SAP’s plans for PowerBuilder after 12.6. The length of time taken to give us an answer is not the only problem; SAP’s lack of transparency – stricter than Sybase’s concerning preliminary announcements – has increased uncertainty among PB shops and on their past and future investments.

That being said, I see some positive points from the webinar: It’s the first time a Senior VP has spoken about PB on PBTV – from either Sybase or SAP. Taking into account the restrictions imposed by SAP, it’s not so easy. Dirk Boessmann has already made the trip to Berlin to meet with a group of eager PB developers. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt he would have made all of this effort if SAP didn’t intend to move forward with positive actions for PB…

Despite these restrictions, I noticed some interesting information:

  • As highlighted by Bruce, Dirk has reiterated that there’s no intention to kill PB, especially silently. If such a case were to occur, SAP would communicate far in advance to give PB users enough time to migrate their applications.
  • There’s no intention either to simply release a “maintenance mode”, but on the contrary, there’s a real will to evolve PB – even if no precise information was given on the nature of this nor the timing.  
  • The next meet-up is at Charlotte, where Dirk Boessmann will attend. He should present a plan for PB, upon validation by the upper management of SAP.

Also, I really do find refreshing the continued involvement of the PB community. The Webcast yesterday beat all PBTV audience records, and not just during Dirk Boessmann’s part, but during almost the entirety of the webcast. Developers of PB companion tools remain very active, with a number of new products coming out this year. PowerBuilder events remain popular, and the discussion in PB forums just as lively.

Finally, I’d like to correct an oversight: we spoke about the Charlotte PowerBuilder Conference yesterday but forgot to mention the upcoming ISUG-TECH conference from March 29 until April 2 in Atlanta that includes 9 dedicated PowerBuilder sessions.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I think we need to articulate how PowerBuilder will fit in SAP's overall product vision for Mobile, Web, Cloud and Enterprise apps. SAP is promoting SAP UI5 (Javascript, HTML, CSS based Web UI framework) for the user interface. For the middle business logic tier, it promotes a combination of ABAP and Java based frameworks hosted in Net weaver App server. What is missing is a proposition of how Native apps will fit in the SAP's technology landscape and how PB can help in this front.

      Here are some use cases where Powerbuilder can fit:

      1. Some business use cases can be fulfilled only by a Native app. Eg. Facebook, Linkedin native apps. Powerbuilder can fit here and can be used a Cross platform Native App development tool that can be deployed in all OS platforms. Currently, Native development is pre-dominantly in Java, .NET, Objective-C etc. and Powerbuilder can fill this gap for SAP requirements. Given, PB's 4GL RAD capabilities, it is clearly a winner on this front.

      2. Powerbuilder can be used as a tool for building powerful Predictive Analytics apps that require rich and responsive UI and embedded functionality that can work with HANA. Business objects and other such Data Visualization tools only cater to Reporting, whereas, Powerbuilder can fit in as a Custom App development tool for this kind of use cases.

      3. Powerbuilder with Appeon will literally make it readily available on any form factor. This can make custom PB apps to be deployed in virtually every possible environment.

      Hope SAP can understand the value that Powerbuilder brings based on this three scenarios. I think we need to really understand the value of Powerbuilder vis-a-vis other tools in the SAP technology stack currently.I find PB far superior to the rest in terms of functionality and what it can achieve from a developer standpoint. Hope SAP understands this. If not, there needs to be a independent evaluation by a Technology evaluation firm to really make them understand this.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Very eloquent, but posting that here does absolutely no good.  You're "preaching to the choir", as it were.