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PBDJ Cover Story — Why Upgrade to PB11?

An overview of some of the new features

Conditional Compilation
Conditional compilation is useful for things like machine dependencies, platform dependencies, debugging, and for setting certain options at compile time. PowerBuilder 11.0 provides this feature to allow developers to differentiate among target types when writing code at development time. PowerBuilder provides five preprocessor symbols for different target types and a "DEBUG" symbol for debugging purposes. With conditional compilation, users can share the common code and write special code for different target deployment environments.

.NET Language Interoperation
The .NET Framework and other associated third-party managed libraries provide a very rich resource. PowerBuilder users can utilize these libraries to extend the functionality of PowerBuilder and save development time.

.NET language interoperability makes it possible to consume .NET classes and methods in PowerBuilder applications. With .NET language interoperability, you can use PowerBuilder syntax to create .NET classes, call .NET methods, and access .NET properties. You can make use of .NET collection classes, such as Hashtable and Set, and you can also make use of powerful .NET communication classes and other .NET services.

Smart Client Data Access Using MobiLink Synchronization
Sybase MobiLink offers data synchronization using scripts and roles that allow "occasionally connected" users to work offline with data specific to their needs. These users can easily synchronize their data with the consolidated database whenever they are connected.

PowerBuilder 11 allows developers to create applications that can make use of this technology with a built-in Standard Class.

TreeView DataWindow for Web Forms
The TreeView DataWindow for Web Forms is useful for displaying hierarchical data on the Web. It can freely expand or collapse information to show or hide specific details. This feature will benefit PowerBuilder developers who want to show hierarchical data on the Web.

Web Service DataWindow
The Web Service DataWindow allows the DataWindow to use a Web Service method for data retrieval. The Web Service method used for retrieval must return the data in one of the following forms:

  • A simple type
  • An array of simple types
  • A structure made up of simple types
  • An array of structures
Microsoft SQL Server 2005
PowerBuilder 11 includes a new interface (SNC) to support SQL Server 2005. This interface is similar to the Microsoft OLE DB interface, but it uses Microsoft's new OLE DB driver dedicated to SQL Server 2005. With this interface, PowerBuilder applications can leverage the new features provided by Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

Contemporary Menus and Toolbars
The PowerBuilder development environment has a fresh look with menus and toolbars that have a more modern appearance. The "contemporary style" toolbar introduced for PowerBuilder 10.5 applications is now featured in the development environment, with gradient background shading and a style familiar to developers who work with Microsoft Office 2003 and Visual Studio 2005.

Current Target Highlighted in the System Tree
The current target is now indicated in the system tree, and menu items have been added for building and deploying the current target. Keyboard shortcuts can be defined for these menu items.

Project Painters Are Greatly Enhanced
The Project painters in PowerBuilder are now consistent in their editing actions and usability. You edit project properties without modal dialogs. For many of the projects, you can indicate the application you want to use to test your project.

Imported .NET Assemblies in the System Tree
The System Tree now displays imported .NET assemblies that you associate with your target. The System Tree contains the types, methods, and properties for the assemblies that you can drag and drop onto Script views - just like any other item in the System Tree.

You can add, remove, or reorder imported .NET assemblies on the new .NET tab on the target Properties dialog box for any .NET target type.

Functions and Events with Code in the System Tree
The System Tree now groups functions and events with actual implementations and has a new icon that indicates when there is code associated with functions and events. This feature makes it easier to use the System Tree to find code that you want to edit. Double-clicking an event or function opens it in the Script view.

Many Dialog Boxes are Resizable
The "File > New" and target Properties dialog boxes and many other dialog boxes are resizable.

PowerBuilder Development Environment Licensed with SySAM
The PowerBuilder and InfoMaker development environments are now using the Sybase standard "SySAM" licensing tool. This flexible model is the same as that used by Adaptive Server Enterprise 15, EAServer 6, and PowerDesigner 12. Details of the current license are displayed in the "About" dialog box.

DataWindow Retrieval Values Can Be Saved
In the PowerBuilder development environment, the values that you use for DataWindow retrieval can be saved for later use. This saves the step of entering values each time you need to retrieve the DataWindow at design time.

Miscellaneous

  • AutoScript has an option to Display Return Values.
  • AutoScript has an option to display the return values for methods.
  • SCC Warning Dialog Box Optional.
  • When opening an object that is under source control, but not checked out, the dialog box informing you that the object is not checked out is now optional.
Building with Painters Open
Building a target with painters open is now possible. Painters that are "dirty" still prevent the build from proceeding, but the overall build process is now much smoother when no changes have been made to the objects in an open painter.

But...don't just take my word for it. Come to a PB 11 Launch tour event near you in Europe or North America.

More Stories By Chris Pollach

Chris Pollach is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years experience in Systems and Software Analysis, Development, Maintenance and Technical Support, mainly in the areas of GUI Design, MS-Windows Programming, Java / .NET Programming, Wireless, Application / Web Server Design & Programming, Object Oriented Development Tools and Methodologies, Data Base, Data Communications and Network application development. He has participated in numerous technical, planning and management roles, as well as consulted and educated in these fields for a diverse clientele. He is also the owner of “Software Tool & Die Inc.” a company dedicated to provide custom software and education solutions on Object Oriented business systems.

As an educator, Chris is certified to teach PowerBuilder (first in Canada), MS-SQLServer, Sybase’s Enterprise Application Studio and EAServer integrated application/web development environment. He is former Certified SilverStream developer (CSSD) and current Certified PowerBuilder Developer – Associate / Professional (CPD-P) as well as a Certified Sybase Tools Instructor (CSI).

Chris has written numerous articles in various popular personal computer magazines, newsletters and is the author of the PowerGuide and PowerExpert products as well as the STD Foundation Classes. Currently, Chris has developed a Foundation Class library for Sybase's PocketBuilder, SAP's PowerBulder and EAServer products and now Appeon Web & mobile products that integrates JSP or ASP web development, Section 508 / CLF web standards and mobile applications. A new Web Service framework has also been released for IIs to support PowerBuilder based web service NVUO's!

Chris recently became a 2nd Degree Black in the TaeKwonDo martial art and has developed a Martial Art multimedia study guide using the Component-One “Doc2Help” and Sybase PowerBuilder products. Since the fall of 2004 he became a TaeKwonDo instructor for the City of Ottawa’s Goulbourn program. He has also been certified with the World TaeKwonDo Federation (February 2005 - 1st Dan and October 2008 - 2nd Dan).

Chris was awarded the Sybase “Innovation and Achievement” award for 2005 as voted for by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG). This award was presented for innovations to the PocketBuilder mobile development product, contributions to the PowerBuilder News groups and support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group.

To round his management and leadership skills, Chris is the former president of the Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn and still volunteers his time with the service clubs in his area. He is also the coordinator of the Ottawa Sybase User group and a certified NAUI scuba instructor. For the last three years, Chris has been voted onto the ISUG Board of Directors and holds the position of "Director - North American User Groups".

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