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Sybase Releases PowerBuilder 11 for .NET

Next-gen version of PowerBuilder adds more .NET functionality.

Sybase Inc., the Dublin, Calif.-based enterprise infrastructure and mobile software provider, recently released the latest version of its venerable Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, PowerBuilder 11. The new version is the third release in a four-phase rollout that adds new features for the .NET Framework.

PowerBuilder 11 allows developers to deploy non-visual objects (NVOs) as .NET assemblies and .NET Smart Client applications; to deploy NVOs as Web services; and to deploy PowerBuilder applications to the Web using ASP.NET. It comes with support for Microsoft SQL Server Native Client and Oracle RAC. It also has the ability to use Web services as a data source for the DataWindow. Developers can also use the tool to build traditional client-server business apps and Web services, according to the company.

Rolling out Improvements
Sybase developed the phased rollout strategy in 2002, says Sue Dunnel, senior product manager on the PowerBuilder team. Version 9 added Web services support for .NET and other frameworks. It also added the XML DataWindow, which imports data directly from an XML document and saves data retrieved from any source as a fully customized XML document, or as a document or string using XSL Formatting Objects or PDF.

Version 10 followed in 2004, continuing the evolution of Sybase's new "4GLplus" RAD environment, which seeks to provide a tight integration among design, modeling, development, deployment and management capabilities in heterogeneous environments.

PowerBuilder 10 supported XML, Java Server Pages (JSP), Enterprise Java Beans (EJB), .NET and Web services. It also came with simplified access to .NET data and complex database operations with ADO.NET interfaces, as well as support for Microsoft's Active Accessibility Interface.

Waiting on .NET
Then the phased-release plan hit a snag, Dunnel says. During the development cycle for version 11, Microsoft announced several delays connected to the release of Visual Studio 2005. "Our technologies depended on the .NET Framework 2.0," she tells RDN, "but our customers tend to get antsy if we don't deliver when we say we're going to."

Sybase pooled everything in the 11 release that was not .NET-related into a 10.5 release. "It focused on core functionality. And then we went back to work on 11," Dunnel says.

Dunnel's team is now working on phase four (version 12), which she expects to release in about 15 months. Look for support for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) in that edition, as well as full support for visual controls and drag-and-drop programming with .NET within the IDE.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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