Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Wednesday’s Keynote

Jonathan Baker began the Wednesday keynote and introduced the three points that would be discussed:

PowerBuilder: Believes in .Net
J2EE: Tomorrow has arrived
Mobile: The future is now

Jonathan Baker coming on stage
Jonathan coming on stage

Jonathan Baker on stage
Jonathan Baker on stage

The whole thing had an X-files theme. It was OK, but nothing compared to the MIB theme from Tuesday's technote.

John Strano then came out for the PowerBuilder portion of the keynote. He indicated that the benefits of PowerBuilder include:

Rich Clients Today, Smart Client Tomorrow
The DataWindow today will rock the world of .Net DataWindow
Integration with J2EE in .Net applications

He then presented dw-extreme samples of what a DataWindow can do. That was followed by a discussion of the roadmap for PowerBuilder's .Net support. John noted that Sybase is a Microsoft Premier Partner in their Visual Studio Industry Partner program. Sybase is intending to introduce .Net enhancements in line with .Net releases, beginning with the PowerBuilder 11 release linked to the release of Visual Studio 2005 (particularly ASP.Net 2.0).

In the more immediate future, John discussed the release of PowerBuilder 10.5 (currently in beta) and the PowerBuilder Application Server Plugin (about to go into beta) which will allow PowerBuilder components to be deployed as EJBs in third-party application servers.

As for PowerBuilder 11, John noted that in addition to the ASP.Net compiler, that release will also introduce the .Net Interop capability (where PB components can utilize .Net components) and enhancements to the Web DataWindow.

Diagram of ASP.Net compiler
Diagram of ASP.Net compiler

In the longer term, Sybase is working on the PowerBuilder Runtime Assemblies for .Net, so that applications will no longer require a managed PBVM layer. Sybase is also working on enabling PowerBuilder to utilize smart client deployment techniques, including using web services as the primary means of transmitting information to and from the client application.

John then demonstrated a couple of the PowerBuilder 11.0 features, such as "painting" a web form using a regular PowerBuilder painter. The application (a PowerBuilder implementation of Microsofts Duwamish 7.0 Bookstore) was then compiled using the new .Net Application WebForm Wizard. The result, except for the title bar, was completely indistinguishable from the PowerBuilder client version.

Dave Dichman and Jeff Prizlack then came on stage to demonstrate the ability to do analysis, design, development, deployment and testing of applications all within a single IDE: the Workspace product. Unfortunately, the last part of the demonstration was the creation and deployment of a SOA service based on a database stored procedure without writing a single line of code. As amazing as that was, I don't know if the majority of the audience was familiar enough with SOA to realize what was being done or how significant it was.

Marty Malick and Ian Thain then came on stage to demonstrate recent enhancements in PocketBuilder. The only downside is that they are still using the Insurance Agent demo application. While the intent is to demo new features, the continued reuse of the same application for the demo is getting old. I think I've seen at least four or five demo using that same application. What they did demonstrate was remote debugging and automatic adjustment for screen orientation changes. They also noted that even Visual Studio can't deploy to all of the platforms that PocketBuilder does (PPC 2002, WM 2003, WM2003SE, SP 2003, Win CE and WM 5.0).

As far as PocketBuilder futures, they indicated the road map is:

PK 2.0.3 Q4 2005 – Remote debugging, WM5.0
PK 2.5 Q1 2006 - .Net object support, multiple orientation layout painter
PK 3.0 based on PB 11 code line and DataWindows

They finished with case study of ELMO ICT solutions, an IT firm providing solutions to home care providers to automate much of their paperwork. That company has 10,000 users making 100,000 synchronizations per day (2.5 million synchronizatoins per month) all to a single ASA database.

Finally, Jim O'Neil spoke on where engineering is going.


Jim O'Neil presenting his section of the keynote
Jim O'Neil presenting his section of the keynote

Finally, all the presenters came back on stage, along with Sue Dunnell, and then proceeded to throw t-shirts into the audience.

All the presenters on stage
All the presenters on stage

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