Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TechWave 2007

Well, I was wrong. I was hoping that it would move out of Las Vegas. It moved, but just to a different hotel. Mark your calendars for August 6th to 10th.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DataWindow.Net 2.5 Beta is open

New features include:

DataWindow Designer Visual Studio Plug-in
This is a set of plug-ins for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. It gives users the ability to design DataWindow objects directly in Visual Studio instead of in the standalone DataWindow Designer from the previous versions. The standalone DataWindow Designer will not be distributed with DataWindow .NET 2.5.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No more 80% solutions…

It may be a bit early, but I have a New Year's resolution I'd like to propose to Sybase: "No more 80% solutions."

What is an 80% solution? It's a technology approach that seems well conceived and when used with small demonstration applications (e.g., beta testing) works well. However, when the product is released and people begin using it in earnest to develop larger 'real-world' applications they end up hitting walls. The walls were always there. However, because the people involved in testing it weren't trying to actually develop 'real-world' applications with it during the testing phase, the walls weren't discovered and addressed during the development of the technology. Or perhaps they were even surfaced by individual beta testers, but they never reached critical mass because not enough people recognized the looming problem.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

10.5.1 is finally out

And it contains a number of new features. A couple I'm particular fond of.

  • New properties for spell checking support - The SelectedStartPos and SelectedTextLength properties allow you to use a supported ActiveX control to spell check text in PowerBuilder rich text controls. Supported spell checking controls include VSSpell from ComponentOne and WSpell from Wintertree Software.

  • PowerBuilder 10.5.1 includes support for custom SOAP headers in .NET Web services. This support was introduced in PowerBuilder 10.5 EBF 5034.

I'm working on samples of doing both that I'll post on Sybase's CodeXchange site once they're available.

Update: The sample of using the custom security header option to call eBay is here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Maybe there’s hope for non-Microsoft / Java IDEs after all…

After months of talks with potential suitors, Borland decided not to sell off the tools division, but to spin it off instead. (On a unrelated note though, Borland also just recieved a delisting notice from NASDAQ). I'm happy about the spin off decision though. Not that I'm particularly fond of their tools (I've tried a number including Delphi and JBuilder, but didn't stick with them). But I take it as a sign that there is still room in the market for development tools that aren't either open source or from Microsoft.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mobile Star Awards

Sybase iAnywhere announced that it has won Gold, Silver, and Bright Star Mobile Star Awards from MobileVillage, the 14-year leader in market development and news services about mobile technology. The fifth annual Mobile Star Awards aim to honor and promote the best companies, products, deployments and leaders in mobile and wireless technology. Winners are chosen by subscribers to Go Mobile, MobileVillage's free online newsletter sent to technology executives, mobile professionals, IT managers, developers and top tech journalists.   Sybase and its iAnywhere subsidiary received the following awards for 2006:

     * Enterprise Software: Database - SQL Anywhere



     * Enterprise Software: Developer Tool - Sybase PocketBuilder

     * Enterprise Software: Mobile Email - OneBridge

     * Personal Software: Mobile Web Content Provider - AvantGo

     * Personal Software: PIM (Email/Contacts/Calendar Synch) - XTNDConnect




     * Enterprise Software: Mobile Devices Management - Afaria

     * Enterprise Software: Mobile Middleware - M-Business Anywhere


A list of winners in each of this year's award categories is posted at .

Friday, October 20, 2006

ISUG Techcast: PowerBuilder 11 Preview

The November 14th ISUG Techcast (Tuesday at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET) is a preview of PowerBuilder 11. Sign up for the techcast here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More on Ovation

I mentioned it earlier as a product I really liked for juicing up PowerPoint presentations.  Well, I must not be the only one.  Adobe just bought the company.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Google introduces Code Search

Pretty cool, except that PowerBulder (PowerScript) isn't supported. Bummer. It's still an in work item in Google Labs.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Not Vista Compliant…?

Well, if it turns out that PowerBuilder has problems on Vista when Vista is first introduced, it won't be alone. It looks like another very popular IDE will also have problems...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Well, this doesn’t bode well for outsourcing…

A strike in Bangalore shuts down the entire high tech center. There was a similar strike in April that shut down the center for 2 days.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

TechWave 2006 Wrap up

Took a while to mull over what I thought about the conference. My take on it:

Management of the Conference

This year the GameShow was held as part of the reception, where food and drink were served. In a similar mode, many of the meals were served in the Exhibit hall. As I mentioned earlier, that particular format seemed to work well. They also didn't seem to have as much problems with having enough food or having it coming fast enough as they did last year.

TechSelect 2006

November 7th at CBI Conference Centre, London
08.30 Registration & Coffee
09.30 Welcome from UKSUG & STUN
09.40 What's New in EAServer 6.0 - Evan Ireland, Director of Engineering, Sybase, Inc.
With a live link to New Zealand, this session will present the new features of EAServer 6.0, including J2EE 1.4 certification, new server architecture, web management console, and new features for configuration, monitoring, performance, clustering and messaging. (80 mins)

Monday, September 18, 2006

It’s talk like a pirate day!

Arrr, so ye be wantin' t' go to sea an' ye don't be wantin' t' end up in Davy Jones' Locker. Then ye best be learnin' t' be talkin' like a buccaneer.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Nordic PowerBuilder Seminars

There will be PowerBuilder seminars in the Nordic countries as follows:

Oslo, Norway - September 18
Stockholm, Sweden - September 19
Copenhagen, Denmark - September 20th

Key speaker will be John Strano and the agenda includes; roadmap, 10.5, demo of App Server PlugIn etc etc. If you are interested in attending and have not received anything from Sybase then drop them a line at
Remove the _nospamremove from the email address before sending....

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Special Event

I did get some feedback on the Special Event. Actually, the hit of the night was apparently SyberJam

A band composed of Sybase employees and TeamSybase members. The played during the pre-event while the food was being served.
The main event was Penn and Teller. Here's some photos of them from after the event.

Photos are courtesy of Paul Horan. Here's one last one of his, a view of the pools at Ceaser's from his room.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thursday’s Sessions

    Services are the keys to reuse

My last session. Jeff Pryslak was doing most of the talking, I was just the "demo doll" (the guy showing the live example). Only suffered a minor piece of demo curse this time. I deployed a component and forget to recycle the server, so the component crashed intermittently during that portion of the demo. Everything else ( including live calls to the Amazon and eBay web services ) worked fine. Quite a few poeple in attendance.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday’s Session

Advanced DataWindow.Net

Start off first thing in the morning with the Advanced DataWindow.Net class that I'm assisting Dave Fish with. Somewhat of a mixed bag, Dave did a lot of discussion of the new features from PowerPoints. One of the Sybase engineers responsible for the ongoing development of the Web DataWindow did those demos, and so was able to speak to great detail about how it operated. Dave then showed the DataWindow Designer plug-in for Visual Studio. One of the engineers responsible for it's development was also in attendance. Unfortunately, that demo didn't work that well (not suprisingly considering it was a pre-alpha build).

Tuesday’s Session

I was still proctoring the PB 10.5/PB 11 new features class. Unfortunately, the instructor created the PB 11 demo code using a post-beta 1 build of PB11, and the machines in the lab had beta 1 builds. So the lab machines couldn't run the demos. To correct that, the instructor downloaded an even more recent post-beta 1 build, which resulted in the machines failing differently, but failing nonetheless to run the samples. Other than that, the session went well. The issue of demos not going well seem to be a re-occurring theme.

Tuesday's after lunch dessert was served in the exhibit hall. Once again, it seems an effective means of ensuring the people visited the exhibit hall. I think it also made the environment more relaxed as well.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday’s Keynotes

Data keynote

Raj Nathan discussed data as the foundation of business, and how that data needed to be unwired from applications so the right data can be delivered to the right point at the right time. Another Customer Panel (Scott Smith - ComScore, Ron Hauper - EMC, Scott Denmark - AOL, Staffan Skogby - Ericsson) then discussed their successes in data management and their needs for the future. Ifran then discussed the roadmap for the data management products and Rob V. did a demo of cluster failover.

Mike Harold, ISUG President, and Raj then presented the ISUG awards. This year the awards were based on votes from ISUG Journal readers voting for their favorite articles. In the database category, the award went to Jeff Wallman. In the tools category there were two winners as a result of a tie: Ken Howe and Paul Vero.

Tools keynote

Bill Jacobs introducted the session. Then Raj discussed the roadmap for tools products. John Strano did a demonstration of the XAML DataWindow. Dave Dichman discussed plans for PowerDesigner and the latest version was demoed. Jonathan Baker then discussed the plans for Workspace and Jeff Pryslak did a demo of the latest version. Bill then finished the session by noting that Sybase has opened up a blogs section where a number of the key people in the database and tools sections are posting.
Photos are here.

Video of the demonstrations are here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday Session

I was originally planning on attending the .Net Interop in PB11 class.  However, due to a bit of a snafu Sybase thought I was an employee and scheduled me to proctor the New Features in PB 10.5 / 11.0 class.  It was actually quite encouraging to know that the class was held twice (once prior to this during the pre-conference classes) and yet it was booked to capacity (100+ people).

Sponsor Reception - Exhibit Hall

Monday evening after the sessions is when the Exhibit Hall opened for the first time.  The Sponsor Reception means that food and drink were offered in the exhibit hall to draw more people in.  It certainly worked.

My pictures of the sponsor reception are here.


Monday’s Keynotes

John Chen thanked ISUG and TeamSybase for being here. He then thanked the event sponsors. He noted that keynote was being webcast live and made disclaimers. He also noted that board of directors are attending the event and meeting the customers.

Five Growth Areas
Explosive Data Growth
Wireless Access Ubiquity
Proliferation of Mobile Devices
Demand for Real Time Information
SOA + Mobility Development Paradigm

Showed the “butterfly slide” that shows the intersection (theme for this event) between Information Management and Information Mobility

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Friends of ISUG Dinner

ISUG had a dinner for "friends" who have supported ISUG or local user groups over the last year.  It was held in the Cafe Logo in Ceaser's Palace.  Pictures are here.

Test your IQ Gameshow

A bit different format this time.  Two ISUG board members join with three TeamSybase members to face off against Sybase staff.  And rather than having to come up with the answer from scratch, we were allowed to select from a list of anywhere from 3 to 5 possible answers.  This time the ISUG/TeamSybase team managed to squeak out a win over the Sybase team.

Pictures are here

Video is here


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Welcome to TechWave 2006

I'm here a bit early because TeamSybase has their own reception Saturday evening.  TeamSybase initiated a couple of new members.  Here's some video from the super secret initiation ceremony.

According to the Newswave, there are 1,600 attendees this year.  Here's a picture of the logo welcoming everyone to Techwave.  That backpack in front of it is the one you get when you register.  It's interesting that the middle of the three sponsor logos on the backpack is Microsoft, but I don't see Microsoft represented elsewhere.

Here's some of my other general photos from TechWave. 


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Calling Dot Net Components from PowerBuilder via COM wrappers

I used to implement SMTP for PowerBuilder using a PBNI class that used P.J. Naughter's CPJNSMTPConnection MFC class to do the heavy lifting. Well, .Net 2.0 changes all that. One of the new features of .Net 2.0 is the introduction of an SMTPClient class. One of the features of .Net since it was introduced was the ability for non-.Net applications to call .Net components through the use of a COM Callable Wrapper (CCW).

I'm going to demonstrate how to use a CCW to utilize the new SMTPClient class in .Net 2.0. The first thing we'll need to do is create our own .Net component that uses the new class. We'll start by creating a Class Library using Visual Studio.Net 2005. Note that although I haven't tried it personally, I believe everything that I'm doing is possible with Visual C# Express.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Deploying to non-default web site - revisited

A while back I posted a note on how to create a setup project in VS.Net that allowed you to deploy to a non-default web site.  Well, there's a problem with that.  It appears that if you have the .Net Framework 2.0 installed on your development machine and/or the web server you are deploying to, you will no longer be able to deploy ASP.Net 1.1 applications at all using that technique.  It appears that the newer DCPA.DLL that technique uses is incompatible with .Net Framework 2.0.  You can find out more here.  Fortunately, simply re-installing the older version of DCPA.DLL corrects it.  Unfortunately, that leaves you without a solution for deploying to a non-default web site, at least for now, if .Net Framework 2.0 is on the same machine.  But at least you'll know why your installs suddenly stopped working.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

PowerGen 6.5 available

PowerGen Version 6.5 has been released and is available immediately for download. This release adds support for PowerBuilder V10.5 and continues support for PB V5.x, 6.x, 7.x, 8.x, 9.x and 10.0.

PowerGen Version 6.5 includes many new features and problem fixes.  For example, in V6.5 you can import and export HEXASCII-encoded source files.  You can create projects directly from Target (.PBT) files.  We've also improved usability such as lengthening the menus in the most-recently-used file list, so that more of the project path is shown.

These, plus miscellaneous improvements and fixes make PowerGen Version 6.5 a significant new release.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

TechWave 2006

The structure of the conference has changed significantly this year.

The 2 and 4 day AM education courses are gone, at least in that format. This year what were the 2 day classes are given in a single 5 hour session on either Monday or Tuesday afternoon. What were the 4 day AM courses are given in a single 10 hour session all day Tuesday.

What were originally just PM courses are now given as both AM and PM courses, given on Wednesday (all day) and Thursday morning (no PM sessions other than education courses on Monday or Tuesday).

The keynote sessions are longer. Or perhaps more accurately, they're as long as they've been in prior conferences, but the schedule has finally been adjusted to officially indicate their length. Keynotes are from 8AM to noon on Monday and Tuesday.

The Tech Support Solution Lab has been moved out of the Exhibit Hall and now has additional hours. In particular, it opens at 6AM and runs until the start of the keynotes or morning sessions (8AM). It also stays open until 9PM on Monday, 8PM on Tuesday, 6PM on Wednesday and 1PM on Thursday.

The ISUG Enhancement Session is now on Wednesday evening (just prior to the special event) rather than Thursday morning. They are also being run separately (there are no afternoon sessions scheduled at the same time).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ISUG Techcast: JSF Web DataWindow

ISUG Techcast: JSF Web DataWindow -- Taking Java Server Faces to the Next Level

Join us on July 18, 2006 - 01:00 PM (EST) for the next ISUG Techcast.

Lets face it. Building high quality, Web application user interfaces is hard. Java Server Faces (JSF) Web technology seeks to simplify that. Sybase WorkSpaces JSF Web DataWindow and Web Application Development Module goes it one better.

The DataWindows 4GL WYSIWYG capability helps customize the look and feel of the Web page, and binds the presentation to business logic using drag and drop. With Sybase's patented DataWindow technology, the convenience of codeless data-driven application development is brought to Web applications via a JSF component. The DataWindow engine has the intelligence to automatically track the users modifications, then create SQL UPDATE, INSERT and DELETE statements from scratch freeing the developer to concentrate more on architecture and business logic.

Join John Strano, Technology Evangelist, Sybase, Inc., as he discusses the JSF Web DataWindows latest innovations in data presentation and data manipulation on the Web.

Join us to learn how:

Sybase WorkSpaces visual development environment gives the developer the flavor of a 4GL experience
WorkSpaces Web Application Development module provides life-cycle support including design, development, debug/test, and deployment of Web applications
The JSF component user interface framework eases the burden of writing and maintaining applications that run on an application server and renders their User Interfaces back to a target client
JSF Web DataWindow enables you to win the data manipulation, data presentation game hands down

Learn more about the ways in which Sybase WorkSpace and DataWindow technology can help you get the most out of your precious development hours.

Register at

Monday, July 10, 2006

Where’s TeamSybase?

Sort of the TechWave equivalent of "Where's Waldo?". Find the really geeky guys (and gal) amongst a crowd of, well, other geeky guys (and gals). So where will TeamSybase be at:

Test Your Sybase IQ Gameshow
Sunday August 6th: 4pm to 7 pm
A Jeopardy style gameshow between TeamSybase and Sybase in which the audience (you) win prizes. It's a grudge match as a result of last year's blowout.

Tech Support Solutions Lab
Monday August 7th: 5pm to 9pm
Tuesday August 8th: 6am to 8am and 12pm to 8pm
Wednesday August 9th: 6am to 8am and 2pm to 6pm
Thursday August 10th: 9:30 am to 1pm

The Tech Support Solutions Lab is located off the Exhibit Hall and directly across from the Registration & Information Center on the fourth floor, Palace Ballroom Foyer. TeamSybase will be supporting Sybase support staff as they answer your tech support questions for free. This year there are extended and early morning sessions (which will include breakfast) in order to accommodate your schedules.

Exhibit Hall
Monday August 7th: 6pm to 8pm
Tuesday, August 8th: 12:00pm to 1:00 pm, 2:30 to 4:00 pm and 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Wednesday, August 9th: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Either hanging out at the ISUG Booth, the PBDJ Booth (for those who are PBDJ authors and editors) or at thier own Sponsor Booth (PowerObjects).

Monday August 7th: 1pm to 6pm
Adaptive Server Enterprise Tips and Tricks - Rob Verschoor, Roman Ballroom, Salon IV
Tuesday August 8th: 1pm to 6pm
PowerBuilder Tips and Tricks - John Strano - Roman Ballroom, Salon III
Wednesday August 9th: 8:00am to 9:30am
Using PowerDesigner - A Case Study - Michael Nicewarner - Pompeian Ballroom, Salon III
Advanced DataWindow.Net – Dave Fish and Bruce Armstrong – Genoa
Wednesday August 9th: 11:00am to 12:00pm
Using PowerBuilder to develop applications for Oracle: Special Considerations - Bruce Armstrong - Florentine Ballroom, Salon IV
Wednesday, August 9th 1:00pm - 2:30pm
PowerBuilder Foundation Classes (PFC): The Open Source Project - Boris Gasin, Terry Voth, Bruce Armstrong, Alex Whitney - Florentine Ballroom, Salon IV
Wednesday August 9th: 2:45pm to 3:45pm
Building a web application Engine using Sybase DataWindow - Dean Jones - Florentine Ballroom, Salon IV
Thursday, August 11th, 9:45am to 10:45am
Tips, Tricks & New Features in ASE - Rob Verschoor - Roman Ballroom, Salon III
PowerBuilder: Services are the key to reuse – Jeff Pryslak and Bruce Armstrong – Roman Ballroom, Salon IV

Sunday, July 09, 2006

ISUG Journal

ISUG is in the process of producing an expanded Journal in order to cover more of the Sybase/iAnywhere product line. Articles are typically 4-6 pages in length (~2250-~3500 words + graphics) and are due during the month before the publishing quarter. (e.g., the deadline for the Q4 edition would be in September). Published authors are paid $250 for their work, and are eligible for the annual ISUG Journal Award competition.

ISUG also accepts smaller "Tips & Tricks"-type submissions. These are generally 2 pages in length (~1000 words + graphics) with the same due date as the regular articles. Due to the reduced size, the payment for these articles is $100.

If you are interested in finding out more, including the precise deadline dates for the issue of interest, please contact

[Of course, I'm also always looking for authors for the PowerBuilder Developer's Journal as well, so feel free to submit to both of us if the material is appropriate for both]

Saturday, July 08, 2006

ISUG Annual Meeting

ISUG will be holding its annual member meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada at the end of TechWave 2006. Please join us on Thursday, August 10th after the morning sessions. Grab your boxed lunch and join us for a review of ISUG business and of course the ISUG member raffle.

Friday, July 07, 2006

ISUG enhancement sessions

This year they will be held on Wednesday August 9th at 4pm. There are no other sessions scheduled for that time, so pick the topic nearest and dearest to you and stop in to discuss the future of your favourite Sybase products!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Important ISUG News

From the ISUG President's newsletter. See in particular the highlighted section. There's really no excuse anymore for folks not to be participating in the ISUG enhancement process.

ISUG Announces New Membership Benefits Pricing and Renewal Promotion

Last month ISUG announced changes to our member benefits structure. We wanted to take this opportunity to give you a second look at the changes.

There are now three benefit packages available to our members:

  • Basic: Access to the members-only website, including full participation in the ISUG Enhancements process (i.e., with voting rights), and ability to see featured articles from the expanded Technical Journal. This is especially ideal for students and those on a limited budget.

  • Journal: Basic package, plus a subscription to the ISUG Technical Journal (print and online editions) -- perfect for anyone that doesn't require the free Sybase/iAnywhere software benefits. Also includes a 20% discount on a subscription to PBDJ.

  • Complete: Journal package, plus access to all the free NFR and developer-edition software benefits, and all the discounts.

Membership benefits package pricing is as follows:

  • Basic: $20.00 (USD)

  • Journal: $70.00 (USD)

  • Complete: $95.00 (USD)

In addition, the price for Corporate memberships has changed as follows:

  • Workplace Corporate (up to 6 members) -- $375

  • Enterprise Corporate (up to 12 members) -- $600

You can change your level of benefits when you renew your membership, but the change will not take effect until the expiration of your original membership. If you wish to upgrade your benefit level during your membership year, please contact Please note that no refunds or partial-refunds will be issued for your current year's level of benefits.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Client Server Comeback?

Interesting post on the Client Server Renaissance (the author's term, not mine). Of course, that particular author doesn't believe PowerBuilder will be part of it. He does reference a Don Dodge column that notes the cyclical nature of the software industry. Not sure Client/Server as we used to know it is coming back, but richer clients that can work with a variety of data sources via standard protocols are gaining vogue.

What that eventually led me to was another Don Dodge post, where he comments on the "Kleiner Perkins 7 rules for software start-ups". While applicable to start ups, I think they are also applicable to mature tools that want to re-invigorate their presence in the market space. They are:

* Instant Value to customers - solve a problem or create value with the first use (Focus)
* Viral adoption - Pull, not push. No direct sales force required (Motivate)
* Minimum IT footprint, preferably none. Hosted SaaS is best.
* Simple, intuitive user experience - no training required. (KISS)
* Personalized user experience - customizable
* Easy configuration based on application or usage templates
* Context aware - adjust to location, groups, preferences, devices, etc.

I've noted where I believe some of those rules relate to one of the "Innovate or Die" posts I made earlier.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The TIOBE Index

I've been following the TIOBE index for a while. It's a measure of the "buzz" surrounding various development languages. PowerBuilder has never really done well in it. But perhaps there's hope now. The Visual Foxpro folks have figured out how to make sure your site gets included in the index and have published that information. If you're running a PowerBuilder related web site or blog, it might be worth ensuring that it's getting included.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Innovate or Die - Core (Reprise)

Geoffrey Moore did an interview with CIO Insight that recently got reprinted in an eWeek special insert entitled "Innovations 2006". I thought that some of his comments dealt particularly with the "focus on the core" argument I made earlier in this blog. Geoffrey Moore first talks about what he considers the three forms of innovation:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Innovate or Die - Motivate

Prioritize the end-user so that they are motivated to market the products for you
That was the key when PowerBuilder was first introduced. It is an even more important way of “marketing” a product now, particularly when your product is essentially “new” to the vast majority of the target market. Kathy Sierra notes:

Even the biggest ad budgets can't save you today. That's the bad news. The good news is that if what you make is totally f'n amazing, you won't need to advertise. The good folks on the net will take care of that for you, assuming you're keeping up the conversation.

Eric Lundquist (editorial director of eWeek) notes in a recent special supplement entitled "Innovations 2006" that users should be put in charge of innovation:

While listening to customers is a given, how about the idea of taking yourself out of the equation? Instead of listening to your customers, why not give those customers a basic framework, then stand back and let them design, market and fund your products? . . . Innovation in this technological spin of the wheel doesn't mean simply listening to your customers. It means putting the development tools in your customer's hands and letting them drive innovation.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another take on menu properties

When I wrote my review of the new menu and toolbar capabilities in PowerBuilder 10.5, one of the things I bagged them on was the complexity of the menu and toolbar properties panes. Well, I found an interim solution. I also finally found a use for the "Labels on Left" option for those panes. Provided you've got enough display real estate, they're much easier to work with laid out that way:

Friday, June 02, 2006

PB 10.5 Launch Event

Sybase and ISUG did the LA PB 10.5 launch event yesterday.

PB 10.5 Launch Event

There was also an overview of PowerDesigner 12.0.

Participants asked about or commented on the following:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Innovate or Die - KISS

Focus effort on making the product easy to learn for beginners
Not everybody is a seasoned PowerBuilder user, but a great deal of the documentation and samples are written as if they were. People who are new to the product need to be able to establish an early meaningful success with the product in order to form a good first impression. As Kathy Sierra notes:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Innovate or Die - Culture

Create a culture that supports innovation
Again from Geoffrey Moore, this time on the importance of top management fostering innovation:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Innovate or Die - Faster

Speed up the development of those innovations
Geoffrey Moore argues that the timing of innovations is also important:

[Product Innovation] is optimal for grabbing share in high-growth markets where the category has been accepted and now it is features and functions that are driving customer preference. Time-to-market is at least as key as design imagination to success with this type.

Sybase's competitors aren’t standing still. In order to remain competitive, the current development cycle needs to be speeded up. As an example, DataWindow.Net 2.0 was just released. However, the functionality it adds (the ability to directly use a DataStore/DataTable) was eclipsed before it was released by the introduction of the BindingSource class in the .Net Framework 2.0 (a more abstract class that isolates .Net data controls from the actual data source). At the current schedules, PowerBuilder 12 will be released with the capability to compile to .Net about the same time that Microsoft will be releasing the next generation of the .Net Framework and Visual Studio which involve significant modifications in the user interface layer. Products that are only up to date with the last (not the current) version of the competing products aren’t competitive.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Innovate or Die - Feedback

Tighten the feedback loop during CTP and beta testing
The originally public 10.5 beta called for two builds with 2½ months (10 weeks) after each for comment. However, beta newsgroup traffic would imply that there was only significant input for 3 weeks after each build release. That means that after each build 7 out of the 10 weeks between builds was largely “dead” time which allowed user interest to wane. User input could be focused better if there were more interim releases with fewer new features between builds. That allows the users to focus more on each new feature in turn. One of the key concepts of Extreme Programming (Release Often) is based on this concept:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Innvoate or Die - Customers

Get customers directly involved in the innovation process
PowerBuilder has almost entirely lost mind-share. In order to re-introduce to a new generation of developers, Sybase should treat it as if it was a new product. When the product was originally being developed PowerSoft used the product internally and also partnered with clients. That gave them the kind of insight into what new features and improvements in existing features were needed. That same kind of insight is missing today. Eric Von Hippel notes: "Research indicates that the major reason for the commercial failure of manufacturer-developed products is poor understanding of users’ needs by manufacturer-innovators." Kathy Sierra also argues that "[w]ithout really talking to users the best you can hope for is to meet their expectations. You won't be able to craft that extra special magic that makes them passionate if you don't talk (and listen) to them." By partnering with key customers, Sybase can gain better knowledge about how the product is currently being used and where the areas for improvement are at. Eric Von Hippel notes that:

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Innovate or Die - Users

Implement innovation that address the needs of “on-the-edge” users
Rather than focus on issues that have a high degree of popularity (requested often), focus on those that your “lead user” indicate are show stoppers for “on-the-edge” development. Those are the issues that the rest of your user base will eventually encounter. Eric Von Hippel notes:

Friday, May 12, 2006

Innovate or Die - Focus

Focus on distinctive innovation
Sybase has (to me) a dizzying array of products, and it seems like every time I turn around they're announcing some new product. Drill down through the the "Products and Solutions" section of their web site and you'll find 23 different products listed under "Information Management". Click on "Development and Integration" and you'll find 15. There's another 13 under the "Mobile and Wireless Applications" section. That's not 50+ products total, there's some duplication across the categories, but it is a lot of products. What it implies to me though, is that Sybase is trying to be "all things to all people" rather than focusing on specific areas in which they can distinguish themselves. Geoffrey Moore notes:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Innovate or Die - Core

Concentrate on the core
Many of the often discussed enhancements are for improvements to PowerBuilder are not related to differentiating PowerBuilder from other products in the same market niche. It is certainly important to overcome deficiencies (e.g., lack of XP style toolbars and menus). However, addition of other “me-too” features such as Next Generation PowerScript are detrimental to the product overall if they are added at the expense of features such as a Rich Text Edit Style or Web Services as a DataWindow data source. What Sybase needs to focus on as it considers enhancements to PowerBuilder is the "core" rather than "context". Geoffrey Moore defines the difference between core and context this way:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

You’re Invited to the PowerBuilder 10.5 Launch and Learning Event!

The newest version of the market's favorite 4GL RAD tool, PowerBuilder, is now available! This all-time classic has always enabled developers to quickly and easily build the critical data-driven applications they need. Now, it's even better and souped-up with the features you need to accelerate your application development.

Come see for yourself the power behind PowerBuilder 10.5 in a city near you. Dave Fish, Sybase Technical Evangelist, will show you how easy PowerBuilder 10.5 makes application development and cover the newest features, including:

DataWindow TreeView Presentation Style
DataWindow Autosize Height on all DataWindow Bands
DateTime Picker Control
Rich Text Control
BYTE and 28 Digit Decimal Data Type Support
New Icons and Bitmaps
Enhanced Menu and Toolbar Functionality
Enhanced Web Services Support Updated!
Enhanced support for Database Interfaces

You can find out about PowerBuilder 10.5 and its retuned features in the following cities:

New York City, NY: May 18th
Boston, MA: May 19th
Washington D.C: May 22nd
Minneapolis, MN: May 24th
Chicago, IL: May 25th
San Francisco, CA: May 31st
Los Angeles, CA: June 1st
Dallas, TX: June 2nd

Events begin at 11:30 am and conclude by 3:30 pm. Lunch will be served. By attending, you'll be able to obtain a significant discount off of PowerBuilder 10.5 and also be eligible to win one of the iPod Nanos that we're giving away in each city.

These Launch and Learning events are free, but space is limited and registration is required. Learn more about this exciting event and register today!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

ISUG Mobility SIG Conference Call

This month's ISUG (International Sybase User Group) mobility SIG (Special Interest Group) conference call on April 19th at 12:00 Central will look at Smart Client Development for Windows Mobile and CE. Ian Thain will be the guest presenter demonstrating Sybase's award winning RAD 4GL Smart Client Development tool (PocketBuilder) and his well known "Insurance Assessor Application" .

Friday, April 07, 2006

Innovate or Die - Intro

I'm going to be starting a series of posts on the topic of "if you could tell Sybase how to do things differently, what 10 things would you tell them to do". I'll have a different post for each of the 10 different things (or as many as I get to, I'm not sure I'll actually have 10 when I'm done).

To back up those suggestions, I'll be turning to a number of recognized experts in the business field. I'll be using information from their blogs and/or recent books to support my suggestions for a change in method of operations. Those experts are:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ottawa Sybase User Group Meeting

The Ottawa Sybase User Group (OSUG) will be holding their next meeting on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006. OSUG's mission is to create a Sybase community in the National Capital area where users can share knowledge, experiences and best practices. Users of all Sybase products, including data management, tools and mobility, are welcome to attend.

This meeting will feature networking opportunities, product updates and a discussion. Mr Dave Fish, Sybase's Senior technical Evangelist for PowerBuilder, InfoMaker, and PocketBuilder will be our primary guest speaker. Dave will be demonstrating the new .NET Web Services, upgraded GUI Interface, WinForm, WebForm and Smart Client .NET 2.0 support in PB 10.5 and 11. He will also be showing the new PocketBuilder 2.04, DataWindow.Net 2.0 for VisualStudio2005 and PB 2006/2007 roadmap.

The North American Regional User Group Director (Joe Burger) from the International Sybase User Group (ISUG) will also be joining us on May 2nd and will be making a special 15 minute presentation. Afterwards, come and ask Joe about ISUG and how you can get copies of: copy of: DataWindow.NET 2.0, PocketBuilder 2.0.4, PowerBuilder 10.5 , SQL Anywhere Studio 9; IQ 12 ;Pylon 5; EAServer 5.3; and ASE 15 .... all for $75!!!!!

For detailed information, see Chris Pollach's blog.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PowerBuilder 11 Customer Technology Preview (CTP)

Sybase just announced a public Customer Technology Preview for PowerBuilder 11. The CTP program is designed to involve customers and partners, before a formal beta period, to facilitate timely and relevant feedback into the product development cycle. They are providing this early build to their extensive technical community of developers to enable the largest number of users possible to test the .NET WebForm deployment feature.

Your participation in the CTP program will give you the opportunity to test-drive this new functionality for yourself and see your existing applications run in a browser. Deliver proofs of concept for your projects, and help them ensure they are including the key features and functionality customers require.

Sign up here!

Monday, April 03, 2006

DataWindow.Net 2.0

Sybase released version 2.0 of DataWindow.Net. The new version:

  • supports the .NET Framework 2.0

  • accepts DataSets and DataTables as data sources

  • introduces new properties and functionality, including autosize height on all parts of a DataWindow

  • introduces a new presentation style, the TreeView, for easily presenting hierarchical data

  • updates support for database connectivity, including Oracle and ADO.NET

  • updates icons

  • add a new DatePicker edit mask for putting calendar functionality into a data field

  • enhanced DropDownDataWindows used in Web applications

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Even more useful utilities…

    I already mentioned Silurian as one option for examining the exports from DLLs. Another option is PE Explorer. Like Silurian, it handles both exports:


    And resource information:


    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Ottawa Sybase User Group Meeting

    David Dichman, Senior Sybase Product Manager for PowerDesigner, will be the guest speaker at the Ottawa Sybase User Group (OSUG) meeting on Tuesday, April 4th, 2006. PowerDesigner is one of the worlds premier Business / Data Modeling tools and Sybase has just released version 12.0. Mr. Dichman will demonstrate why the 2005 Gartner group report concluded PowerDesigner is the number one modeling tool.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Brute force pbtrace.log processing (revisited)

    An update to my previous post on using Excel to parse a pbtrace.log file.

    The problem with the function in the second column is that it's trying to find the last occurance of a "(", and it's doing it by assuming that it can start at a certain fixed position before the end of the string. That turns out to be an issue.

    Excel doesn't have a LastPos function, but VBA does. So you can create a VBA macro that does a LastPos and then call that from an Excel function. Launch the VBA editor in Excel, and then create a function as:

    Public Function FindRev(sFind_Text As String, sWithin_Text As String) As Integer
    FindRev = InStrRev(sWithin_Text, sFind_Text, -1, vbTextCompare)
    End Function

    Now in the second column, use this function instead:


    The other thing you may want to consider is adding Conditional Formatting to Column C in order to make the problemattic statements more obvious. Select Column C, select Format-> Conditional Formatting from the menu, and then enter your criteria. In this example, I'm setting the background color of the cell to red if the statement took more that 1000 milliseconds (1 second):

    Conditional Formatting

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Deja Vu all over again…

    Back in the late 1980's I was using a data management tool known as DataEase. At the time it was a DOS based tool that communicated only with its own proprietary database files. Essentially a competitor to dBase, but one that was more network aware and provided better screen generation capability.

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    TechWave 2006 Call for Papers is Open

    Sybase is looking for presentations for their next annual Sybase TechWave User Training and Solutions Conference, in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 6-10, 2006. If you have solved a unique business challenge utilizing Sybase products, they would like you tell the thousands of TechWave 2006 attendees about it. You can visit to apply. If you are selected as a conference speaker, you will receive a complimentary conference pass valued at $1,795. Applications must be submitted no later than April 3, 2006. Sybase will notify you in April if you have been selected for a technical session. More information on track descriptions and the online application form can be found at Specific questions can be directed to

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    PowerDesigner WebCast

    PowerDesigner: Aligning Business and IT
    March 28 and May 9, 9am PT/12pm ET

    A live webcast to help new or potential customers see how PowerDesigner can help them build or re-engineer applications quickly, cost-effectively and consistently.

    World Wide PowerBuilder Survey

    Novalys is doing their annual world wide PowerBuilder survey for 2006.

    When you complete the survey you can see the results of last years survey.

    PowerBuilder 10.5 Launch Seminar

    PowerBuilder 10.5 Launch Seminar
    Lord’s Cricket Ground
    London, England
    March 8, 2006


    09.30 Registration and refreshments

    10.00 PB10.5 Features Overview and Walkthrough
    Discover the new UI, toolbars from the new release of PowerBuilder.
    - Treeview, a new DataWindow presentation style
    - New DataWindow functionality, including autosize height on all bands
    - User interface improvements with new icons, menus, toolbars, rich text control and datetime picker control
    - New BYTE datatype
    - Updated RDBMS support for Oracle and ASE 15
    - Enhanced Web Services support for PowerBuilder clients. 10.5 has a Web Services implementation that supports .NET

    11.00 Coffee break

    11.15 PB for all your development
    We uncover lesser known features of PowerBuilder that make your development easier. PowerBuilder Does That? - If you think PowerBuilder is all client/server, think again. PowerBuilder does distributed computing and lets you work in a J2EE environment.

    - PB for Application Servers using the new PBVM plugin, enabling you to deploy PB applications with your choice of app server
    - PB for Java. The JSF Datawindow will enable your Java developers to use PowerBuilder DataWindows
    - PB for .NET. PowerBuilder and DataWindow .NET give you 4GL solutions to .NET development
    - PB for Mobility. PocketBuilder enables you to build and deploy a mobile application in less an hour
    - PB and the WEB. The WebDataWindow, did you know there is WEB authoring with PB, or Web DataWindow availability to JSP ?

    12.45 Lunch

    14.00 Discover the world of Lords Cricket Ground – Tour and visit to see the Ashes

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Visual Expert

    Perhaps you've already heard of Visual Expert. If not, it's well worth looking at. Basically it's a code analysis and reporting tool for PowerBuilder applications. There are a large number of features in the product, too many to cover in a single blog posting. Today I just want to focus on three that I use extensively.

    Dead Code
    The tool examines the code and locates functions, attributes, variables, function parameters and event parameters scripts to determine when there are variable declarations that are no longer used. It's very useful if the application is a bit older or has gone through major rework and you're no longer sure what's actually being used.
    Dead Code

    Unused Components
    The Unused Components analysis does for objects in an application what the Dead Code analysis does for code in objects. You have to be a lot more careful with this one though. If the objects are referenced dynamically, the tool has no way of determining the reference. For example, many of the objects reported in this analysis are referenced as a result of data coming from the database (the database contains the object references). Still, it gives you a good start on determining where you should start looking for dead objects.
    Unused Components

    Development Rules
    If your development shop is rigorous about following coding guidelines (mine is), the Development Rules analysis comes in real handy. If I'm working on some major modifications or some large new functionality, I find it all too easy to skip over doing stuff like adding script headers until the code is complete. The problem is, once the code is complete I'm not really sure where I have addressed the guidelines and where I haven't. The Development Rules analysis tells me exactly where I need to revisit.
    Development Rules

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    Latin American PowerBuilder User Group Meeting Followup

    Specifically on some PowerDesigner questions that didn't get answered earlier:

    Q. We would like to use PowerDesigner, but the cost per seat ($4000 US) is unreasonable when compared to Enterprise Architect ($600).

    A. PowerDesigner's features that appeal to the pure UML for the individual developer's increases productivity are indeed quite similar to what you will find in Sparx's product. All the UML diagrams are represented, and the code generation and reverse engineering functions are there. However, PowerDesigner has a few advantages even in this market that are not part of the Sparx feature set - complete loss-less round-trip engineering between model and code, plug-in capability into Eclipse for real-time model to code synchronization and interoperability with all Eclipse-based java tooling, a highly customizable template and script based code generation engine for easy pattern and model-driven development code creation based on your own customized code patterns, and the backing from one of the industry's best design tools development team - Sybase. Beyond the individual, PowerDesigner fosters greater multidisciplinary collaboration by combining the UML solution with the industry's top data modeling solution and some of the easiest to use tools for documenting and maintaining object-relational mapping and persistence code creation. Add to that the possibility up upgrading to the fully integrated design-time repository on the market and further upgrading to the studio adds business modeling and service orchestration design techniques to complete an enterprise-wide modeling and design environment.

    Q. Why are the only localizations for PowerDesigner in English and French?

    A. PowerDesigner was originally invented in Paris, France and was originally a French Language tool. We are still the most dominant player in the french-speaking world, and because of that history we retain the french User Interface. However, for other localizations, we have yet to meet growing demand to justify the conversion (user interface AND documentation where documentation is a very large part of the process, on-line help, user documentation, and screens all need to be translated, and then integrated into the engineering effort). So - as a result, we retain the PowerAMC brand for French countries for historical and current market condition reasons, and use PowerDesigner, English UI and documentation, for the rest of the world.