After lunch came the 'plenary' sessions, one each for databases and development tools, each help concurrently. As you might expect, I went to the development tools presentation. It was rather well attended, although it was obvious over the next few days that a number of the people who would have been interested didn't know that 'plenary' meant it was open to everyone. Quite a few people didn't realize what it was and didn't attend as a result.
That's too bad, because the session, particularly the PowerBuilder "in the lab" features demo, brought back that "wow" factor we've been missing for the last few years. Fortunately, there is a recorded webcast, and the company that did the webcast did a much better job than whoever did it last year.Â There was also a recorded webcast of the database plenary session.
Some of the "in the labs" discussion and demo touched on:
1. Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Workshop - showed WPF being editing and consumed within PowerBuilder and Visual Inheritance of 3rd Party Controls
2. New Script Editor with:
- Collapsible Regions
- Outlining Text Markers in the Editor
- Updated AutoScript
- Autohighlighting of Matching Parenthesis
- Splitter Bars
3. The "DataWindow of the Future", which includes
- Fully managed code
- New graphing capability
At one point early on in the demo, the presenters donned welding masks to protect their eyes from the rich GUI experience that PowerBuilder developers would not normally be accustomed to.
PowerBuilder 11 New Features Class
Education sessions started up after the plenary, and my choice was the PowerBuilder 11 New Features class. Unfortunately (for me at least, fortunately for Sybase) the original session filled up quickly, so by the time I decided to register for it I got "stuck" in an overflow session. The overflow session was led by Dave Fish and Jim O'Neil. You probably couldn't do much better for instructors who have an in-depth knowledge of the product. It didn't have the labs, but for someone who was heavily involved in the beta (i.e., me) that really wasn't missed. I mainly picked this session to see what new features of the beta I may have missed. There was a lot added for this release, and so during the beta I had to focus on those that were most important to me. So even an old dog like me picked up a few new pieces of information.
The important take away is that the events related to PowerBuilder, and particularly PowerBuilder 11, were packed out throughout the conference. I haven't seen this much excitement about a new release of PowerBuilder in years.
ISUG Focus Group
My next stop was an ISUG Focus Group on Sybase Education. We discussed a number of ways in which the education, training and certification programs at Sybase might be improved and made more valuable to their customers. My own comments included:
- The certification program needs to stay current with the product. Right now the PowerBuilder certification program is stuck at version 9 and 10, whereas 10.5 and 11.0 are the current versions.
- That education offerings need to be online recorded webcasts that are shorter and more focused on a narrower topic area, similar to those offered by MSDN.
Next was the sponsor reception in the exhibit hall. Because I had been at the Focus Group when this started I arrived late after most of the food was gone. That's primarily why the booths in the exhibit hall look deserted. There were many more people wandering around the hall most of the time it was open.
Dinner with PB Development Team
Fortunately since I missed to food at the sponsor reception, Dave Tong (VP of Engineering), Dave Avera (Mr. DataWindow), Evan Ireland (Mr. PowerBuilder Application Server Plugin) and a number of the developers from the Singapore office took pity on Millard Brown and me and invited us to have dinner with them.