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RIA & Ajax: Article

A Technology Leap for PowerBuilder Developers

PowerBuilder 11.2 top feature picks

Sybase has just released the latest version of its premier .NET development tool in PowerBuilder version 11.2. I am proud to say that I haven’t missed a beta since November 1989 (version 0.8) and that includes PocketBuilder and InfoMaker too. I need to thank the people at Sybase for continuing to let me test drive their new code. I must either be a good tester or someone who loves being a guinea pig...maybe I can get a TV show – but that slot might be taken. I just tell people I love punishment and hey, what else is there to do in Canada in winter, especially this year here in Ottawa with 425cm of snow in February and March.

Even though PowerBuilder version 11.2 is a maintenance release, it’s worth noting not only its fixes but the many new features and improvements that it posseses. It is also important to keep in mind that this continues to be the targeted delivery of Sybase’s four-phase complete retooling of the PowerBuilder IDE and infrastructure. With this release we see that the PB developer has gained more access to the .NET realm along with tool enhancements. I hope that after reading this article you will agree with me that PB 11.2 is a release you will want to adopt.

And now, on to my picks!

Top Feature #1 – AJAX Support
Hands down Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) gets my vote for the top feature for PowerBuilder 11.2. The AJAX-enabled feature is most important to Web-based developers and, in PB’s case, the WebForm-based application as it significantly reduces round-trips to the Web server from the browser-based application. This was achieved replacing the IEWControls used since PB 11.0 with the new Telerik controls (DatePicker, TreeView, MonthCalendar, and all menu and toolbars). The other amazing fact is that there’s no recoding to do for your PB 11.0/11.1-based WebForm application – just migrate them to version 11.2 and change one property in your Project object, redeploy, and then enjoy the performance benefits!

The important property then is the “PBWebControlSource” parameter that specifies the Web control set to use, either Microsoft IE Web controls (IE) or the new Telrik RadControls (RAD). Changing this property value from IE to RAD is all you need to do initially. However, there are also some new Project properties worth noting that will assist the application as shown in Table 1.

I like to change the default AJAX message to be a little more user friendly and of course in Canada, we require support to control this value since our users can request that the application work in French as well. If you like, you can disable this entire progress message feature all together by setting the value to empty (“”).

The DataWindow has also been enhanced to take advantage of the AJAX world. New properties like PagingMethod in the Web Generation tab let you specify XMLClientSide! That’s them optimized by PB/AJAX to reduce Web server round-trips for DataWindow and DropDownDataWindow activities when paging through data.

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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