PowerBuilder: Article

TechWave 2002

TechWave 2002

With the economy down and corporate revenues stalled, how can companies reinvent themselves, live on tighter budgets, and thrive in the changing markets?

Developers, database administrators, IT managers, sales professionals, and executives descended on San Diego, August 4-9, to discover just how Sybase Inc. will be a part of that process.

TechWave went paperless, or less paper anyway. Sybase provided a CD of all the afternoon sessions (which you can also use as a reference tool for the next 12 months). Not having to run from one afternoon session to another trying to visit as many as possible made it more enjoyable.

Welcome Reception
It was great to get reacquainted with colleagues, to finally meet the person who helped you online, or just see who's who in the PowerBuilder/Sybase community.

At the welcome reception everyone commiserated on the state of the economy and the struggle to keep busy. This was a theme revisited at almost every meal or gathering. While the consensus was that the job market and economy are improving, for many the conference would be an important networking opportunity.

Opening Keynote
Fog, bubbles, snow, fire, and lasers greeted attendees at the first keynote presentation on Tuesday morning - "Everything Works Better When Everything Works Together."

John Chen, Sybase chairman, CEO, and president, presented highlights of a successful year at Sybase and stated that all the promises from last year's TechWave had been met.

The successes included:

  • Seventeen straight quarters of profitable operation
  • $400 million cash on hand and debt free
  • Fifty-six percent of Wall Street is running on Sybase products
  • Ninety-five percent of Fortune 100 companies use Sybase products
Looking toward the coming year, Chen emphasized that Sybase will:
  • Continue to work for open solutions
  • Help organizations plan the whole business process, stressing integration while pursuing best-in-breed solutions
  • Expand on the market-leading position Sybase has in the Asian markets
With John Chen at the helm, Sybase continues to see year-over-year improvements. What more can you ask of a CEO?

The second half of the keynote was devoted to announcing a long-term strategic alliance with PeopleSoft. PeopleSoft and Sybase are working together to take development to a "higher level of integration" and help organizations with disparate systems realize the productivity gains that can be realized by improving internal operations.

This message complemented John Chen's overall theme of integration playing a major role in the future of Sybase - "everything works better when everything works together."

Strategic Partnerships
The announcement of the alliance between Sybase and PeopleSoft was exciting, however, many attendees were confused by the 35-minute PeopleSoft advertisement.

PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway discussed why PeopleSoft works with Sybase. He stated: "Sybase products help customers move to a real-time enterprise architecture." He emphasized how today's IT focus should be to develop for the overall business process, not any one specific software application.

Wednesday's keynote focused on "Using Integration to Achieve Data Liquidity and Extending Information Anywhere." It emphasized how Sybase is an expert in helping companies integrate their infrastructures, from the database up, to achieve liquidity of data throughout their organizations.

Wednesday's lunch featured "birds of a feather" tables where you sit and discuss topics such as PowerBuilder, XML, EAServer, or even ASE. Lively discussions lasted the entire meal as people shared their experiences and their hopes for current and future Sybase products.

Thursday's keynote featured Dr. Raj Nathan and Scott McReynolds showing off PB 9.5. This was by far the most exciting and informative keynote, from a developer's point of view.

Exhibit Hall
The exhibit hall was packed with third-party products and newer versions of essential tools. PowerBuilder developers will be especially interested in products from CTI and Appeon.

CTI's product, XMLSP, has an XML control that will convert your DataWindows to the Web in a snap. For more information visit www.xmlsp.com.

Appeon goes a step further with their product. By emulating the PowerBuilder runtime with JavaScript and HTML, a conversion process for an entire PB application creates PB NVOs and all kinds of JavaScript that will allow your application to have the same look and feel it has in a client/server environment. For more information visit www.appeon.net.

A new feature this year was the Sybase Theater with continual live demos and presentations run by Sybase employees. This new feature was a great way to quickly view a wide range of Sybase products without going to a full-length session (good for developers with ADD).

The Technology and Solutions Boardwalk was a prominent attraction. Sybase engineers provided live commentary as attendees test- drove the new features in PB 9 and other products. There was a constant stream of people trying to get a peek and subtly influence the engineers as to which features they should put in a new release.

People brought their toughest problems to play stump the chump with Sybase support personnel. Few problems went without a solution, and if items really needed attention, engineers were pulled over from the demos to provide the answers or prepare fixes on the spot.

Special Event
The special event this year was a carnival in Embarcadero Park. The FROGS skydiving team kicked it off by performing daredevil stunts, spinning and twirling down to the park. It was incredible to watch as they hooked three people together with open chutes and continued to flip and spin. After they landed, partygoers could take a little tamer ride on the ferris wheel or try their luck on the midway. If you weren't careful, when you entered the event the clowns would trick you into painting yourself with some silly design. It was a great way to cap off the week's events.

Summing Up
In my opinion, this year was the most substantial of the past four for PowerBuilder. The future for PB developers is very exciting. Sybase has a renewed commitment to PowerBuilder; Raj Nathan spoke of plans for versions 10, 11, and beyond. Dave Fish has been appointed the new PowerBuilder evangelist; I cornered him with a list of questions on Thursday night and began a Q&A session that will be available in a future issue of PBDJ. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I'll make sure Dave answers the most frequently asked ones.

The upbeat attitudes of the people leaving TechWave were more than just the standard rah-rah. If Sybase delivers on the features it demonstrated, PowerBuilder does indeed have a bright future.

Sybase TechWave 2003 will be held in Orlando, Florida, August 4-8.

See you there!!

More Stories By Jerry Neppl

Jerry Neppl, previously CEO of a small liquidation company, has been working for PowerTeam, Inc., in Minneapolis, for the past year and a half, having fun and getting
paid to play everyday.

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