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PowerBuilder: Article

Eight Reasons to Upgrade to PowerBuilder 8

Eight Reasons to Upgrade to PowerBuilder 8

If you're using PowerBuilder 6 or 7 for new development, you should really be using PB 8. It's the fastest way to build a new client/server application or move PowerBuilder business logic to a distributed n-tier environment.

Sybase has added many great features to enhance productivity and ease of use for n-tier and client/server development. Why do things the old way when the new way will improve productivity, and save time and money?

Here are eight great reasons why your shop should move to PowerBuilder 8:

1.   Multiple application access
You can easily cut and paste from one application to another. In the past you always had to switch between application objects or run multiple instances of the PB IDE. In PB8, the new system TreeView manages multiple targets in a single workspace, so refreshing your memory by opening scripts and objects in other applications is fast and easy.

2.   Easy access to source script
Gone are the days of exporting and importing objects that need special attention. To view or modify a script, there are no extra steps - just right-click and choose "edit source". This makes it easier to do many things such as copying functionality from one object another. Copy and paste two pieces of code and voilà, a function is transferred without retyping arguments.

3.   Publish entire workspaces
Based on workspace and target object settings, multiple components and applications (even Web applications) can be deployed from a single workspace. Each workspace can deploy all of the selected targets it contains (see the deploy Preview tab to specify which targets will be deployed).

4.   More robust migration "assistant" tool with helpful error messaging
In version 7 there was very little additional information about the process, it either worked or failed. In version 8, you actually get helpful messages.

5.   Java-inspired error handling
Now you can do something to gracefully deal with a runtime error. Anyone looking to build robust client/server applications should be excited about this, and even more so if doing n-tier development. I think this promising new aspect of PB has potential, just be sure to start using it. Your code won't benefit if you don't start using try/catch blocks.

6.   Collapse class hierarchies
Deployed components now have their inherited methods in the interface. This is very helpful when developers are sharing common business objects. Prior to PowerBuilder 8.02, all inherited methods would not be shown in the interface so Java developers couldn't see inherited public methods of PB components.

7.   New API calls
This list of API calls for file and printer management saves you time. In the past, you had to set up external calls for each one. Now call the method and keep coding.

  • File system functions
    -ChangeDirectory
    -CreateDirectory
    -DirectoryExists
    -FileCopy
    -FileMove
    -GetCurrentDirectory
    -RemoveDirectory

  • Printer system functions
    -PrintGetPrinter
    -PrintGetPrinters
    -PrintSetPrinter
    -PrintSetupPrinter

    There are other new functions too. Take a peek in the PowerBuilder 8 Help files. Under the "What's New" tab is a listing for additional calls that will save you time.

    8.   More Web DataWindow properties are exposed in the IDE
    Customizing the HTML generated by the HTMLDW is easy to do. The ability to add pass-through HTML code with the ValueIsHTML property and the flexibility to add dynamic attributes to your DataWindow objects are powerful tools. Here are some new properties to look at:

    • HTML.AppendedHTML
    • HTML.ValueIsHTML
    • HTMLGen.CommonJSFile
    • HTMLGen.DateJSFile
    • HTMLGen.NetscapeLayers
    • HTMLGen.NumberJSFile
    • HTMLGen.StringJSFile
    • HTMLGen.TabIndexBase
    • HTMLGen.UserJSFile
    Is Eight Enough?
    In PowerBuilder 7, Sybase provided basic Web tools by enabling us to deploy PowerBuilder components to EAServer. With PowerBuilder 8, it's much faster and easier. Sybase is moving in the right direction with this tool. They understand the importance of the PowerBuilder community to the long-term future of Sybase, and have revitalized their commitment to continued enhancements to PowerBuilder and EAStudio.

    Sybase is planning changes that will enhance and grow PowerBuilder's role as a development tool into an invaluable suite. More important, these changes will make PB the developer's tool of choice because of its speed and convenience, and a solid solution for management because it saves time and money. If you haven't upgraded yet, do so today.

  • 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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