Sybase Readying Tool for XML, Web Services

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-08-12

Sybase Inc. is ramping up support for XML and Web services in the beta version of its PowerBuilder rapid application development tool.

The beta of PowerBuilder 9.0, unveiled last week at Sybases TechWave conference in San Diego, includes features such as XML importation and support for JSPs (JavaServer Pages) and for third-party application server platforms such as IBMs WebSphere and BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic. Sybase, of Dublin, Calif., will ship PowerBuilder 9.0 in the first half of next year, officials said.

Also at the show, the company unveiled the beta of Sybase Enterprise Portal 5.0, which will be generally available in October. Sybase is focusing on reducing the complexity of developing, deploying and maintaining portals by introducing capabilities to build portlets—or active components within portal pages—without manual coding.

Sybase is positioning PowerBuilder 9.0 as a Web services and an XML services tool. Future versions of the beta will reflect this, the company said.

Sybase executives said PowerBuilder 9.0 will enable developers to build and publish Web services based on the Simple Object Access Protocol and Web Services Description Language standards. The product will also support Microsoft Corp.s .Net, they said.

"PowerBuilder 9 is both an XML development tool and a Web services development tool now—definitely a case of teaching an old dog new tricks," said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Cambridge, Mass.

Bloomberg said Sybase is aiming Version 9.0 at its established PowerBuilder users. However, many of those customers also use Java 2 Enterprise Edition and .Net. Sybase, he said, wants to support Web services interfaces throughout its product lineup, rather than have a separate Web services product strategy.

"What remains to be seen is how much of their Web services strategy is reactive to customer demand, and how much is proactive, with a strategic view of the role of Web services and service-oriented architectures down the road," he said.

Other enhancements to PowerBuilder 9.0 include source code control enhancements and integration with source code control tools, and new scripting capabilities.

Matt Hicks contributed to this report.

Rocket Fuel