Sybase Expands PowerBuilder

RAD tool forms underpinnings of next-generation environment.

Sybase Inc. last week announced the latest incarnation of its RAD tool, PowerBuilder 9.0.

The Dublin, Calif., company made the announcement at Giga Information Group Inc.s Application Development and Integration conference in Orlando, Fla.

Sybase will ship PowerBuilder 9.0 March 24. Company officials said the new release is the foundation for its 4GLplus initiative, which will be Sybases next-generation rapid application development environment.

PowerBuilder 9.0 supports Java 2 Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Corp.s .Net. The new release also features Web services support and third-party application server support.

Austin Durbin, technical services manager at Hawthorne Savings FSB, a bank based in El Segundo, Calif., said that he has been a PowerBuilder user for years and that each new version has something that stands out to him.

"What grabs my attention this time is PBNI, the PowerBuilder Native Interface," Durbin said. "Were in the early stages of doing an application for our appraisal department using an Oracle [Corp.] database."

Durbin said PBNI "is the perfect answer" to development problems he was having. "It allows me to write external stuff in C++ and make it look like it was right out of the box," he said.

Sue Dunnell, PowerBuilder product manager at Sybase, said PowerBuilder 9.0 enables developers to create and deploy Web services and applications that consume Web services without being fully versed in Simple Object Access Protocol and Web Services Description Language.

Other new features include tighter integration with PowerDesigner, the companys modeling and design tool, Dunnell said. Also among new features are XML DataWindow, RAD JSP (JavaServer Pages) and PowerBuilder Document Object Model.

XML DataWindow imports data from documents and saves it as a customized XML document, the company said.

RAD JSP functionality enables developers to more easily develop and deploy JSP applications using tools, Dunnell said.

New features in PowerBuilder 9.0

  • Support for Web services
  • PBNI
  • XML DataWindow
  • RAD JSP support
  • PDF report generation
  • Support for IBM, BEA, Oracle application servers
"It delivers the ability to develop JSP, and developers can do things like build a JSP and access a Web service without knowing how to program a JavaServer Page," Dunnell said.

Dunnell said PBNI "is a technology for our client/server customers to work in .Net, and it extends into .Net as well. Developers can build applications in C++ and wrap them" in the PowerBuilder object architecture. In essence, PBNI extends the capabilities of PowerBuilder applications by wrapping a C++ class as a PowerBuilder extension and then calling its methods in the application, she said. Java support is provided through support for Java Native Interface.

Meanwhile, in addition to supporting Sybases own EAServer application server, PowerBuilder 9.0 supports IBMs WebSphere, BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic, Oracles Oracle9iAS and others, Dunnell said.

The Enterprise edition of the product will sell for $2,995, the Professional version for $1,295 and the Desktop version for $295. The price for an upgrade to PowerBuilder 9.0 for current PowerBuilder Enterprise customers is $1,495.