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PowerBuilder 12 is here!

Actually, it’s here!  Generally available for licensed users at the Sybase Product Download Center!

Rocking .NET!

The long-anticipated update to PowerBuilder is the 16th major release in 19 years, and that doesn’t count the dozens of maintenance releases and HUNDREDS of EBF patches.  But this one is special…  The last really substantial overhaul of the IDE came with the release of version 8.0, which introduced the System Tree, Workspaces and Targets, and tighter SCC integration.

The first thing you’ll notice when you install PB12 is that it actually contains TWO separate IDEs.  PB12 “Classic” is essentially the same interface that we’ve known since version 8.0, and continues the tradition of allowing you to build Win32 client applications, .NET Winform and Webform apps, .NET Web Services and Assemblies, and JEE components for EAServer, JBoss, WebLogic, or Websphere.  All of these are distinct “target” types and can be edited from a single Workspace in PB12.

PB12.NET is a second IDE that will contain two target types: WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) applications and WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) client proxies.  WPF is the new graphical rendering engine for Windows, and it replaces the aging Win32 GDI architecture.  The language for designing the user interface layer of a WPF applications is called XAML (EXtensible Application Markup Language), which is an XML-based syntax.  The good news is, PB12.NET actually generates the XAML for you interactively from the grapical design pane!  (But it’s still a good idea to get familiar with the XAML syntax…)

PB12.NET leverages the Microsoft Visual Studio Isolated Shell, so it’s going to look a little different to veteran PB developers.  It will look and feel like Visual Studio, but with the familiar PowerBuilder coding experience that we’ve all grown familiar with.  You still write event and function scripts in PowerScript, and develop Datawindows, and your existing apps should migrate to WPF targets with little or no refactoring required.

It’s important to note that this is NOT a Visual Studio plugin – and there’s a big distinction.  If PB12.NET had been constructed as a VS2008 plugin, you would have to purchase and install Visual Studio 2008 to run PowerBuilder!  This is why we went in the direction of the Isolated Shell.  Everything you need comes in the PB12 install – you do NOT need to install Visual Studio or Expression Blend to construct fully functional WPF applications.

Here’s a link to the Trial Download of PB12.  Note that the GA version had an issue with our licensing software, which resulted in valid license files being rejected on machines that had participated in the Beta program at any time.  This issue has been fixed, and the EBF release for that specific defect can be found at this link.



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More Stories By Paul Horan

Paul Horan is a Senior Solution Advisor and Mobility Architect at SAP, and works with the SAP Mobile Platform and SAP Mobile Secure product lines. Paul joined SAP as part of their acquisition of Sybase in June, 2010. Prior to that, Paul worked for Sybase as a technical pre-sales architect supporting PowerBuilder, PowerDesigner, and SQL Anywhere. Paul works out of SAP's Reston VA office. A 1984 graduate of Indiana University, Paul currently resides in Arlington VA.

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