PowerBuilder Intellisense – How to activate in PB 3


PowerBuilder does have intellisense

Well, intellisense is something specific to Visual Studio I believe, but PowerBuilder does have something called Autoscript that isn’t nearly as cool as intellisense but it is very useful.

PowerBuilder Intellisense

PowerBuilder Intellisense

I wouldn’t have wasted the time writing a blog post about this until I learned that all the developers at the shop I’m working were not aware of PowerBuilders’ version of Intellisense.

I don’t know exactly when Autoscript became available for PowerBuilder but it seems like it has been a long time, maybe version 9 or 10.  We are using PowerBuilder 11.5 but maybe someone running on earlier versions can let us know.

Activating Intellisense (Autoscript) in PowerBuilder

Turning on Intellisense for PowerBuilder is pretty simple, which is why I was so surprised nobody here knew about it.  I recently signed up for a PowerBuilder training course and apparently the instructor didn’t know about PB’s Intellisense but I wasn’t able to attend so it is only heresay.

You need to open an object (or at least I think so), for example just open one of your objects for editing which will give you the “Design” menu item.  Click the design menu item and then “options“.   After the Design Options window opens head over to the “Autoscript” tab where you should be able to figure out everything for yourself.

PowerBuilder Intellisense Menu

PowerBuilder Intellisense MenuThe Autoscript tab is pretty self explanatory. The autoscript isn't nearly as robust as that of Visual Studio, but it is very useful nonetheless. You can get intellisense on standard objects and non-standard objects that you've created, the key is that it is activated by the typing of a dot, or period and waiting for a period of time. So autoscript opens after you type the name of an object PowerBuilder Autoscript Tab

and the dot.  I chose 1000 milliseconds which works out to one second.

Differences between Autoscript and Intellisense

The core differences are that PB Autoscript is triggered by the typing of a dot after an object name, whereas Visual Studio Intellisense is far more robust and will help you with just about everything.

The PB Autoscript is not nearly as pretty as Intellisense, it looks pretty bland compared to Intellisense.

Unlike Visual Studio Intellisense, PowerBuilder Autoscript doesn’t help you “as you go” through the parameters / arguments of a method.  With the PB Autoscript, when you select a particular function or event it pastes the name and puts the arguments in immediately as comments.

Conclusion and Summary of PowerBuilder Autoscript

PowerBuilder does have a feature like Intellisense that developers from smaller shops may not have been enlightened about.  Intellisense has been in PowerBuilder since at least Version 11, and I recall using it in version 10 (maybe even 9) as well.

Autoscript is no match for Intellisense and it’s robust functionality but it will save you time coding when you can’t quite remember a function name.   Autoscript is especially useful when you are starting a job at a new company and learning the application even though it doesn’t do everything that Intellisense does.

Sincerely,

The DisplacedGuy (who’s not really displaced)

(aka Rich)


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