PowerBuilder Predictions for 2011 – Dead, Alive, Comeback?

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update Feb-4, 2011:

The DisplacedGuy – PowerBuilder Predictions Poll 2011

Some preliminary observations:

PowerBuilder isn’t dead

PowerBuilder outlook is optimistic for 2011

Scientific?  Certainly not.

Put this blog on a Java blog and the results might be slightly different. (sarcasm intended)

on a blog of a Java developer you’d probably get areer PB developer and considering the poll is on a tech blog of a career PB developer they might be nothing more than entertainment value.

In – A couple dozen votes, on a PB slanted blog

The results are far from scientific, however they seem to reflect my general feelings about PowerBuilder as of today.  I feel like Sybase has an opportunity, and with some hard work and a little luck they very well could regain market share in the corporate development area and more luck they might have some upside potential.  I’ve been using PB12 on a daily basis for a while now, after recently completing some Silverlight 4 projects, and using other development languages– and here is how I’d describe the feeling…  like the feeling of walking into a warm house from a blizzard,  or falling into a pillow-top memory-foam mattress with freshly ironed 1200-count sheets.   The feeling was of “RELIEF”.

The same thing that made PowerBuilder what it was decades ago is the same thing it has going now, the datawindow… or to be completely technical, the “dataobject” and relationship between the “dataobject” and “datawindow control”.

What about separation of concerns and all the latest development paradigms?

The beauty of PowerBuilder, in my opinion is that you can separate concerns to a “optimal” level for 90% of corporate applications.  For the other ten percent of applications the extra planning and design to maximize separation of concerns is probably cost-effective.   The beauty of PowerBuilder is that we can still develop using all the new object oriented programming paradigms that focus on separation of concerns, not to the point that purists might like but we can do a pretty good job.  But the priceless difference is still that word we’ve been saying for a decade or two, “datawindow”.

Dataobject the one place to put the ugly code.  Like sweeping the last bit of dust under the rug.

Well it’s really the “dataobject” that defines all the ugly application specific code.  The “dataobject” is the rug you can sweep the dust under when nobody is looking and everything else around it looks beautiful you can proudly look at your application that was delivered on time, within budget, users happy for not having to sacrifice on UI because of complexities, and everyone knows about the dust swept under the rug (the “dataobject”) but what matters in business is the bottom line.

WaveMaker is a tool that had me really excited about Java development, however once it came to the dirty details of the UI work, and working with complex data models my Java weakness really stood out.  I wasn’t willing to invest the time to take it to the next level but keep an eye on them.  They’ve got some of the original PowerSoft management on board and have got some momentum going. I’ve got a few WaveMaker articles on the blog if you haven’t checked it, you should.

If YOU were running the show at your company, and you are “in-the-know” about PowerBuilder and followed what I just wrote,  what decision would you make when it came to department level corporate applications?

end of my update Feb-4, 21011

7 Responses

  1. Very interesting… the results are closer to entertainment than science but they reflect my general feelings about PowerBuilder, having been working with PowerBuilder 12 on a daily basis for a while lately. My recent work in PowerBuilder 12 has been a welcome relief from Silverlight 4, and Microsoft technologies. I LOVE challenge and like most developers live for challenge, but would rather challenge myself to building the best application for the client as possible than challenge myself to creative solutions to work-around limitations in the tool. I’m in the process of a quick update to this article. PowerBuider is not dead. Will it linger like Cobol, or make a comeback?

  2. Dude – We are doing new development in PowerBuilder 12 and our customers could not be happier. IT managers do not have a clue about what a good tool is and the best tools don’t always win. Look at IBM OS/2 operating system which was far better than Windows. PB beats anything out there for business applications, but I do not think it will make a come back. IT managers are too scared to make decisions against the trend. Our company has abandoned Java however due to no successful projects to date. Thanks for the good articles.

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