I can’t take any credit for this really nice article that gives some real-world uses for gradient usage in our PowerBuilder applications that aren’t too flashy or tacky looking.

Gradients, Not Glitz: Methods to Modernize PowerBuilder User Experiences
— Surprisingly few applications have used DataWindow gradients since they were introduced in PowerBuilder 10.5. Modern applications frequently have controls with gradients. They can give a fresh look to an old application. Where developers used solid colors to highlight columns, gradients add nuance, flair and more.
This article will show practical methods and guidelines for applying gradients to convey meaning, grouping, and give visual focus. It begins by introducing the basics of gradient properties. The discussion advances to many types of subtle effects for general visual interest. Examples are “soft spots” or “title bar shades,” or focus indicators for rows and columns. Gradients can be used in detail and group bands and framing free form objects inside – or instead of – group boxes. Readers will see distinctive DataWindow controls like edits, checkboxes and radio buttons. Property expressions can also create data-driven effects to convey meaning in a variety of cases. Gradients can do a lot for your application when users have been getting less. They provide an extra channel to convey focus, grouping, depth and distinction in subtle and appealing ways (see Figure 1).

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