Troubleshooting PowerBuilder Web Forms Applications

PowerBuilder Bugs

PowerBuilder Bugs


Do you remember the common GPF errors in PowerBuilder version 3, 4, 5 or 6? If so, get ready for round two with PowerBuilder web forms applications.

PowerBuilder Web Forms Applications might test your patience with unpredictable challenges. I believe that the web forms functionality needs some refinement before it is as solid as the rest of the tool.

This is a living document – if you’re developing Web Forms consider bookmarking it and checking back later.

About PowerBuilder Web Forms

PowerBuilder recently introduced support for building Web Forms Applications. PowerBuilder 12.5 uses the .NET Framework version 4. PowerBuilder 15 will probably use the .NET Framework 5 however this is only a guess. Web Forms are created using PowerBuilder Classic. PB.Net is for creating WPF or Windows Forms applications and not Web Forms apps.

Common Problems with PowerBuilder Web Forms

These are issues that I have identified so far. If you find others (and you will) please let me know so I can update this document. We do not have much public documentation on PowerBuilder web forms at this time.

Browser Incompatibility

Internet Explorer is the only officially supported browser for web forms applications. Google Chrome does not work well at this time, nor do other web browsers. I am hoping that someone will take ownership of the web forms area and find the problems in the generated JavaScript. Fixing the JavaScript that PB uses will likely solve the browser incompatibility issues.

Java Script Errors

I am still in “research” mode here. I know that there are javascript errors but I have not yet identified them. If you have found any specific problems please leave a note in the comments.

PowerBuilder Bugs or Unknown problems

Reserved Words used in JavaScript

Variables named with JavaScript reserved words cause run-time errors in web forms applications. You might wonder WHO would name database columns using such bad naming conventions. I don’t know the answer. The problem was the existing WordPress MySQL database. It has a column named “public” in the “wp_blogs” table. Solve this by aliasing your database column to a non-reserved word.

Unsupported Features

  • Timer event in a datawindow control.
  • Delegates (anyone able to simulate delegates?)

Inheritance problems

There seem to be some bugs in the PowerBuilder inheritance logic. I have not yet been able to prove this yet but I think using a lot of inheritance might add risk.


Best Practices for Developing PowerBuilder Web Forms

When building web forms apps with PowerBuilder try to remember these suggestions.

  • Mark your datawindow object as a “Web” datawindow.
  • Remember to create a deployment package to install run-times (Start –> Sybase –> Runtime Packager)
  • Use application tracing to assist with debugging.
  • View the HTML source of pages that don’t work. You might find buried messages.
  • Using windows or tabs… not sure yet but panes (user objects) seem to be flaky.

PB Web Forms Training & Sample Apps

PowerBuilder training links, sample applications and videos can be found here.


DebuggingDebugging with Fiddler: The complete reference from the creator of the Fiddler Web Debugger


C#:  Five star books for any web developer. My favorites so far


PowerBuilder Web Forms are pretty impressive.

But there are some challenges to overcome before they are as easy to develop as the standard PowerBuilder applications. I am relatively early in the discovery process and welcome ANY feedback here.


Please leave a comment and I’ll incorporate into the article with attribution. Have a great day.



One response

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