You may remember PowerBuilder as a popular tool for client-server application development in the 1990s. Times have changed since then, and PowerBuilder has evolved through the years as well. In fact, Sybase announced a new version of PowerBuilder that completely supports .NET development. This not only provides a migration path for existing PowerBuilder application developers, but provides a cost-effective .NET development environment with many unique features.
With this release, you can use PowerBuilder and its scripting language to build .NET compatible assemblies that can be deployed with other assemblies, regardless of the language they were built with. There are two IDEs supported: the first is the classic PowerBuilder IDE used to build native Win32 applications, and the second IDE -- new to this release -- is based on the Visual Studio shell. With this, Sybase has achieved its main goal of providing a migration path to the latest in .NET development for existing customers.
Another goal is to make PowerBuilder the best .NET environment and development language available. As mentioned above, the PowerBuilder scripting language is a managed coding environment that can produce and consume .NET assemblies. However, due to its powerful language features, developers can achieve the same .NET functionality with PowerBuilder with far less code when compared to other .NET languages such as C++ or C#. Further, thanks to PowerBuilder's award winning and patented DataWindow, application database access is simplified and requires far less code.
Sybase is targeting not only core .NET developers, but also business users, product managers, and others that do not have a traditional programming background. By simplifying .NET development, PowerBuilder should allow non-programmers to build or assemble working applications, or enhance existing ones, with relatively little time and effort.