Rapid Application Development migration on .NET, database styley

You know that part at the start of a press statement where the company calls themselves the global leader in ground-breaking life-enriching planet-saving this that and the other? Well sometimes (only sometimes) it's quite useful as a short positioning statement, but most of the time it's disorientating and full of puff.

You know that part at the start of a press statement where the company calls themselves the global leader in ground-breaking life-enriching planet-saving this that and the other? Well sometimes (only sometimes) it's quite useful as a short positioning statement, but most of the time it's disorientating and full of puff.

I mention this point as I am on the road to the Sybase Developer Days event in London this week. Now I would call the aforementioned vendor a 'database' company, but their intro materials for this week's developer-fest hardly pause to reference the word.

Perhaps that's because as worthy as Sybase's ASE might be, the company wants to spend more time talking about 'enterprise and mobile software development' due to its PowerBuilder rapid application development (RAD) tool.

Still heavily database orientated, version 12 of this product is supposedly more closely positioned to create or migrate business applications on the Microsoft .NET Framework. All of which is due to the Visual Studio shell being incorporated into its infrastructure.

This being the culmination of Sybase’s four-phase plan to support .NET, we could sit back and ask what took them so long and why didn't they do this from the start given Sybase's early history of association with Microsoft and SQL Server.

HISTORICAL NOTE: Way back in 1984, Sybase coined the term Sybase SQL Server and made a deal with Microsoft to share the source code for a number of years before an acrimonious revenue-sharing tiff caused the two to split.

Or of course we could say well done for merging PowerBuilder RAD capabilities within a .NET infrastructure. But we wouldn't just want to do that straight out now would we?

Sybase says that the new .NET-friendly PowerBuilder 12 still requires, "Only about five lines of code – instead of hundreds in another language – to access business logic using its DataWindow technology."

Although it rarely seems to feature in headlines, the native data-handling object DataWindow is argued to be the key component here in terms of giving developers more power. It is now re-written in C# and natively supports Microsoft WPF.

Well they say you should more attention to practitioners than vendors sometimes, so I got hold of a note from Yakov Werde who is president of eLearnIT. “We have used PowerBuilder 12 to migrate legacy applications to .NET and create prototypes, proof of concepts and production quality applications. Sybase has helped build a bridge to the future by merging PowerBuilder RAD capabilities within a .NET infrastructure.”

So OK, I just wish Sybase had used its first sentence to describe itself as a database-centric RAD specialist. Or even a database-centric RAD specialist with a good sideline in .NET-compliant managed code. Not catchy enough though I guess. Now I know why I'm not in marketing.

END NOTE: Out of pure coincidence, in the last hour Microsoft has just started the worldwide launch of SQL Server 2008 R2 - and this is (and I quote) "the most complete information platform for managing, accessing and delivering information" - and Microsoft don't even bother explaining who they are at the start of their stories, I guess we should have known that!

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