Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: APM Blog, Jnan Dash, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Old Fashioned Development

Thinking about the early days of PowerBuilder when dBase, Clipper, Clarion, SQLWindows ran supreme

 The other day I was thinking about the early days of PowerBuilder when dBase, Clipper, Clarion, SQLWindows, etc., development tools ran supreme. In November of 1989 I came across a small Massachusetts company working on a revolutionary product.

 They had just decided to call it PowerBuilder and they had made their first two sales: one to the Australian Air force and, surprisingly, the other to Microsoft! I was doing research for a Canadian government agency named Treasury Board that wanted recommendations on graphic user interface development tools that interfaced with relational database management systems. This recommendation would become a standard for all other federal government agencies.

 I had received a great recommendation from a Microsoft engineer from New Hampshire who gave me the name of a person to talk to at Redmond and mentioned that as far as he was concerned I should be talking to PowerSoft and "get my hands on PowerBuilder ASAP." I had already made a short list of about five GUI development tools and had a team already benchmarking some of these products. Not all the development tools could be checked, as most vendors wanted you to purchase the product (even for trial purposes). I was very intrigued by the SE's recommendation and gave PowerSoft a call. I happened to speak to a salesperson who understood what I was working on and that I was already well versed in GUI development tools. He passed me on directly to the project manager - Dave Litwack (who later on became president).

 Dave went through why he believed PowerBuilder was heads-and-tails above the other development tools and even guaranteed me a copy of the product the next day by FedEx. Then Dave expounded on this new feature called the "DataWindow" and passed me over to its creator - Kim Sheffield. Kim was a super nice guy who spoke to me about PowerBuilder's architecture, the DataWindow and why PB was going to be the next market leader in the GUI development tool arena. Needless to say, the product arrived on my desk the next day. After a brief tutorial it was evident that this tool was a serious contender and I passed it to my development team and mentioned the tool to my director. He was impressed that any company would extend itself like that and offer to help beyond normal limits this stranger who just called looking for information.

 Because of the helpfulness, commitment, and enthusiasm by the product vendor they convinced us to give PowerBuilder a chance. My entire testing team's thoughts were unanimous - PowerBuilder was exceptional, especially the DataWindow's SQL prowess. The recommendation was adopted by the Treasury Board and today when you obtain a Canadian passport or firearm license, apply for security clearance, process a GST tax claim, check your case file at the Supreme Court of Canada, review the parts and maintenance for all Hercules Aircraft, get help from the RCMP (911), etc., it's all done in PowerBuilder!

 This type of encounter rarely happens a second time. However, in my case it did when I was recommended to call an ambitious product manager and team lead for a new product called PocketBuilder. Again, I picked up the phone and spoke to a very enthusiastic gentleman by the name of Martyn Mallick of iAnywhere Solutions in Waterloo, Ontario. He told me about a new development tool for the mobile/wireless market. He also recommended that I get in touch with the lead developer - Reed Shilts. Martyn and Reed were a "breath of fresh air" after seeing the demise of the PowerSoft "spirit" after being bought by Sybase. Sybase's mentality normally seems to be to wait for a potential developer to come knocking at their door. PowerSoft used to host live seminars and give away free copies of PowerBuilder - Sybase stopped all that. Not only that but the entire PowerBuilder development team disappeared below radar.

 However, Martyn and Reed have proven that "old fashioned development" with personal contact is the way to win developers over to your product. Sending out free product copies, heavily participating on the PocketBuilder newsgroups, listening to developers needs (not waiting for some international user group for feedback), calling key people to participate in early beta releases, etc., is really paying off. This "synergy" has rubbed off on other TeamSybase members and the wireless community in general. I can easily send an e-mail or pick up the phone and talk to Reed or other key members of the development team (like John Griffin). It reminds me of the old PowerSoft days.

 Maybe this should be a wake-up call to other Sybase development teams (you never see them calling actual developers, participating on the PowerBuilder, PowerDesigner, etc., newsgroups) - to get involved with your development community. Maybe this "old fashioned development" is not too bad after all.

More Stories By Chris Pollach

Chris Pollach is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years experience in Systems and Software Analysis, Development, Maintenance and Technical Support, mainly in the areas of GUI Design, MS-Windows Programming, Java / .NET Programming, Wireless, Application / Web Server Design & Programming, Object Oriented Development Tools and Methodologies, Data Base, Data Communications and Network application development. He has participated in numerous technical, planning and management roles, as well as consulted and educated in these fields for a diverse clientele. He is also the owner of “Software Tool & Die Inc.” a company dedicated to provide custom software and education solutions on Object Oriented business systems.

As an educator, Chris is certified to teach PowerBuilder (first in Canada), MS-SQLServer, Sybase’s Enterprise Application Studio and EAServer integrated application/web development environment. He is former Certified SilverStream developer (CSSD) and current Certified PowerBuilder Developer – Associate / Professional (CPD-P) as well as a Certified Sybase Tools Instructor (CSI).

Chris has written numerous articles in various popular personal computer magazines, newsletters and is the author of the PowerGuide and PowerExpert products as well as the STD Foundation Classes. Currently, Chris has developed a Foundation Class library for Sybase's PocketBuilder, SAP's PowerBulder and EAServer products and now Appeon Web & mobile products that integrates JSP or ASP web development, Section 508 / CLF web standards and mobile applications. A new Web Service framework has also been released for IIs to support PowerBuilder based web service NVUO's!

Chris recently became a 2nd Degree Black in the TaeKwonDo martial art and has developed a Martial Art multimedia study guide using the Component-One “Doc2Help” and Sybase PowerBuilder products. Since the fall of 2004 he became a TaeKwonDo instructor for the City of Ottawa’s Goulbourn program. He has also been certified with the World TaeKwonDo Federation (February 2005 - 1st Dan and October 2008 - 2nd Dan).

Chris was awarded the Sybase “Innovation and Achievement” award for 2005 as voted for by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG). This award was presented for innovations to the PocketBuilder mobile development product, contributions to the PowerBuilder News groups and support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group.

To round his management and leadership skills, Chris is the former president of the Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn and still volunteers his time with the service clubs in his area. He is also the coordinator of the Ottawa Sybase User group and a certified NAUI scuba instructor. For the last three years, Chris has been voted onto the ISUG Board of Directors and holds the position of "Director - North American User Groups".

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Jonathan Baker 08/08/05 07:29:45 PM EDT

Thanks, Chris, for the great article.

Only one thing, though, that caught my eye. When you say "Maybe this should be a wake-up call to other Sybase development teams (you never see them calling actual developers, participating on the PowerBuilder, PowerDesigner, etc., newsgroups)" nothing could be further from the truth. I, and my developer friends at Sybase, personally participate on the newsgroups several times a day; in the PowerBuilder, jConnect, Workspace, and EAServer newsgroups. I also see a number of product managers on these groups on a regular basis.

But, you're right, we didn't invite you to provide feedback on our new Java Workgroup product - specifically becauase you told us that you only work in Visual Studio and PB! Other Java developers were invited, and we have received excellent feedback and suggestions from them.

Thanks for the memories, Chris, it was a fun walk down PB history. And, you can be sure that we learned great things with PB, and continue that tradition of contacting our developers in all of our other developent tool lines.

(Oh... Don't just take my word on it - visit our forums at forums.sybase.com and see for yourself.)

Cheers,
Jonathan Baker

Evangelism Manager, Development Tools

Java Developer's Journal 08/03/05 02:56:27 PM EDT

Old Fashioned Development. The other day I was thinking about the early days of PowerBuilder when dBase, Clipper, Clarion, SQLWindows, etc., development tools ran supreme. In November of 1989 I came across a small Massachusetts company working on a revolutionary product. They had just decided to call it PowerBuilder and they had made their first two sales: one to the Australian Air force and, surprisingly, the other to Microsoft!

PBDJ News Desk 08/03/05 01:57:29 PM EDT

Old Fashioned Development. The other day I was thinking about the early days of PowerBuilder when dBase, Clipper, Clarion, SQLWindows, etc., development tools ran supreme. In November of 1989 I came across a small Massachusetts company working on a revolutionary product. They had just decided to call it PowerBuilder and they had made their first two sales: one to the Australian Air force and, surprisingly, the other to Microsoft!

@ThingsExpo Stories
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...