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Born Again Powerbuilder


I am a born again Powerbuilder (developer)! That’s right I program in Sybase’s Powerbuilder, again!

Like many I also left it sometime in 1999 when it looked like fading. But, Powerbuilder has proved it’s worth and reserved it’s place and pace in the ever growing world of Java, C++ and .Net. It has not only survived the onslaught of new technologies, but I feel it is coming out of hibernation.

To those who don’t have a clue as to what Powerbuilder is, it’s a client server development tool that a small company called Powersoft brought out in the late 80’s. It had it’s hay days in the 90’s during the hysteria in corporate world to migrate out of “legacy” mainframe applications to Client/Server. Few of us, that knew Powerbuilder were the “new kids on the block” and the new order priests. But it all dried down soon after Sybase took over. By then internet programming took over and the rest is history.

Now, Powerbuilder is becoming “legacy” application itself and I know what those Mainframe programmers must have felt when we “Client/Server” programmers arrived. One consolation: Powerbuilder did not die while competition like Visual Basic, Gupta SQL and Oracle CDE slowly disappeared in the corporate scene, either naturally or because of company policies. At least, it has been a recession proof job finder for me.

If anyone tries to search “Powerbuilder” on the net, they may be up against broken links and/or old contents. There hasn’t been any good books written on the subject and while it seems to be dying, you also hear about Sybase bringing out the Powerbuilder ver 12.x and Pocketbuilder etc. They also silently integrated Java into their product line.

I recently took up yet another Powerbuilder job maintaining a PB 10.x application using EA Server 5.5. I intend to share with you my experiences and my love-hate relationship with the product.

Hope you find this useful.


  1. SamV says:

    Hi Bill, You know the name! Were you here before? During the Unisys days, perhaps? Yep, EAF made it so easy to work with EAServer. That itself was a beauty.

    Unfortunately, all that is coming to an end here. Since my last comment, management has decided to go with Java. We are soon going to be a Java shop.


  2. Hi Kanishqa,

    I just found your site again. I must have found it one time because I have you in my blog-roll but then I forgot. I just came back here today and noticed you have my site listed in one of your articles so I wanted to say thank-you very much. I noticed in this post you feel that PowerBuilder is coming out of hibernation. You are not alone in that feeling, I’ve been noticing a lot more jobs for PowerBuilder and have noticed that groups on Yahoo groups for PB are becoming more active again. I’ve got a poll on my site asking readers to predict PB for 2011 and most feel it is slowly gaining market share or making a comeback. I recently took a new contract doing PowerBuilder work for a very large telecommunications corporation and am curious to see what the future brings.

    Rich (aka The DisplacedGuy)

    • kanishqa says:

      Hello Rich,

      Thank you for visiting my page and your comments. I actually had you in my blog roll earlier, for some reason it didn’t show. I just added back. I thoroughly enjoy your site. I saw your recent poll. Very interesting.

      In the last 20+ years, I’ve managed to work in PB for about 12 years. I did go out and do other things, but PB has been my recession proof job tool. I came back into it in 2004 by chance and ever since I’ve managed a few contracts. Currently I work in the financial department of the City (Government) of LA. They have their entire tax software built in PB and EA server.

      I too feel, it’s coming back again. More than that, it has survived for so long, where several other tools fell off the face of the earth. But, I do hope Sybase does it right this time. With SAP in the picture, we may be in for a longer and more exciting ride.

      Happy Powerbuilding.

      Sam (Kanishqa)

      • Bill Van Fleet says:

        Ah LATAX. That was a great shop. I miss that crew. Cynergys framework was a thing of beauty. so much better than PFC for a framework.

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