RealTime IT News

Sybase Expands .NET Roadmap

Sybase officials took the wraps off a new version of its developer tool, PowerBuilder, which offers more support for the creation of .NET-based enterprise applications.

PowerBuilder expands on its existing .NET framework support, part of the Dublin, Calif.-based firm's four-step goal to completely integrate Microsoft's development framework for building applications that tap into a company's back-end data system. PowerBuilder already supports J2EE and limited .NET functionality.

".NET is really the evolution of the whole operating system and the framework of the platform, said Sue Dunnell, PowerBuilder product manager. "We really see our base, since they're Microsoft shops in terms of their operating system and desktop environment, that .NET is the direction that they're moving to and we see that as where we need to be for the development environment."

One of the additions to the PowerBuilder IDE is the inclusion of ActiveX Data Objects interfaces for .NET (ADO.NET), to access, manipulate and exchange data used in SQL Server or based on XML or OLE DB . Also included is PowerBuilder support for Microsoft's Active Accessibility Interface, used to build applications on the Windows operating system platform for users with disabilities.

Sybase officials decided to bundle its DataWindow .NET software into PowerBuilder, a standalone application that costs USD$695. A point-and-click development tool to incorporate business logic data and present it using any .NET IDE, DataWindow was publicly released Aug. 9.

Other PowerBuilder 10 improvements include Unicode support, a tweaked XML Web DataWindow, as well object modeling and refactoring to reverse-engineer and create different applications using the same code base.

The Sybase roadmap to .NET integration is halfway through, a process that began in March 2003 with the launch of PowerBuilder 9 and support for .NET Web services . Step two was its launch of the DataWindow .NET application. Step three involves Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) support, to compile PowerBuilder code onto the .NET framework, while step four is the complete integration of PowerBuilder and ..NET, so that PowerBuilder becomes essentially a .NET IDE.

That doesn't mean Sybase is giving up on Java, which is very popular despite its steep learning curve.

"There's a lot of Java in [our customers] software as well and we see the need to integrate with the Java platform," Dunnell said. "There's the ability to interact with Java very easily on PowerBuilder [but] we see the need to do more direct support for .NET as a platform because that's the platform they actually run on."

In related news, Sybase also made the following announcements Monday:

  • Sybase officials announced a partnership with AeroScout, an RFID manufacturer. AeroScout's hybrid Wi-Fi/RFID/GPS mobile technology will gather data from laptops, scanners, RFID readers and ID cards and pass it into Sybase's RFID middleware for data processing, where aggregate information can then be forwarded on to other workstations or mobile devices.
  • Officials announced the start of open beta testing for its relational database management system, Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) 15, beginning in late August. An ASE 15 server is expected to support up to 2 billion devices with up to four terabytes of information. Developers can download the software here.