Windows COM::System Integration Super Glue

    By: Mr. Yakov Werde on Oct 01, 2013

    This three article series explores using Microsoft COM as a desktop integration technology to extend the life and reach of PowerBuilder desktop applications. This first article, after briefly surveying PowerBuilder’s current state of affairs, introduces COM technology and PowerBuilder’s capabilities as a COM client, and provides two use cases that inspired this study. Future articles will detail and describe relevant COM internals, the mechanics of exposing elements of a .NET assembly to COM and detail nuances of the PowerBuilder COM client interface.

    If I could coin a phrase expressing the current state of PowerBuilder applications, I’d say “The only thing that is certain is uncertainty itself”. While PowerBuilder abides in limbo, our world moves on. Applications must be built; features must be added or modified. As they say on Broadway,“The show must go on!”

    It goes without saying that the Classic PowerBuilder platform is showing its age. PowerBuilder’s Dot Net platform with its almost state of the art desktop Dot Net infrastructure was Sybase’s intended modernization path. Unfortunately, two factors are holding back full scale migration: (1) Transitioning large applications from unmanaged Classic WinForm to managed WPF PowerBuilder Dot Net is a major project and (2) The PB .NET IDE is lacking important tooling support and the WPF implementation has unaddressed shortcomings.

    Back in 2010 Scott Hanselman wrote “Well over 90% of the PCs in the world have some version of the .NET Framework installed” and “Over 65% of Windows PCs in the world have .NET 3.5 SP1 installed”. Here we are 3 years later. It’s hard to image that the numbers have decreased. It is my observation that most desktop centric shops have adopted, are adopting, or are considering adopting Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET within their IT infrastructure. Microsoft’s desktop operating systems and coupled with Microsoft’s platform technologies and applications are a popular combination. Choosing to go with MS technology for the desktop is usually a safe proposition. Consequently, I have never encountered resistance when introducing the notion of using .NET to extend a PowerBuilder application’s useful life.

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    Released: October 1, 2013, 9:45 am | Updated: January 27, 2014, 6:17 pm
    Keywords: PowerBuilder Article | Technical Journal | Microsoft COM | PowerBuilder | Yakov Werde


     

     

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