At the German PB User Group event on December 3, 2013, senior SAP staff speaking from the headquarters presented information about SAP’s plans for PowerBuilder and the product roadmap.
Bruce Armstrong’s blog post provided some key points about the PowerBuilder Roadmap, which was based on presentations from the German PB User Group event. Although SAP will finalize an official statement later this month (possibly as soon as SAP TechEd Bangalore on Dec 11-13th), since we are so close to the announcement we don’t expect any major deviations. Perhaps this is why SAP was comfortable with presenting this information at the German PB User Group event. Anyway, let’s have a look at what this means for PowerBuilder developers and users.
PowerBuilder will become an official SAP product rather than be treated as a “legacy” Sybase product. This means that PowerBuilder will not be deprecated but rather that it will become a long-term application development platform for SAP customers.
PowerBuilder, like all official SAP products, will afford customers with certain privileges and benefits:
• Starting with PowerBuilder 15, each major release of PowerBuilder will be supported for up to 8 years before that version can be end-of-life.
• Customers can access SAP’s worldwide technical support and receive high quality resolutions.
• PowerBuilder has been certified to meet SAP security requirements, which helps ensure that your organization is not vulnerable to security threats.
• PowerBuilder is listed on the SAP price list, and as such, SAP sales staff can introduce and sell it to SAP customers, thus expanding the PB community.
• SAP products are meant to work together, and so we can expect tighter integration between PowerBuilder and other SAP technologies in the near future.
As an official SAP product, organizations running PB applications, as well as 3rd party PB technologies like Appeon, have the peace of mind that their assets are now protected for many years to come.
As Bruce mentioned, SAP announced the release of PowerBuilder 15. The feature-set was defined by Sybase before PowerBuilder became an official SAP product, and it is meant to address the most pressing immediate needs of developers and users. The Windows 8 certification alone has started to become a critical issue for some companies; these companies now can move forward to upgrade without worry of incompatibility or other issues.
While PB 15 is more evolutionary than revolutionary in terms of feature-set, it is a key turning point for the PowerBuilder product. It is the first release to meet SAP’s requirements for a product that SAP will stand behind. This includes adhering to SAP’s strict security requirements, removing problematic third-party technologies, and a thorough legal review to ensure no IP issues.
A PB15 beta version has already been released internally, and a general beta program will start in early 2014. What has delayed the availability of the general beta program is purely process related, such as working around SAP policies that require a formal SAP customer registration process
(S-user account) before accessing the beta version of any SAP product. The SAP/BIT team wants to ensure that all PB users can easily get their hands on this beta and future beta programs.
Future Direction & Strategy
PowerBuilder 15 is a reflection of what Sybase had planned for the direction and strategy of PowerBuilder. SAP is a much larger company than Sybase and not interested in chasing Microsoft’s technology whims. SAP is focused on making easy to build, complex, data-driven, line of business applications.
Although the general direction and strategy for PowerBuilder is defined, as they say, the devil is in the details. SAP being a customer-driven company will be reaching out to PowerBuilder customers at SAP and PB events to help define specific product features and the roadmap. In addition, SAP intends to run surveys to solicit input from as many PowerBuilder customers as possible. This is a very welcome departure from how PowerBuilder features and roadmap were defined during the Sybase days.
That being said, PB15 is just a first step and not a reflection of how PowerBuilder will evolve in the hands of SAP. As for future evolutions, it’s up to all of us to contribute and influence the PB roadmap in the right direction: sign-up for the beta, join PB events and user discussions with SAP, and send them as much productive feedback as possible! As the saying goes: “speak now or forever hold your peace!”