Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor, Trevor Parsons, Sandi Mappic, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: PowerBuilder, .NET, AJAX & REA, Silverlight

PowerBuilder: Article

How Quickly the Mighty Have Fallen

At least we can’t say we don’t live in interesting times

On November 9, Adobe announced in a blog post[1] that it had decided to cease efforts to develop browser plugins for mobile devices to play Flash, indicating that HTML5 was "the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms." In case that sounds like Adobe abandoned Flash entirely, it should be noted that Adobe indicated their intentions to continue to develop the AIR player for mobile devices, so that the role for Flash on mobile devices would be restricted to native apps, just not browser-based apps.

A few days later in another blog post[2], Adobe also noted that it was releasing the entire Flex SDK (used by the Flash Builder IDE to generate Flash RIA applications) to open source, indicating that "In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development."

What is so surprising about these announcements is just how quickly they came. As recently as January of 2010, HTML5 seemed to be going nowhere fast.[3] Meanwhile, Adobe was finishing up a new version of Adobe Flash Professional that would not only generate Flash, but would generate applications that would run on iOS as well. Everything was looking like Flash would not only rule the Internet, but would start taking on mobile devices as well.

Then in February of 2010, the W3C gave HTML5 I swift kick in the pants (although still targeting 2014 for the release of the standard).[4] Perhaps more important, on April 3 of 2010, Apple released the iPad. Five days later (April 8) Apple revised its Developer License to essentially ban the Flash-to-iPhone compiler feature of Adobe Flash Professional. Finally on April 28 of 2010, Steve Jobs released his "Thoughts on Flash" in which he outlined the reasons why he would never allow the use of Flash on iOS devices and instead backed HTML5.

A year and a half later and Adobe has ‘abandoned the field' so to speak, joining the HTML5 bandwagon and largely limiting the use of Flash to AIR applications on mobile devices. They indicate they will still work on the Flash browser plugin for desktop browsers, but given that plugins seem to be on the way out for desktop browsers, we may end up seeing Flash limited to the AIR player on desktops as well. The speed at which Adobe has capitulated, and somewhat similar moves that Microsoft has made recently, have led one person to suggest that Microsoft will take the same approach with Silverlight, making the soon-to-be-released version the last version. So far, there's been no other indication that might be the case though.

Of course, at this point you may be wondering, "What does this have to do with PowerBuilder?" I think there are a number of observations I would make from these recent events:

  1. If we thought that SAP/Sybase has problems communicating and supporting the product, think how the Flex developers feel right now. At least they got treated better than the "classic" Visual Basic programmers. You have to give SAP/Sybase some credit. PowerBuilder is still rolling, and a lot of the tools that were supposed to have killed it off (classic VB, Flex) have been killed off themselves.
  2. While HTML5 may be the future, the future isn't here yet. The Adobe post on the Flex action indicated that it would probably be 3 to 4 years yet before HTLM5 is in a position to replace Flex applications. With that in light, their decision with regard to Flex seems premature to me. Nonetheless, the lesson we might take away is that HTML5 currently isn't suitable for line of business application development, though it may be in a few years. We probably shouldn't expect to see anything out of SAP/Sybase to support generating line of business applications with HTML5 before then.
  3. With regard to development for mobile devices, apparently Adobe sees enough potential there to continue to support development of native applications for them. That is certainly an area where PowerBuilder could play as well. Of course, SAP/Sybase has been there before with PocketBuilder. Perhaps the main issue there was the dependence on one particular mobile operating system. In order to play in this market, PowerBuilder would need to be able to generate native applications for both Android and iOS at a minimum. The Developer Agreement changes referred to earlier were reversed by Apple, so cross-compiling applications to work on iOS is acceptable once more.
  4. Change happens. A year and a half from now we may all be wondering what all the hype regarding HTML5 was about as we are all excited about some new technology. Given that it takes approximately a year and a half for SAP/Sybase to release a new version of PowerBuilder, it's perhaps wise for them to not rely on one particular technological approach to solve a particular issue. I would like to see PowerBuilder 15 include HTML5 generation capabilities. I'm also thinking that for a number of reasons (immaturity of HTML5, less than 100% adoption of HTML5 capable browsers, inconsistencies of implementation of HTML5 between browser vendors) that PowerBuilder may need another non-HTML5 method of supporting web application development. Perhaps HTML5 with a fallback to Silverlight, or Silverlight with a fallback to HTML5 might be an option. Even if Microsoft does decide that 5 is the last version of Silverlight, it offers a viable alternative method of generating web-based line of business applications until HTML5 fully matures and the adoption rate for HTML5 capable browsers improves.

Those are my thoughts anyway. At least we can't say we don't live in interesting times.

More Stories By Bruce Armstrong

Bruce Armstrong is a development lead with Integrated Data Services (www.get-integrated.com). A charter member of TeamSybase, he has been using PowerBuilder since version 1.0.B. He was a contributing author to SYS-CON's PowerBuilder 4.0 Secrets of the Masters and the editor of SAMs' PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world. The next @ThingsExpo will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, California. Since its launch in 2008, Cloud Expo TV commercials have been aired and CNBC, Fox News Network, and Bloomberg TV. Please enjoy our 2014 commercial.
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Located in booth #314, the Bsquare team will present DataV demos and discuss how DataV will help customers put their data to work to improve business outcomes. DataV is unlocking new initiatives across a wide landscape of customers in industries such as industrial manufacturing, transportation, retail and mobile. The solution is designed to complement a new project start or help to enrich an existing machine investment.