Welcome!

Silverlight Authors: Steven Mandel, Gerardo A Dada, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Yeshim Deniz, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, 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
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...