PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development
||Author: Bruce Armstrong, Millard Brown|
List Price: $49.99
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Publisher: SAMS (25 July, 2003)
Sales Rank: 31,804
Average Customer Rating: 3 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 3 out of 5
PB9 Advanced C/S Development
The 2 main authors of this book are Bruce Armstrong and Millard F. Brown III. If you are readers of the PBDJ magazine you will probably be familiar with these names. Both have also been involved with previous PowerBuilder book releases, are members of TeamSybase and have presented at user conferences around the world. Other contributing authors include a list of well known PowerBuilder experts such as Dave Fish, Bill Green, John Olsen, Roy Kiesler et al. The credentials of all the authors and co-authors of this book read like a Who's Who in PowerBuilder.
There are numerous books now available on PowerBuilder - this one does not aim to compete with these but to plug the gap in contents covered. PowerBuilder 9 - Advanced Client/Server Development zeroes in on some of the new features in this version including PBNI (native interface), XML datawindows, reworking of the source control interface, improved IDE and automated application builds using OrcaScript. Other subjects covered include PFC, an in-depth look at database connectivity, advanced coding and DW techniques, 3rd party tools and OLE.
The user level of this book is Intermediate - Advanced. The back cover states that this book is aimed at developers who know and use PowerBuilder and are looking to maximize their productivity. I would say that about half of the book succeeds in its aim, covering familiar subjects such as datawindows but with more detail and giving a few tips and techniques; covering new PB9 subjects and giving some useful productivity tips on the IDE for example. The remainder of the book serves as a point of reference such as the 200 pages on database connectivity which would be very useful for users developing for multiple database platforms.
I would split the book into 3 main areas - an advanced look at existing features; an introduction to new PB9 features and a database connectivity reference.
The advanced look at existing features didn't uncover anything new for me but would serve as a useful reminder to someone who hasn't used PowerBuilder for a while. There are some good real life clear examples with supporting code and a few undocumented and therefore unsupported techniques.
The chapters on the new PB9 features would have been better if they had been more detailed. For example the chapter on XML datawindows assumes you know XML which is fair enough but it is a short and not very detailed chapter. In fact the PowerBuilder user guide provided with the product is much more detailed and useful than the chapter in this book. No tips or techniques are given in the chapter either. The chapter on the IDE and source control integration is useful especially if you are coming from PowerBuilder 7 and haven't used PowerBuilder 8.
The section on Database Connectivity is a useful reference point if you are developing for multiple database platforms but doesn't fit very well into the title of PowerBuilder 9 - Advanced Client Server Development. It does give a good amount of detail on an area that has previously not been covered particularly well in the past.
The writing style of the chapters vary because of the number of different authors. In general most of the chapters are written in a clear and concise manner with some good realistic examples. However some are a little too brief especially some of the new subjects areas such as XML Datawindows and OrcaScript. There is not enough detail and clear examples given for these new features.
If you haven't used PowerBuilder for a while or you are still using a version prior to Version 8 then you will find some useful information in this book, likewise if you are developing for multiple database platforms then the Database section will be very beneficial. I believe the book is more aimed at the intermediate level of knowledge rather than the advanced. Personally I wouldn't buy this book for myself because I wouldn't get enough new material from it that is not covered in the PowerBuilder User Guide.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Good for advanced beginner or journeyman level
If you are an advanced PB programmer you will not find much here unless you have been stuck in versions 6.5 (or maybe even 7 but less so) and earlier. The authors give a reasonable overview of the new IDE and source control integration. There is also discussion of the newer features such as Powerbuilder Native Interface, XML datawindows, command line deployment, and error handling. Over 200 pages are devoted to database connectivity which may be of interest if you support multiple platforms.
Aside from some minor factual errors and the occasional typo, the information and examples are concise and to the point (although many leave out even rudimentary error checking which is vital in any 'real' application).
I bought the book since there haven't been any 'real' PB books since version 7 and this one details the new IDE.
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