Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Shelly Palmer, Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi

Related Topics: PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder: Article

New Features in PowerBuilder 11.5 – Part 2

A look at the improvements in GUI functionality

This is the second part of an ongoing series about the new features that were added in PowerBuilder 11.5. In the first part, we looked at the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) and the impact it had on developers. In this part, we're going to look at a number of the improvements in GUI functionality. We'll start that by comparing a couple of screenshots of images in DataWindows (Figure 1 and Figure 2) that demonstrate a number of these new functions.

Support for PNG Files
The first thing you may notice is that the image type (in both images) is a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) file. The PNG file format was introduced to overcome limitations of the GIF file format, most notably:

  • The compression algorithm used in GIF files is patented.
  • GIF images are limited to a 256 color depth

PNG images actually provide greater compression than GIF and provide better support for transparency. The main advantage that GIF maintains is support for animation. PNG also has advantages over JPG in that it has lossless compression and transparency support. JPG was particularly designed for photographs, and so PNG tends to render better with non-photographic material (e.g., line art, text).

PowerBuilder 11.5 adds support for PNG files in DataWindow picture controls and in standard Picture controls as well as menus, treeview controls, and toolbars.

Transparency Support
In Figure 1, you'll also notice the "Make Color Transparent" option on the popup menu. This allows you to support transparency when the underlying image format doesn't support transparency, or when the picture you're using isn't transparent in the region you want it to be.  The latter is the case here, as the background of this PNG file has been set to black. I right clicked on the background, chose "Make Color Transparent" and every occurrence of that color in the image was re-rendered as transparent.

You can also set the color manually through the Transparent Color option you see on the property tab on the right of Figure 1, or at runtime by manipulating that property.  You'll also notice the Transparency Setting  on the right property tab of Figure 1. That option is unrelated to the Transparent Color option, what it controls is the opacity of the entire image.  Setting it higher make it possible to see the control or window background behind the picture through the picture.

Gradient/Picture Backgrounds
You'll notice in Figure 2 that now that the picture has a transparent background, what is showing through is a gradient color, not a solid background. That's because PowerBuilder 11.5 adds support for specifying a gradient or picture background for the DataWindow bands. The new Brush Mode property you can see in Figure 2 controls the background, and you have an option between Solid (old style), 5 different gradient styles or the Picture option. For both Gradients and Picture backgrounds, there is a section each of the Background properties tab for controlling a wide variety of options for how they are displayed (see Figure 3 and Figure 4). In fact, it's a bit confusing at first because those areas of the property pane appear continuously, no matter which option you have selected for the Brush Mode.  But you will only see the options that you have specified in the Gradient section applied if you pick one of the Gradient brush styles, and similarily none of the Picture properties settings have any effect until you select a Picture brush style.

Tooltips
Take a look at the properties pane in Figure 5, and you'll see the new Tooltips options for DataWindow controls. Figure 6 shows what the tooltip looks like at runtime. You'll notice that you have a lot of control over how the tooltip displays through the properties, all of which are adjustable via runtime properties as well. Note also how many of them support expressions, as indicated by the small equals sign button to the right of the property. Any property with such an icon can be specified through an expression, so that the attribute can be dynamically driven by data within the DataWindow.

Improved 3D Rendering of Graphs
Figure 7 and Figure 8 help illustrate the next new feature, improved 3D rendering of graphs. The improvement is implemented through DirectX, so there are some runtime ramifications.  One of them is that you'll need to install DirectX on the development machine and ensure that it's also available on the machines you are deploying to.  For the development machine, Sybase provides an installer for DirectX in the Program Files\Sybase\Shared\PowerBuilder\dxre directory.  It also means that some of your older machine may not have graphics cards capable of supporting the new graph styles.  Fortunately, when that is the case the display degrades gracefully to the previous 3D format.

Rich Text Edit Control
Last but not least, PowerBuilder 11.5 introduces a new edit style called the Rich Text Edit style (see Figure 9). No longer will you have to use SELECTBLOB/UPDATEBLOB and a separate RichText control to display rich text to the end user. You can select textual data (up to the limits imposed by your database driver) in the normal datawindow select and allow the user to edit it and store it in RTF format.

Some observations.  First, see Figure 10, which shows the edit style selected in the DataWindow painter.  Note that you don't have a lot of the options for the edit style that you do for the normal Rich Text windows control.

The second, shown in Figure 11, is a Rich Text Edit Style related property that appears for the DataWIndow Control, not the DataWindow Object.  The RichText Toolbar Activiation Mode determine when the toolbar for the edit control appears.  The choices are essentially:

  • Always - display the toolbar all the time, whether the rich text edit column has focus or not
  • On Edit - only display the toolbar when the rich text edit column has focus
  • Never - don't display the toolbar, even when the rich text edit column has focus

The last option is useful either when you don't have room to show the toolbar, or if you want to implement your own toolbar. The latter is possible because of a number of methods that have been added to the DataWindow that allow you to interact with the rich text edit masked column. This option would be the path you might take in order to show a fixed toolbar. Note in Figure 7 that the toolbar is floating. There is currently no option in the rich edit control style to make the toolbar fixed to the top of the edit area. Instead, the toolbar will remember the last location it was displayed at, and the end-user can move it around as needed when it's visible.

One caveat mentioned earlier bears repeating. The rich column edit style is limited to the amount of text that your target database allows you to select in a normal SQL statement.  For some databases, this can be a rather small amount compared to the amount of data required for RTF data. RTF has a very verbose syntax.  The single paragraph shown in Figure 9 required over 40K of RTF formatted data.  When a single bitmap was included, the size mushroomed to over 400K. Currently you either need to work with a database that allows direct access to very large text data fields, or you'll need to place tight limits on the amount of data used.  Perhaps future enhancements in this area will address this limitation.

That's all for Part Two. Watch for Part Three, where we'll cover even more new functionality.

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
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.