Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Dynatrace Blog, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Jnan Dash, Liz McMillan

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
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services ...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, 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. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of 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, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems 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. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase 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. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile 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. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy 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. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics 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. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of 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. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.