Sybase updates app server and PowerBuilder

Just when some observers thought its development muscles had gotten flabby, enterprise infrastructure company Sybase flexed its biceps at its TechWave User Training and Solutions Conference by announcing the first phase of the beta version of PowerBuilder 9.0 and an open application server with J2EE 1.3 compatibility.

With enhancements for XML, Java Server Pages and support for third-party application servers such as BEA's WebLogic and IBM's WebSphere, PowerBuilder 9.0 will allow developers to build for distributed, Web and client/server environments. The product can import data directly from an XML document and save data that was retrieved from any data source as a fully customized XML document.

Sybase Enterprise Application Server (EAServer) 4.1 is an app server with J2EE compatibility for the AIX and HP-UX development platforms. Because the app server can fully integrate J2EE 1.3 and secure enterprise Web services with C/C++, PowerBuilder and COM, Tom Murphy, senior program director at Meta Group, calls EAServer 4.1 'a universal server giving companies the ability to integrate their heterogeneous component models.'

EAServer 4.1 speeds the development of service-oriented applications through the inclusion of a Web Services Toolkit (including SOAP, UDDI, WSDL) -- which allows developers to leverage business logic in Java as a Web service -- and Message Bridge for Java, which jumpstarts development with a 'no-code' XML-Java solution, freeing developers to focus on business logic in Java.

According to Murphy, Sybase has of late been lacking strength in the developer space. 'They had a lackluster showing in Java development tools and PowerBuilder has been a bit in limbo,' he said. However, he noted, PowerBuilder 9.0, EAServer 4.1 and other announcements such as the PocketBuilder plug-in to PowerBuilder and continuing improvements to PowerDesigner, should change that impression. Earlier this year, Sybase signed an agreement to resell Borland's JBuilder toolset while phasing out the internally developed PowerJ Java development tool.

One key to Sybase's success, said Murphy, will be 'the ability to bridge the world of Microsoft and the world of Java; most enterprises are expected to have both environments in production and will need ways to bridge and manage components.' Accordingly, future PowerBuilder 9.0 beta products will support the Microsoft .NET framework through Web services, according to Sybase officials.

For more on app servers and Web services, please go to 'Open-source servers today' at  and 'Web services: The next big thing?' at


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