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Friday, December 21, 2012

ISUG Name Change

** Hot News **

 ISUG Changes its Name!

   At the ISUG Annual General Meeting on December 11th, the membership approved changing the legal name from the "International Sybase User Group" to the "Independent SAP Technical User Group".

  The new name will be officially effective once all the necessary legal paperwork has been filed, but you will begin to see changes on their website over the next two weeks as the staff and board of directors move as quickly as possible to implement this change.  Online they will be known as ISUG-Tech – which keeps the history of ISUG as well as emphasizing their technical nature.

  The new ISUG entity's mission will remain the same but changing the "Sybase" with "SAP" will align the group with all things SAP (including Sybase products) and cater to the needs of their members, the technical community.

  For more information on this name and focus change, please visit the ISUG website (click here).

Regards ... Chris

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Appeon Mobile - MDI

** Appeon Mobile Beta 1.0 News **

Appeon Mobile Stays True to MDI

    The Multiple Document Interface is alive and well on the iPad thanks to Appeon Mobile's implementation of true PowerBuilder "feature for feature" support! The MDI interface became a standard from the onset of MS-Windows 3.1 and began its life in the PowerBuilder realm since version 2.0. The business community embraced the interface as it has a natural support for allowing users to compare similar pieces of information side by side, track multiple units of open work and arrange / locate these work units to suite the processing needs & flow.

Example of Cascade arrangement request.

    When Sybase was building their WebForms feature support for PowerBuilder, they had the option to implement the MDI interface GUI standard. In fact, I saw a working version in the early days of PB 11.0 Alpha that implemented the MDI interface. However, between the Alpha release and the official Beta - Sybase dropped MDI support and went with the multi-tabpage GUI look and feel. During the Beta for PB 11.0 many testers complained about the lack of MDI support. Since PB 11.0's production release, even many business users I have spoken to have rejected the Webform's feature set because of the lack of MDI support in the web browser. Again, for the main reason of not being able to see two similar data entity's side-by-side.

Example of a "Tile Horizontal" request.

    In the PocketBuilder (PK) days on Windows Mobile O/S, the MDI look & feel was not supported by the native operating system - thus PK did not support MDI for that reason. However, I was able to emulate the MDI feature set in my STD Foundation Class framework. The framework was used in many PK applications and the feedback I received on having the MDI features enabled in their PK applications was very positive!

Appeon Mobile extends the "Window" menu pull-down list of active sheets!

  The Appeon Mobile system displays the active open sheet window's title text from the "System Icon" of the Appeon Mobile operating shell. The Window list displays the MDI Frame window title first and then each open sheet (child MDI window) in successive order as they were opened. This implementation allows the iOS application user to navigate to any active sheet in any order. The application user may also close or bring background MDI child windows to the foreground from this feature as well.

Example of MDI Toolbar handling in Appeon Mobile

   Any MDI application may utilize a toolbar on the MDI Frame window and also another toolbar on any active MDI Child window as well. A native MS-Windows MDI application will always display the MDI frame and active Child toolbars in sequence. The Appeon Mobile implementation displays a partial representation of the first toolbar on the right side of the main application title (like a preview) and then displays the full toolbar contents when the user taps on the toolbar ">;" activation symbol. As the iOS application user changes the active MDI Child window, the Appeon Mobile changes the lower toolbar icons to suite just like its genuine MS-Window's counter-part.

Example of a "Tile Vertical" request.
Example of drop-down Menu support in Appeon Mobile

  Besides the full support for tiling the MDI child windows horizontally, vertically or cascaded - Appeon Mobile supports full drop(pull) down menu support from the Menu Icon on the Appeon Mobile application. The menu that drops follows proper MDI rules in that the MDI Frame's menu drops when the "Menu" icon is tapped if only the MDI frame is present. If an MDI Child is open, the Menu Icon displays the MDI Child's menu when tapped and this changes as each open MDI Child window is re-activated.
Example of a dialog's Control Menu implementation in Appeon Mobile

   Each MDI Child or even Response / Pop-Up window shows a Control Menu on each MDI Child's top right-hand side. Tapping this area allows the Appeon Mobile application to present the standard Minimize, Maximize or Close options that real MDI appications on MS-Windows have always supported. The same feature set is fully supported by the Appeon Mobile application and even allows the iOS user to "Restore" the MDI Child windows size when is a Minimized or Maximized state.

  Like Appeon Mobile, Appeon Web implements the full MDI feature set inside your Web Browser - eclipsing in my opinion - the native PB Webform application just in the MDI support alone. Appeon Web though takes your PB application's web experience far beyond what the Webform's features support for a true proper business user experince. Its so refreshing to see that Appeon Coporation is also taking this attention to detail approach in their iOS application design and support as well.

  Well done Appeon!

Note: you can always implement the multi-tabpage look and feel in your Appeon Mobile or Appeon Web application as well. The Appeon product is nice in that it does not force the PowerBuilder developer to a particular user interface pattern. Instead, it allows the PB developer to design the web or mobile applciation to suite their business user's needs!

Regards ... Chris

Friday, December 14, 2012

PowerBuilder Mobile

Appeon Mobile Beta 1.0

First 48 Hours

December 14, 2012

     Well, its been a real "adrenaline rush" for me participating in the original Appeon Mobile Alpha and now first official Appeon Mobile Beta 1.0 for approximately only 48 hours now. Its amazing to see how far Appeon has come in just a few weeks between the Alpha release that I first saw in November to what I see now in Beta 1.0! I am so excited, that I thought I would share with you some of my experiences - since I have been actually able to build example applications, deploy existing PB applications and even better yet, get my Software Tool & Die Foundation Class library and its associated applications deployed and running on a real iPad!

      First of all though, while the PB application do work well ... its would be advantageous to consider some of these best pratices when building or refactoring a PB applciation for the mbile space. here are some thoughts on the subject:

Fingers vs. Mouse

iOS-based devices mainly use the human finger for input; desktop computers mainly use a mouse for input. Designing a user interface for interaction with the finger is very different than designing for mouse.

    First of all, you would need to design larger UI controls for a finger than you would for a mouse pointer in the desktop environment. For example, iOS recommends the comfortable minimum size of a tappable target is 44 x 44 points, which is approximately 128 x 128 PBUs.

    Secondly, a mouse can have a hover state, so tool tips and other roll-over effects can be used in the desktop application. Besides that, a mouse can have a right mouse button, so right-click popup menu can be easily supported. However, these design elements are less natural on an iOS application.

Virtual keyboard vs. real keyboard

A desktop application can take advantage of a real keyboard to help people type fast and correctly, and enable shortcut key functionalities, while an iOS application mainly uses a virtual keyboard which takes up the precious screen space, and is typo-prone, therefore, you should avoid using the virtual keyboard whenever possible, and try to design the user interface for selection rather than for typing, for example, use a ListBox, TrackBar, or spin control to replace a text field.

Screen Size

Compared to desktop applications, iOS applications are running on a more compact screen, therefore, their window size must be smaller, while the UI controls must be large enough to be easily tapped. This means that only the primary functionalities can be displayed at the screen at a time, the secondary functionalities should be hidden. This requires you to carefully design the application structure, the user interface, and the window navigation, especially for smartphones such as iPhone.

Orientation Change

Device orientation can change in iOS mobile device and people often expect to use their iOS-based devices in any orientation, therefore, you will need to consider how to support orientation change when you design the application.

Memory management

Memory is more tightly constrained for iOS-based device than it is for desktop computers. Besides that, iOS does not support garbage collection. Therefore, whenever possible, you should release objects directly rather than auto release them.


Fonts used in the iOS application and the PB application are not exactly the same. You can choose from the fonts that commonly exist in both the iOS application and the PB application, such as Arial (recommended font), Courier New, Euphemia, Georgia, Trebuchet MS, Verdana, Times New Roman, etc. Arial is the most recommended font, because it looks very similar to the iOS default font Helvetica. If you choose a font that is available in the PB application but not available in the iOS application, the font will also be mapped to Helvetica automatically at runtime. For the mapping rules, please see Control font.


The RGB color used in the PB application will be displayed as the exact same RGB color in the iOS application at run-time. But the system colors may not, because the Windows system colors (such as ButtonFace) are different from the iOS system colors. If you have used or intend to use the system colors in the application, you may notice there are minor differences.

   For more information on designing proper iOS applciations, please read the Apple Design Guide's "iOS Human Design Guidelines"

  For those who would like to join the Appeon Mobile beta program, please follow this link for more information on this great oppoertunity!

  If you are in the Appeon Mobile beta program and would like to try my STD Foundation Class library for building exceptional GUI and high-performance / low-foot print applications for Appeon Mobile - please check out the SourceForge home (tip: select "All Files" and then navigate to the Appeon Mobile section).

Regards ... Chris


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Appeon Mobile - Beta 1.0

** Hot News **

Appeon Mobile Beta 1.0 Has Been Officially Launched!

   Appeon Corporation is excited to announce that Appeon Mobile Beta 1.0 has been officially launched. If you want to test Appeon Mobile Beta, please sign up by following this link (click here). Once you’re confirmed as participant in Appeon Mobile Beta program, Appeon will assign an account to you for downloading the product.

Regards ... Chris
PS: I was on the Alpha ... you really need to try this "kool" new software!   :-)