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Tuesday, June 25, 2013


** End of an Era **

PowerBuilder Homage

   Sadly, I have just learned that SAP have displaced some of the best PowerBuilder engineering resources that I have personally known since PB creator David Litwack introduced me to the initial team at PowerSoft. The following people have made a huge contribution to the PowerBuilder product over the past decade and should be recognized (IMHO) for their significant efforts in enhancing PowerBuilder. I should also mention that recent departures signal the end of any North American engineering resources now working on PowerBuilder.

Reed Shilts   The first person in my honour list goes to Reed Shilts, a recent departure from SAP engineering in Concord Massachusetts with a plethora of achievements in the PowerBuilder arena. I like to refer to Reed as Mr IDE as you can thank him for many of the productivity gains for the developer within the IDE such as AutoScript. Reed decided one day that PB classic needed such a feature and worked on prototype over a weekend to get the basic feature working. Of course today, we take auto-scripting for granted in PB Classic but it was the sole brainchild and initiative of this guy which brought the feature into play!
I was first introduced to Reed as the leader engineer on PocketBuilder which was PowerBuilder's first venture into the mobility world on the Windows CE / Pocket-PC operating system. This product was a huge success and went on to win many awards. Reed also was pivotal in developing the CORBA and COMM support in PowerBuilder, then on to the new PB.Net IDE which taps into the Visual Studio Shell. In all these things, Reed often took the lead in designing, developing and architecting these best-in-class features.

David Avera  The next person I would like to acknowledge is David Avera who I like to call Mr DataWindow. David took over many of the lead design and re-engineering roles of the DW object compiler from its originator (and my friend Kim Sheffield). David started out by adding the Stored Procedure and Remote DW update capabilities into PowerBuilder. He then went on to design and code the DW.Net product which was a plug-in for Visual Studio. He then followed that up with the now famous "Web Service DataWindow" feature - a feature that I use all the time (even with my new favourite product Appeon). His latest contributions to PowerBuilder include the WPF DataWindow used inside of PB.Net and its corresponding .Net related painter. David is no longer working on PB and has been reassigned to work on the SAP Afaria product.

All in all, both David and Reed have significantly contributed to the continued prowess of the PowerBuilder product over the past decade and deserve - IMHO - accolades for their outstanding work! I think that David Litwack and Kim Sheffield (the founding fathers of PB) would join me in saying that we (the PB community) appreciate your efforts on our behalf. Your exit from the PowerBuilder product scene is certainly going to be a loss for the entire PB ecosystem!

Gentlemen ... we (the real PB developers) salute you!

Regards ... Chris


  1. Good post Chris...
    Thanks guys! Your contributions are appreciated!
    Brett W

  2. I would like to add to Chris' blog that in building Appeon Mobile we carefully examined a number of IDE options. NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING, came close to PB. So while it was tempting to run to an open-source IDE like other mobile solutions we decided to stay with PB. This also had the added benefit of allowing us to focus all our engineering efforts on the actual runtime aspect. The result is virtually all the power and benefits of PB but for native mobile app development.

    With that said, I'd like to make a toast to Reed and David. Thank you for giving us such an easy-to-use IDE and the ever-so-powerful DataWindow. And not to steal the spotlight from Reed and David, but I'd also like to toast the current PowerBuilder team for helping us keep PB as a stable platform for Appeon Mobile. Cheers!