There's a reason why software developers like Microsoft update the look of
their applications every two years. It shows the consumer that something has
changed and therefore they need to upgrade, at least that's my opinion.
If this is true, I can only presume that presentation plays a vital role in
the sale of commercial applications. If you're not writing commercial
applications, then it's just a cool thing to do.
Unfortunately, most developers are usually confined to creating applications
with the look provided by the development tool they're using. Fortunately for
us developers, some people don't like this kind of confinement.
We all know who Aart Onkenhout is: the creator of CoolMenu. For those who are
unaware, CoolMenu is a utility that allows us to update the look of the menus
in our applications by adding color and bitmaps. It also provides style
options: XP a... (more)
If you've read any of my past articles, you know that I love a good
challenge, a challenge that really gets me thinking and ultimately ends up
teaching me something. One thing I always wanted to do was create dockable
windows using pure PowerScript. I held off from doing this for some time
because of the almost overwhelming complexity that was inherent with this
type of control. Seeing as this would be the perfect test of my skills, I
motivated myself to do it.
The first thing I had to do before I started was investigate an existing
control so that I could record proper behavior... (more)
PowerBuilder contains so many features and capabilities that it's hard to
fully understand and learn all of them when you're caught up in the "daily
grind." A good way to deal with this is to create a skill-developing
challenge. In most cases, I try to do something that I figure can't be done
My latest challenge was to create an XP style listbar similar to the one in
the Windows XP Control Panel (see Figure 1). I think it's a sharp-looking
control that provides an efficient way to navigate an application. Could it
be done in PowerBuilder? With enough time and cr... (more)
PowerBuilder offers some dynamic querying capabilities. For simple scenarios
it works quite well. But what if your scenario isn't simple? What if you
wanted to write a database-querying tool that provides stored procedure
compilation, ShowPlan display, or the execution of large complicated batch
I was writing a database-querying tool that was destined to work against our
ASE database (and ODBC connections but, that's a whole different article). At
first I tried to use the PowerBuilder dynamic SQL functions but found it to
be very limiting. That solution was too simple a... (more)
One of the biggest complaints I hear about PowerBuilder is how the
applications developed with it end up looking old and outdated. PowerBuilder
allows developers to create complicated, robust, and efficient business
applications. What it doesn't do is offer an effective presentation.
Sometimes lackluster presentation can hurt an application's marketability.
Unfortunate as it is, the look of the application is what gives users their
first impression. An old-looking application just won't impress.
What to Do About It...
The first option would be to get your hands on some third-party... (more)