Novalys 2001 Worldwide Surveys Results

From December 2001 to July 2002, we carried out a worldwide survey about the use and the future use of PowerBuilder.

We would like to thank the 3400 respondants who represent a
101 countries!
We also would like to thank PBDJ, Just PB Info, PowerTimes and Sybase for their help

To receive regular information on PB by email, simply subscribe our free PowerBuilder Newsletter!

You will find below the analyse of the answers to the following questions:

1. How long will PowerBuilder be used in your company?
2. Type of PowerBuilder applications in 2002 (new or existing)?
3. How many developers will use PB in your company in 2002?
4. If you plan to stop using PB, which language(s) will replace it?
5. How much of the time do you use PB for Web Projects (now and in the future)?
6. As a developer, what is your opinion about PowerBuilder?
7. Origin of the developers who answered the survey
8. Some comments about PowerBuilder or Sybase...

1) How long will PowerBuilder be used in your company?

PowerBuilder is not dead! 5% of PowerBuilder users only do not plan on using PB anymore.

Most (79%) plan on using it for at least two more years !

The USA often have the lead over the rest of the world for technical choices. In this precise case, the forecasts of use of PowerBuilder are almost the same in the USA as in the other countries.


2) Type of PowerBuilder applications developed in 2002

All the developers who answered this survey work on existing applications.
PowerBuilder is now a mature tool it is not a surprise to learn that it will be used to support existing applications.

But 60 % of the respondants also plan on using PowerBuilder for new projects over the next two years.

3) How many developers will use PB in your company in 2002

The average PB project contains 12 programmers.

Over 50% of the teams contain between 4 and 20 developers.

PowerBuilder is still being employed for the "big" projects.

4) If you plan to stop using PB, which language(s) will replace it ?

Privileged technology to replace PowerBuilder is Java (45% of the answers).

Microsoft also ranks well also (30% of the answers) whereas other technologies only picked up a few percents.

5) How much of the time do you use PB for Web Projects? Now and in the future?

Despite the common beliefs, PowerBuilder is not limited to Client/Serveur developments :
- 20% of the users already use PB to develop Web applications.
- Over 50 % plan to use PB in the future for their Web applications !

Companies really intend to invest in PowerBuilder for this type of applications. Probably because PB is a profitable and proven technology.

It can be accounted for the fact that there was a market reaction to the first Java projects, the cost of which were higher than planned.

This initial feedback encourages companies to choose the most productive technology for each application



6) As a developer, what is your opinion about PowerBuilder?

         Please give a mark between 0 and 10 (10 for excellent)

Most are very happy with PowerBuilder : over 80% of the users gave it a mark higher than 7/10.

The average mark is close to 8/10.

7) Origin of the developers who answered the survey

People coming from 101 different countries answered this survey !

As expected, American developers are widely represented in this survey.

The high number of French developers who answered this survey is due to the French origin of Novalys more than to the number of developers using PB in France.

Country Answers   Country Answers
USA
France
Canada
India
Belgium
Germany
United Kingdom
Australia
China
Russia
Norway
Spain
Austria
Italy
Hong Kong
The Netherlands
Brazil
Singapore
Mexico
Switzerland
Denmark Poland
Sweden
Madras
Turkey
United Arab Emirates South Africa
Pakistan
Luxembourg
Israel
Indonesia
Philippines
Argentina
Greece
Egypt
Colombia
Peru
Taiwan
Saudi Arabia
New Zealand
Korea
Slovenia
Costa Rica
Cyprus
Schweiz
Ireland
Czech Republic
Venezuela
Guatemala
1200
265
219
139
115
83
73
73
48
43
43
42
39
36
36
34
30
29
28
25
25
25
24
23
22
21
21
19
19
18
18
17
15
15
14
14
14
12
11
11
11
10
9
9
9
9
8
8
  Chile
Thailand
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Finland
Kuwait
Ukraine
Republic of Belarus
Hungary
Lebanon
Ecuador
Oman
Uzbekistan
Nigeria
Abu Dhabi
Suisse
Morocco
Canary Islands
Yugoslavia
El Salvador
Lithuania
Austrias
Croatia
Cameroon
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Bahrain
Gabon
Iceland
Jamaica
Vietnam
Bolivia
Mauritius
Dominican Republic
Malta
Yemen
Scotland
Guam
Cayman Islands
Armenia
Algeria
Virgin Islands
Tanzania
Panama
Republic of Moldova
Cote d'Ivoire
Sri Lanka
Estonia
Iran
8
7
7
6
5
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
4
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

1
1
1
1
      Total 3182

8) Some comments about PowerBuilder and Sybase...

PB is doing a good job in Client Server and getting into 3 tier in a very effective manner. Look forward to its future.
Amazing for Datawindow, but as far as building a shrink-wrapped application, PB is terrible.
I have used FoxPro, VB, and Java somewhat. PB provides the best development environment for robust applications.
What happens with Powerbuilder .NET?
The datawindow, and specificaly the web datawindow is fantastic!
I really love PB and hope to be able to use my skills to find another job when I move in the new year..Feel like a bit of a dying breed but for my money it's the best clien-server development tool/environment that has ever existed..A shame if it ends up in a cul-de-sac of maintaining legacy code, that said for some reason it seems to provide a solid base for learning other OO languages for those that have to jump ship, my time spent with it has certainly not been wasted.
I was very encouraged by the Sybase's stated commitment (at TechWave 2001) to the ongoing development of PowerBuilder as a development environment for the future. I think it's still the best tool around for doing DB apps. And the new web additions are great. The only real drawback I know of is that we must deploy the huge run-time DLLs with all our apps.
We're still on PB 6.5 and are planning to goto PB 8 in the new year.
I love using PB as I loved using Clipper before that. I'm getting out as soon as I can. The handwriting is on the wall.
We are currently using PB 6.5 and are having to decide if to upgrade or move our current applications to other technology. We would prefer to stay with PB but we don't know if the upgrade will be smooth since we use a base library. Also the company is leaning more towards using web technology, so they are investing some time in finding a tool that is flexible.
PB is a very Nice tool, but not so flexible as we need
PowerBuilder is Excellent!
PB is a good tool to develop database applications but have restriction to deployment
It's a pity that Sybase didn't find the way to put PowerBuilder in Internet in a reasonable way
PB 8 is a lot better than 7 but it is still not acceptable as a development tool in terms of stability. It is still a long way behind in terms of technology as well.
Easy, but tough to maintain. Badly solved appl. internationalisation support. Badly solved multi db usage. (dw doesn't cover differences between databases).
It's a good tool but I think as using and following the right standards are important.
Tighter integration with web technology would give PB a new lease of life!
PB was stabilizing all the way up to version 7.0, when they shook the guts out of it.
The datawindow and pipeline tools are the biggest assets of Powerbuilder.
Powerbuilder was and still is a good CS tool. It probably is a good web tool too, however Sybase's lack of adequate promotion of the tool has led to it's downfall. Infomaker is also a superior reporting tool with the same problem.
I am in software Development Company (more than 8000 people working on various projects/platforms) that is why I think we get real picture and currently there are not a single project running on PB. Some project required PB since they want to convert on java.
I think PB is 100 times better than VB but for whatever the reason (marketing, etc) it does not get much exposure. That's sad.
PowerBuilder is used mostly for maintaining legacy applications, most new Power builder apps are rewrites of poorly functioning business apps. For the long term, Oracle and .net will be the strategic targets as soon as the .net technology proves itself. The corporation is focusing on the major players, MS, IBM, and Oracle. Sybase is one too many technologies to support
More information on how to take existing PB apps to the net. How to use PB with existing hardware/software (SQL, IIS, etc.) and be internet friendly. We don't really want to buy more software. Currently we develop for the internet via ASP. This is what will determine if we stay with PB.
The best tool I've ever seen, but in web development, we've been inclined to follow JSP tecnology usin Dream Weaver Ultra Dev wich has a much better design capabilities.
The largest problem with PB is the lack of marketing by Sybase.
Using PowerBuilder is hard to: Implement SCM policy Perform white box testing Deploy distributed application, Jaguar is expensive ( PB 8 ) PowerBuilder is good for: Client/Server development because of datawindows feature.
PowerBuilder is great. The main question from our clients has been whether PB/Sybase will be around in the coming years. Another concern is whether PB can successfully be utilized on the web. These are major concerns for us since our clients are in the energy industry world wide.
PowerBuilder is an excellent and very productive tool once you learn how to use it. For us, it is easy to continue using it rather than retraining everyone.
Somewhat clumsy. Not happy with lack of support from Sybase. PFC creates larger than necessary application.
It has some nice features but we are primarily a Microsoft shop and PB doesn't fit as well as Microsoft developer tools. I have the impression that PB isn't being actively enhanced to keep up with the competition.
Great idea, datawindows and great and powerful. New web stuff Sybase marketing leaves much to be desired! So too does its support! Decent books and training are limited.
I have been using PB since version 4. I currently have applications running on version 6.5.1. I am also doing new development in this version. The reason we have not moved to versin 7 or 8 is because of the learning curve that would be involved in adjusting to the new GUI. We have no time. Currently we are not developing any applications for the internet, but we will soon need to start integrating the current applications with the web. At that time we will probably move to version 7 or 8. I am also very skeptical after reading problems that users have had after migrating to version 7 and 8. They cannot find certain features, some things stop working, etc. I love version 6.5.1, and I will continue using it as long as I can.
Critical for us. Unix versions bugged.
I do not understand the reason of downfall of PowerBuilder as a client/server tool why people are drifting away while VB takes more building time and testing. I think still need improvement on Web. my manager (non-programming expert) fear that Sybase will close and there will be no support in future. Second problem I noticed is the VB programmers try to dominate with the idea which I mentioned above.
PB had critical mass but lost it. Many good features, but industry support is in decline.
PowerBuilder is the tool of choice when developing a small database utility on a windows environment when it is needed to be deployed to non programming staff because of the speed with which it can be deployed. We use a number of other development tools Java, Visual C++, perl, to name a few as about 30% of the work is done on both Unix and Windows (currently NT4).
Management is being pulled by the market and marketing without consideration of what is the best solution. I wish Sybase would do a better job of marketing PB. Of course better would mean poor based on current efforts of non-existant. I guess I am resistant to change until I see something better.
I hope they continue to improve and enhance this product. We have used it since version 3.
Big pain: Foreign language version (runtine) does not follow major "Cn" release. Ex: Not yet a French version for PB 7.0.3 C3 (build 10077).
PowerBuilder is getting caught up in the whole internet hoopla and is forgetting what they do best. That is Client Server and flexability to run on different platforms. While Sybase I'm sure is a good company they've forgotten what Powerbuilder does best and is allowing other companies to even steal that away from them(i.e. oracle). A couple more suggestion to Powerbuilder. Design the software to be able to run fast from a network share rather than having to be deployed to every computer. Secondly, Design an interface where the datawindows do not have to be deployed through code but rather through a backend database(more flexible).
Sybase is not doing good enogh marketing with PB.
PB8 needs to succeed where PB7 failed miserably. Sybase will lose its developer base if PB8 is not a solid, stable product immediately. With an additional boost to its Web-creation capability, it could be a development force in many large organizations.
I have been using PB versions 7.0 to 7.03 and plan to start using PB 8.0. I have used Visual Basic and Visual C++ in the past. What drives me nuts about PB is the instability of the IDE. I loose a fair amount of time due to PB crashing in the programming environment, especially dealing with datawindows.
Too bad Sybase doesn't push more PB... It's an excellent product... We still developp Client/Server for some critical application. Web is not the end of the world!
Go PB!
The Best Client/Server Tool Different new bugs in each release leading to lost productivity due to workarounds. Crash too often without any obvious pattern or behavior. Needs callback functionality.
With the features of PB 9 (support of XML and more web features), I am sure all PB developers and PB houses will be at a great advantage.
An excellent program for client/server development although some areas still need improvement (arrays, datawindow speed, etc.). The last time I tried developing a web aplication, it was cumbersome, confusing and expensive.
It is the best Client/Server and N-tier development tool I have used. I can not imagine using anything else. Once I get someone trained in PB, they develope applications much faster than my VB programmers.
Sybase needs to consider PowerBuilder on UNIX again. For business application development not needing internet interface, it is hard to find anything to compete with PB. 70% of the businesses in the US are small businesses and 90% of them do not use the internet.
Very frustrating to see all app dev tools focusing so much on WEB dev, when I believe that client/server apps are more at the heart of Information Systems. Not all applications need a shopping cart. Of course, the power of XML and newer technologies need to be incorporated, but I do not program WEB apps. I may expose data to the WEB. I develop apps to improve upon our in-house management of data and workflows.
Sybase is not doing a good job of marketing Powerbuilder. The number of Powerbuilder jobs is declining. As a developer, I need to make sure my programming skills are marketable so I try to work on other technologies as well. We had one recent project where we make the decision for the techonology and chose Java instead of Powerbuilder for that very reason.