Novalys 2003 Worldwide Surveys Results


In 2003, a worldwide survey was carried out by Novalys about the current and future use of PowerBuilder.

These are the final results.

We would like to thank the 3100 people, who answered this survey from more than 100 countries.

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2003 Worldwide Survey Results
  You will find below the analysis of the answers to the following questions:
  1 . How long will PowerBuilder be used in your company ?
2 . In 2003, will PowerBuilder be used to develop or maintain applications?
3 . How many developers will use PB in your company in 2004 ? (approximately)
4 . Which PB version do you currently use?
5 . In 2003, do you plan to migrate toward a more recent PB version?
6 . Which other technologies is (or will be) used in your company?
7 . Do you use PB to develop your Web Applications?
8 . As a developer, what is your opinion about PowerBuilder?
9 . Countries and Comments
  1) How long will PowerBuilder be used in your company ?

Most of the people who answered (83%) plan on using PowerBuilder for 2 years or more than 2 years! This statistic has increased by 4 points from last year's survey (79%).

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

Few users declare not to use PowerBuilder anymore: the developers who answered this survey are those who go on using PowerBuilder...

PowerBuilder use in 2003


PowerBuilder use in 2003 in USA
  2) In 2003, will PowerBuilder be used to develop or maintain applications?

In last year's survey, every developer mentioned they were working on existing applications. PowerBuilder is now a mature tool it was not a surprise to learn that it was used to support existing applications.

This year the results are very different. 6% of the participant work on NEW applications ONLY. They do not have any existing PB applications at all. Many applications have therefore been started with PowerBuilder this year.

It is important to notice that 58% of the respondants use PB for both existing and new applications which means they continue to rely on PowerBuilder.

PowerBuilder apps type
see 2002 results
  3) How many developers will use PB in your company in 2004 ?(approximately)
The average PB project contains 8.4 developers.

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

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

The results are close to last year's
PowerBuilder team size
see 2002 results
  4) Which PB version do you currently use?

Please note the survey includes PB9 in a small proportion as this version was not yet available at the beginning of 2003.

Therefore it is not a surprise to see PB8 as the most frequently used version.
28% of the developers work with PB7 and 21% of them work with an older version than PB7 (which isn't supported by Sybase anymore).

  5) In 2003, do you plan to migrate toward a more recent PB version?

Moreover 49% of the teams plan to migrate to a more recent version of PowerBuilder in 2003, which confirms their investment in PowerBuilder.

Note concerning PB9: PB9, launched in Q2, was starting to be used during the second semester of 2003. Already 21% of the survey participants during the last 6 months of 2003 are equipped with this new version. (8% is the ratio of PB9 users over12 months).
Current PowerBuilder version

PowerBuilder Update in 2003
  6) Which other technologies is (or will be) used in your company?

It is important to notice first of all that there are many more answers to this question this year; companies have a better assessment of their technical tendencies. They plan to use several tools simultaneously. Their preferance remains with Java (52% of answers).

The statistics concerning Microsoft have increased meaningfully (from 30% to 47%) since 2002. These results clearly illustrate Microsoft's investment in the .NET technology.

PowerBuilder replacement
see 2002 results
  7) Do you use PB to develop your Web Applications?

Surprise! The use of PowerBuilder is not limited to Client/Serveur developments:
- 19% of the users already use PowerBuilder to develop their web applications.
- 50 % of the users plan to develop some of their web applications, if not all of them, with PowerBuilder in the future!

PowerBuilder in web project

see 2002 results
PowerBuilder in web project in the future  
The use of PowerBuilder in 2003 shows a real wish to invest in PowerBuilder (a mastered and profitable technology), probably justified by mixed feelings towards new technologies such as Java.
  8) As a developer, what is your opinion about PowerBuilder ?
PowerBuilder is an excellent tool. Users are satisfied with it just like last year: the average mark is around 8/10 and 82% of the users gave it a mark higher than 7/10.

In the 2003 results, all the sections increased:
- 23% gave PowerBuilder the highest mark (between 9/10 and 10/10) against 18% last year
- only 18% marked the product under 6/10 (against 17% in 2002).
PowerBuilder developpers opinion about PowerBuilder
  9) Countries and Comments
People from 107 different countries answered this survey!

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

The high number of French developers answering this survey is due to the French origin of Novalys more than to the number of developers using PowerBuilder in France.
Origins of PowerBuilder developers

see 2002 results
Geographical origin of the answers :
Country Total
USA 992
France 201
India 169
Canada 145
Germany 134
United Kingdom 94
Australia 84
Belgium 83
Italy 82
Spain 77
Chine 54
Austria 46
Switzerland 43
Norway 34
Mexico 32
The Netherlands 30
Peru 29
Philippines 28
Brazil 28
Sweden 26
Israel 24
Venezuela 23
Hong Kong 23
Russia 22
United Arab Emirates 21
Denmark 20
Singapore 19
Colombia 19
Argentina 19
Madras 18
Chile 17
South Africa 17
Polond 17
Taiwan 15
Saudi Arabia 15
Egypt 14
Indonesia 13
Greece 13
Thailand 12
New Zeland 12
Costa Rica 11
Portugal 11
Luxembourg 11
Turkey 10
Ecuador 10
Guatemala 10
Korea 10
Pakistan 9
Czech Republic 8


Cyprus 7
Japan 6
Kuwait 6
Country Total
Yugoslavia 6
Lebanon 6
Uruguay 5
Finland 5
Abu Dhabi 5
Ukraine 5
Slovenia 4
Lithuania 4
Romania 3
Nigeria 3
El Salvador 3
Hungary 3
Morocco 3
Paraguay 3
Sri Lanka 3
Virgin Island 3
Bulgari 3
Oman 3
Vietnam 3
Honduras 2
Malta 2
Bolivia 2
Syria 2
Jamaica 2
Dominican Republic 2
Tunisia 2
Senegal 2
Cameroon 2
Armenia 2
Channel Islands 1
Iran 1
Bahrain 1
Canary Island 1
Uzbekistan 1
Guyana 1
Scotland 1
Kenya 1
Jordan 1
Gabon 1
Martinique 1
Algeria 1
Dubai 1
Yemen 1
Antigua and Barbuda 1
Burkina Faso 1
New Caledonia 1
Guadeloupe 1
Bermude 1
Bosnia and
Latvia 1
Bangladesh 1
No Answer 99
Total 3095
Some Comments about PowerBuilder and Sybase...
690 respondants added a comment.
You can read some of them in English, Spanish and French.


Considero un producto bastante bueno para el desarrollo de nuevas aplicaciones
El PowerBuilder es muy bueno SOLO para desarrollar aplicaciones cliente/servidor.
esta chido
Excelente Herramienta de Trabajo. Confiable y muy didctica.
Falta publicidad a Pb! Sus excelencias son conocidas por muy pocos... y si la mayoria de desarrollos se realizan En .net tendremos que cambiar o ir al paro, por mucho que nos pese abandonar el Pb
La herramienta para nosotros resulta ser: Positiva, Robusta, Confiable, Flexible y de Reutilizable...
La integracin de PowerBuilder con la plataforma web a traves de nuevos componentes en PB, herramientas de Sybase me parece muy buena, pero me preocupa la dependecia que genere de la teconologa Internet de Sybase
Soy un programador de muchos aos y debi pasar de lenguajes de tercera generacion a PowerBuilder, este cambio fue de gran impacto, sin embargo la facilidad de PowerBuilder hizo que pudieramos ver resultados a corto plaz, las aplicaciones desarrolladas son bastante estables.
Sybase debera invertir ms tiempo en mejorar la perfomance y estabilidad del ambiente de desarrollo de PowerBuilder, ya que en mi opinin son los 2 puntos debiles de la herramienta
Version 9 esta igual que la 8 ? que ventajas tenemos los de 8 al migrar a 9.
Me gustaria que mejoraran la interfase de instalacin as los clientes; en otras palabras eliminar el distribution kit: En la versin 8 lo eloiminan pero igual hay que coipiar varios .dll (es o mismo).
En general mayor estabilidad del producto en entorno de desarrollo. Es muy frecuente los GPF.
En la version 6.5 faltan herramientas para generar informes estadisticos al estilo de las tablas dinamicas de excel. Deberian mejorar mucho el crosstab.
Nous n'envisageons pas de remplacer PowerBuilder par un autre langage, notamment pour des applications rcentes et trs oprationnelles.
7 sur 10 pour l'ensemble. Mais 50 sur 10 pour la DataWindow.
Actuellement nous utilisons uniquement PB pour le transfert de donnes (pipelines), et en intranet nous utilisons les datawindow Html, que nous migrons au fur et mesure en JSP
Aucune version n'a jamais t aussi stable que la 6.5. La migration vers la version 8 ne rsoud pas le placement des boutons (look XP non gr)
J'attends avec intrt la possiblit de gnrer des applications et des objets Web vers des serveurs d'applications ou/et des serveurs Web autres que Sybase EAS, nos clients utilisant en majorit Cytrix et IBM J2EE. Noter le points forts de la version 8, qui est son interface trs libre, facilement accessible et utilisable mme pour les dbutants. James MARREL Ingnieur d'tude et de dveloppement COFRAMI FRANCE
Je n'ai pas vu d'autres produit permettant l'accs aux donnes de faon aussi simple et universelle. Avant de remplacer la datawindow, il y a du chemin faire ! ( saisie, dition, ... tout est permis ). Faut il vraiment l'abandonner parce que c'est la mode ?
Je pense que PB est un bon produit mais qui souffre commercialement. Il faut, mon avis investir les universits et autres centres de recherches par des versions 'FORMATION' de PowerBuilder. Ces utilisateurs universitaires seront par la suite des vhicules pour PB/
Version 7 pas stable On attend des composants Web dans la version 8 On espre dans les suivantes des facilites de 'migration' des appli existantes vers 3-tiers, client lger
J'espre et je pense que PowerBuilder a encore de beaux jours devant lui. Je regrette de ne pas connaitre les developpements Web en PB, la politique de l'entreprise tant differentes concernant les developpements WEB
La complexit dans la structuration des programmes se posent toujours... ce qui fait que le temps qu'on peut consacrer la formation de ce produits serait toujours relativement long. Il est vrai que ce produit qui est de la gnration Orient Objet arrive rsoudre bien de cas comme ceux et un peu plus que ceux de la gnration prcedente (sous-dos), Mais Rendez-le convivial. Merci.
La version que nous utilisons est relativement stable ( 7.03 Build 10089). Un effort sur la mise en forme des graphiques serait bienvenue (ce serait bien qu'il s'aligne sur Microsoft en matire de graphique).
Nous aimons beaucoup PowerBuilder, c'est Jaguar qui a tout cass. Trop de problmes. Nous esperons que les promesses de PB9 seront la hauteur...
Nous migrons bientt sur la version 9, les documents PowerBuilder 9 ne montrent pas les amliorations par rapport la version 7. J'espre que la version 9 resoudra le problme de plantage quand il s'agit des datawindow graphiques. Merci.
Nous utilisons les version 4 8 de powerbuilder depuis une dizaine d'annes... L'interface a trs bien volu et les nouvelles fonctionnalits web apportent une nouvelle dimension dont les possibilits restent prciser.
Trs bon outils pour les devs Client/Serveur en quipe mais souffre d'un manque chronique d'optimisation des excutables.
PowerBuilder en franais serait le top
PB est le programme le plus souple que je connaisse pour attaquer les bases de donnes.
sur le plan du dveloppement l'outil est cohrent et permet la matrise de la relation client serveur. l'objet datawindow est un trs bon outil. la dropdown devrait voluer (dbug et fonctionnalits). du ct maintenance, un effort devrait tre fait ct documentation automatique d'application et recherches globales ou listes croises. cela reste tout fait positif pour le dveloppement d'applications de gestion.
Toujours trs difficile de trouver (en France) de la documentation sur Powerbuilder.
Outil de développement lourd parfois instable, mais d'excellent qualité pour une approche orientée objet.
Je trouve que le produit prend du retard par rapport sa concurrence(Reporting, MultiThread, API de communication, Multimdia?), mais il est vrai que les DATAWINDOW restent pour moi un outil trs puissant et qu'avec PB, on a un outil vraiment RAD.
- C/S server applications still exists. C/S is the right way to go in many applications - .NET is excellent environment, PB and DW should support that - PowerBuilder should continue and improve the support for the modern GUI in C/S environment
1. Love the product. 2. Market the product!!! In particular, I would love to see PB mentioned in a publication like \Software Development\". Play up the OO aspect of PowerBuilder. Just once, I'd love to see PB mentioned in a list with other OO languages. It never does and I think that's why many serious programmers do not consider PB a \"real\" language. It makes it very difficult to hire talented developers. They would all rather do Java/C Sharp/etc. Why? What makes Java so much better than PowerBuilder? A 25 line PB program would take me 300 lines in Java. We have an excellent eBusiness storefront solution and digital marketplace integration all in PB/Jag components. Once again, you need to market the product. Not to people who are already using it but rather to the rest of the development community.
7.0 has lot of stability issues and undocumented anamolies that we face every day. Still a nice tool.
a wonderful product, hope to continue;
All IT People (especially decision makers) need to get educated towards advantages of PowerBuilder.
All things considered, PowerBuilder is an outstanding client/server 4th generation language!
As a product, I see nothing wrong with PowerBuilder. In fact, everything I need and want as a developer are already there, plus other features I am surprised also exist. Where PB is lacking (and is losing) is in marketing. If Sybase will not aggressively market PB, nothing about the product's features will stop its continuing market decline.
I am really happy with Powebuilder ability to provide solution to our requirements. I wish PowerBuilder makes a come back, we have new development coming up all the time, The only reason I don't see ourself using this tool is if the PB don't make enough of a come back. Make it so it becomes cool to be PowerBuilder User.
Best Client/Server and Web development tool there is - now with Appeon it will take more market share.
Best Client/Server platform available and is super productive. PB9 is even better.
Better support for \rich text\" entry and handling, particularly on individual columns within datawindows, would be very helpful."
Could be more stable during development. Sybase should remember that the bread and butter of PowerBuilder is in Client Server Apps, not Web ones. PB needs far more effective marketing. Still the best tool I have found for Client Server development due to the power and flexibility of the datawindow. Support could be better from Sybase.
Could have given it 10, but version 7 was very unstable, ver8 far better. ocx support not as good as delphi, needed to use that to write wrapper. The help is superb. All and all a very good product in the uppermost league.
Excelent tool for client server aplication. Very fast to create application because i already have repository Library(PBL), just inherit an object and add logical statement. But I'm not sure if I have to build web application using powerbuilder tool. There is no success stories or case studies to prove powerbuilder is the best solution to develop web application. Why sybase not expand market in Indonesia?
Excellent product. However, the product schould offer urgently: 1) better GUI possiblities when designing datawindows and windows. 2) better web services to easier the communication between the C/S application and the Web. (mime encoding, xml communications with the server, ftp services, ...)
Far the last 6 to 8 years Powerbuilder was the main development tool in our company. But with the lack of proper support and marketing, it has lost its stardom. Even now most of the developers are not familiar with Web development features of PowerBuilder. It's advisable to conduct free workshops to familiarise things and explain the new advanced features in PB suite.
get your marketing going! powerbuilder's too good to die down.
Great product but training is very expensive. Too bad, there is not enough of a market for plenty of good Powerbuilder books.
Great tool for enterprise client-server solutions. It's getting harder and harder to find qualified Powerbuilder resources. In-house, non-PB resources do not want to invest in learning PowerBuilder because they feel it is not a mainstream tool (they'd rather learn Java).
Hope to see Palm Builder for supporting Palm OS development as most of our clients are using Palm organisers.
As to Web development, we think Sybase doesn't provide an open enough solution. We expect it could continue endeavor to make pb support more the third application servers.
I don't see much help material in building web based appliaction from scratch in PBB. its too frustrating.