Sybase Mobile Evangelist

Ian Thain

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J2EE Journal: Article

Full Power to Vancouver

Full Power to Vancouver

The mission of Sybase's PowerJ development team, based in Waterloo, Canada, was to produce the best Java development IDE for Sybase customers and the best integrated IDE for EAServer..

PowerJ 4.0 (Vancouver) will soon be generally available and it could be said that PowerJ has finally come of age in this excellent release, which is full of new features.

Productivity
PowerJ's new improved IDE is MDI-based. The MDI keeps everything in place, based on user preference. This is less cumbersome than the previous SDI user interface. It supports autoscripting, enabling you to display a list of methods on the supplied object, and two-way coding (in other words, PowerJ updates design-time forms as code is changed and vice versa).

To-do lists, such as we already see in PowerBuilder, also feature in the new release (see Figure 1). These function as a roadmap for novice users to quickly adapt to Java. PowerJ also introduces two choices when creating a form or class. These are managed, which was the traditional way that PowerJ created these (.wxc and .wxf files), or unmanaged (introspected) - creating .java files directly. Unmanaged provides developers with one of the biggest enhancements that they asked Sybase for, namely the ability to edit the Java source code generated by PowerJ. Debugging has also been improved by adding support for debugging JSPs and multiple threads simultaneously within the same JVM. The debugging engine has now been updated to Sun's Java Platform Debugger Architecture (JPDA). PowerJ also supports JDK 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 at design-time, and allows users to build and run with any of those JDKs as well, even independently of the design-time VM.

EAServer Integration
A new application server view is now integrated in PowerJ, similar to what's within EAServer's Jaguar Manager and PowerBuilder. This allows a view of deployed components, applications, and Web applications, including parameter/return types of methods. Multiple deployment profiles that consist of EAServer 3.6.1 (yes...backwards compatibility with EAS 3.6.1), EAServer 4.0, ASE 12.5, and compatibility for EP 2.0 and 3.0 are now supported. These profiles store enough information to allow PowerJ to deploy seamlessly to each one. PowerJ really does push past the competition by giving more access to EAServer, which increases the ease of development!

Java Support
PowerJ updated J2EE 1.3 support, including new wizards and targets for EJB 2.0 components such as session, entity, and message-driven beans. These new targets also have new deployment descriptors, which generate XML deployment descriptors into ejb-jar.xml, application server-specific properties, as a well as a new component property dialogue for CMR relationships.

It really is as simple as 1, 2, 3 to create an EJB 2.0 component in PowerJ, which by the way supports compound PK and local interface generation. For example, let's say you want to create a CMP EJB. From the EJB 2.0 component wizard, specify the Enterprise JavaBean type (entity bean) and the persistence type (container). Next define the fields to be persisted and PowerJ will do all the Java code generation (see Figure 2).

All that's left to do is to specify any other application's server-specific properties, such as connection cache and database field mappings, and "hey presto!" PowerJ will then be able to deploy the component to EAServer and you're ready to go.

No need to go to Jaguar Manager, and since everything is stored in the PowerJ Target, redeployment is a breeze (see Figure 3). Hey, we really are talking RAD enterprise Java development here and now! Did I mention that are also new targets for JSP 1.2, Servlet 2.3, and JSP TagLib creation? Also a new property dialog for setting Web application security constraints... Phew!

Usability
Gone are the days when PowerJ workspaces were kept in their own proprietary format, as they're now XML-based - which allows for integration between other Sybase tools. Targets can be migrated from managed to unmanaged .java files as well as whole workspaces converted to .java. Other improvements include faster importing of JavaBeans and DBCS support.

Hopefully you'll agree that PowerJ v4 addresses the development time needs for your e-business component creation, coding, debugging, and deployment using J2EE...in a totally RAD way!

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain

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