Ah, the good old days of PowerBuilder 6.5…
It was a rock solid release, every consultant that could drop two commandbuttons on a window was making crazy money, and PowerBuilder shipped with it’s own Source Control package named ObjectCycle. It wasn’t a fancy integrated behemoth like Borland StarTeam or Rational ClearCase, but it was tightly integrated with PowerBuilder and its PBLs, which every other SCC package on the planet had trouble with… It did the job of basic version control for PowerBuilder, and the price was right.
ObjectCycle was EOL’d in 1999, but was still heavily used by companies that had frozen on PB 6.5 or 7.x. Then came PB8, and in that release Sybase completely revamped the SCC interface, utilizing the Microsoft SCC API. A new, basic SCC package called PBNative was developed for PB8, and is still shipping today. PBNative is extremely limited in scope, offering only Checkout/Checkin control and “Get Latest Version” operations. It stores only the most recent revision in its “repository” (which is just a folder on a shared LAN drive), and does not manage the version history of an object. A robust SCC package should store its repository in a full-featured DBMS, not the Windows filesystem… In my opinion, every development shop that is currently using PBNative (or doing nothing!) should be actively pursuing a real SCC provider…
There’s clearly a niche here. The PB world desperately needs a basic Version Management package with more functionality than PBNative, at an attractive price point, that is well-integrated with PowerBuilder.
As they say in the Bible – ask and ye shall receive.
Our good friends at E. Crane Computing, the creators of the now-legendary PowerGen product, are releasing a new SCC tool called PowerVCS. I spoke with E. Crane’s CEO, Phil Wallingford, and he gave me some general information about the new product, which is tentatively scheduled for limited beta here in Q1.
- PowerVCS will have a pure “web” architecture, with a mySQL repository on the backend and a browser-based administration console on the front-end.
- It will be offered in two modes: Private – where the PowerVCS server is installed and running inside your data center; and Hosted – where E. Crane will host the server-side components.
- There will be a commandline interface, so batch-scripted build procedures can be developed.
- Pricing is still being determined, but E. Crane is considering a monthly subscription model in the US$10 to $20 per month range.
I consider this to be a HUGE announcement, one that a lot of PB shops will absolutely benefit from. If you’ve ever used the PowerGen tool for automating your PB build process, you know that E. Crane puts out quality software, and is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of PowerBuilder development. (And if you haven’t used PowerGen, what are you waiting for???)
For more information on PowerVCS or E. Crane, drop them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org