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Appeon Mobile Beta2 - 48 Hours

** Hot News **

Appeon Mobile


    Appeon Corporation has just released its Appeon Mobile product's beta2 version the other week. Again, like the alpha and beta1 release beforehand - I have been privileged to once again participate in this momentous and historic setting PowerBuilder event! The beta2 release really steps up the game for iOS based mobile computing through PowerBuilder. Here are some of the great new features that I have tested in the first 48 hours of installing this release ...

iPhone

Real PB application on my aactual iPhone!
  The beta1 release of Appeon Mobile only supported the iPad. Beta2 steps up the supported devices by adding the iPhone simulator and support for the actual iPhone device itself (iP4, iP4s and iP5). Amazingly, all I needed to do was download the Appeon WorkSpace application from the iStore for the iPhone, add an application reference to my IIs server and volia - my PB applications were alive and well on my real iPhone!




Simulator

 iPad

 This next beta release of Appeon Mobile upgrades the original iPad simulator from a standard MS-Windows looking dialog to something that resembles the actual iPad device 100%! This new looking simulator can also be resized and rotated unlike its fixed ancestor - which makes developing, unit testing and user presenations through a projector a very handy feature indeed.
Updated iPad simulator in Beta2

iPhone

   The new iPhone support in Beta2 not only extends to the real device but also adds an iPhone simulator that rivals the iPad version outlined above. The iPhone simulator supoports the iP4, iP4S and iP5 adding the nice resizing and rotational features as well.
iPhone simulator running in iP5 mode!

AEM

   The Appeon Enterprise Manager (AEM for short) has had a complete make-over from the presentation layer view. It also adds some new Mobile security and operational support items into the server mix as well.
AEM feature GUI in the new Appeon 2013 server version.

New Databases

mySQL and TeraData drivers in Beta2!
   Incorporated into Appeon Mobile beta2 is the new AEM / Appeon Server which now adds a native DBMS driver for mySQL. mySQL is not only a popular DBMS to use in many organizations - it is also used by many ISP's and Cloud providers that Appeon can already take your PB applications to! This is only the first step in Appeon Server's upgrade part of Appeon Mobile that will also add a native ASE database driver and driver support for SAP's HANA in-memory database. While the last two are not there yet, they are planned to be available when Appeon Mobile ships its GA version (currently scheduled for spring 2013).

Device API's

    The Appeon Mobile product will also allow the PowerBuilder developer's applications to access the iOS devices hardware and various iOS features. Beta2 adds a new set of PB objects that extend the device access to:  Appeon WorkSpace shell, iPad/iPhone cameras, device hardware information, muti-media services, iOS notifications, and sound / video recorder to start off with.


Actual device information running on my real iPad test machine.
 Accessing these resources outside your PB Mobile application is simple, just instantiate the appropriate NVUO supplied in the Appeon "WorkArounds" PB library supplied by Appeon. Then call the related methods supplied to have Appeon Mobile generate the appropriate low level calls to the actual environment around the working PB application on the actual device itself.



AWS

   The Appeon Work Space (AWS) "shell" for the iPad and iPhone also gets an upgrade in Appeon Mobile beta2. The AWS now allows the PB developer to assign an icon to the PB application being deployed which shows up in the AWS application launch list. This also includes a short application description that also now appears in the AWS underneath the application icon.

   During the applications initialization and launch - the AWS now also shows a percent complete like real iStore updates that gives the iOS user real time feedback on the application progress throughout the processing cycle.
Actual AWS beta2 running on my iPad showing some of the PB applications I am testing!

Web Service DataWindow

    The Appeon Web product introduced support for the new Web Service datawindow a few releases ago. This is an important PB feature for anyone contemplating true n-tier development. This is not only for PB client applications but for PB Server based features that are exposed via NVUO components exposed as .Net Web Services. These can be built in PB Classic (v11.0 and higher) as .Net components or PB.Net (v12.0 and higher) as WCF based components - either of which can be consumed by Appeon based WS DataWindows!

   I was extremely pleased with my initial tests in this area having my Web Browser, iPad and iPhone test applications perform  flawlessly in this area. The Web Service was actually a PB Classic .Net WS returning an ANSI result set that the PB Client deployed to Appeon. This could be consumed through a corresponding WS DataWindow on the client side. The trick here is to have Appeon deploy the .Net assembly that the WS DW builds to broker the WS proxies to the Appeon Server.
Actual WS DW running through my iPhone.
iPad based WS DataWindow test



















Grid DataWindow

Grid DW running om my actual iPhone.
   The updated Beta2 Appeon Mobile now supports the Grid DataWindow`s column move and resizing features just like we currently see in Appeon Web and native PB Classic MS-Window applications. This definitely ups the functionality on the iOS device that would certainly be a chore for the Objective-C developer to reproduce!  
 
    The column move is really nice feature like we find in Excel or Windows Explorer. The column resizing is a great feature as the users moves from the iPad to iPhone where real-estate is at a premium or on the origianl device as the iOS user rotates the device from landscape to portrait mode and vise-a-versa.







Cloud

   Appeon Mobile is based on Appeon Server 2013 that also comes with Beta2. Appeon Server already supports Microsoft`s Azure cloud platform and Beta2 "ups the bar" by adding support for the Amazon Cloud platform. This is not obvious until you realize that the sample applications that you run on downloading AWS from the Apple iStore are all accessed through the Amazon Cloud. So kool applications like YouHoops is cloud enabled via Appeon`s PaaS readiness.

   Stay tuned for more news in the Cloud area before Appeon Mobile`s GA release as Appeon Corporation is also tracking support for the RackSpace Cloud platform as well!

Bug Fixes

   The last and most important update to Beta2 is the various minor bug fixes noted in Beta1 that Appeon has already addressed. This is extremely important to me as it now allows my full Foundation Class framework (free on SourceForge) to run in its full entity. The original version I released had a few features disabled as not to interfere with some of Beta1`s short-comings. I can pleasantly now say that Beta2 is ready for the full framework which adds a tremendous amount of RAD developer productivity to the Appeon scene.


Conclusion

  After only two days with Appeon Mobile beta2 and I can honestly say that this product is shaping up to be a real game changer! Not only for PB developers to reach out to the Web and Mobile space but positioning PB to be a serious cloud (SaaS, PaaS, etc) player as well. The rich iOS features that we see evolving between alpha, Beta1 and now Beta2 put a lot of confidence in me that Appeon will deliver exactly what they have been talking about for the past year. This also sets their track record and market direction like the Gartner 4th quadrant .... being a company that you can count on to deliver top-notch products.

   Appeon has also just released their 2013-2014 road-map which also sets a pace of application platform development to extend PowerBuilder where Sybase only talked about. I would strongly recommend that you contact Appeon to hear more about their updated road-map!

   The other interesting observations I have made as well, is in that their innovation and engineering skills are genuine. I have not seen better project innovation and management like this since Sybase developed PocketBuilder with the best PB project manager I have worked with Martin Malick (now VP at RIM / Blackberry in charge of the new BB10) and engineering team lead Reed Shilts. This certainly reminds me of the  people I used to liaise with at PowerSoft when PB`s innovative nature was the prime directive and second to none.

Well done again Appeon!

Bonus: Please link over to my SourceForge project for the new Beta2 compatible STD Foundation Classes and sample applications that I am using for testing referenced in this article! Remember, the framework is fully open source and free too!     :-)

Regards ... Chris



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More Stories By Chris Pollach

Chris Pollach is a Senior Consultant with over 30 years experience in Systems and Software Analysis, Development, Maintenance and Technical Support, mainly in the areas of GUI Design, MS-Windows Programming, Java / .NET Programming, Wireless, Application / Web Server Design & Programming, Object Oriented Development Tools and Methodologies, Data Base, Data Communications and Network application development. He has participated in numerous technical, planning and management roles, as well as consulted and educated in these fields for a diverse clientele. He is also the owner of “Software Tool & Die Inc.” a company dedicated to provide custom software and education solutions on Object Oriented business systems.

As an educator, Chris is certified to teach PowerBuilder (first in Canada), MS-SQLServer, Sybase’s Enterprise Application Studio and EAServer integrated application/web development environment. He is former Certified SilverStream developer (CSSD) and current Certified PowerBuilder Developer – Associate / Professional (CPD-P) as well as a Certified Sybase Tools Instructor (CSI).

Chris has written numerous articles in various popular personal computer magazines, newsletters and is the author of the PowerGuide and PowerExpert products as well as the STD Foundation Classes. Currently, Chris has developed a Foundation Class library for Sybase's PocketBuilder, SAP's PowerBulder and EAServer products and now Appeon Web & mobile products that integrates JSP or ASP web development, Section 508 / CLF web standards and mobile applications. A new Web Service framework has also been released for IIs to support PowerBuilder based web service NVUO's!

Chris recently became a 2nd Degree Black in the TaeKwonDo martial art and has developed a Martial Art multimedia study guide using the Component-One “Doc2Help” and Sybase PowerBuilder products. Since the fall of 2004 he became a TaeKwonDo instructor for the City of Ottawa’s Goulbourn program. He has also been certified with the World TaeKwonDo Federation (February 2005 - 1st Dan and October 2008 - 2nd Dan).

Chris was awarded the Sybase “Innovation and Achievement” award for 2005 as voted for by the International Sybase User Group (ISUG). This award was presented for innovations to the PocketBuilder mobile development product, contributions to the PowerBuilder News groups and support of the Ottawa Sybase User Group.

To round his management and leadership skills, Chris is the former president of the Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn and still volunteers his time with the service clubs in his area. He is also the coordinator of the Ottawa Sybase User group and a certified NAUI scuba instructor. For the last three years, Chris has been voted onto the ISUG Board of Directors and holds the position of "Director - North American User Groups".