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Delivering the Completed Application to End Users

Once the PowerBuilder target application has been compiled into an executable version, it must be packaged and delivered to the desktops of the end users. This is not as simple as copying the EXE and PBD files onto the user's computer. Several commercially available software installation packages are available today. Tools like this are responsible for collecting all the components of the software distribution and "packaging" them into a single installable unit. Some of the more popular tools for this are

There are several additional components to a successful end-user deployment of the application. The following installation checklist covers both the application-specific items as well as the environmental items.

Environmental Components

The items listed in this section are concerned with the runtime execution environment, also known as the "Virtual Machine." These consist of the PowerBuilder Runtime DLLs, Database Interface DLLs, and any other supporting software, outside of the PowerBuilder application code.

PowerBuilder Runtime DLLs

The runtime DLLs enable PowerBuilder applications to run outside of the IDE, and they are required whether or not the application was compiled to machine code DLLs or Pcode PBDs. For optimal performance, these files should be installed locally on each end user's machine. They can be found on development workstations in the folder C:\Program Files\Sybase\Shared\PowerBuilder.

These files are shown in Table 3.5.

Table 3.5 PowerBuilder Runtime Files for Deployment

PBVM90.DLL

Required for all applications

LIBJCC.DLL

Required for all applications

PBDWE90.DLL

Datawindow/Datastore engine

PBRTC90.DLL

Rich Text

PBFNT90.INI

Maps unavailable fonts

PBLAB90.INI

Label datawindow style predefined formats

PBTRA90.DLL

Database connection tracing

PBFNT90.INI

Font substitution mapping file


It's only required to deploy the files supporting features that are implemented by your application. For example, if your application does not use Rich Text, PBRTC90.DLL is not required. It is also important that the same versions of these files are used to develop, compile, and run the applications.

When deploying them to the end-user machine, they can be placed in one of three locations:

  • In the same folder as the executable

  • In a folder that has been added to the system PATH variable

  • In a folder that has been added to the application's AppPath registry key. This key is

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Current Version\AppPaths\

Localized runtime files are provided for French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. These files are usually available shortly after the general release of a new version of PowerBuilder. The localized runtime files let you deploy PowerBuilder applications with standard runtime dialog boxes in the local language. They handle language-specific data when the application runs. However, this does not imply that an application can be translated into a specific language simply by deploying the localized runtime files. Significant consideration must be given to many design issues when developing an application for multi-language support. Sybase has several White Papers available on this topic at http://www.sybase.com.

Database Interface Files

If the PowerBuilder application accesses a datasource, whether the datasource is a relational database or not, you must also deploy the specific drivers for that datasource. These can be either the "native" drivers, or "generic" ODBC, JDBC, or OLE DB drivers. The list of database drivers shown in Table 3.6 are provided with the Professional and Enterprise versions of PowerBuilder 9.

Table 3.6 PowerBuilder Native Database Interface Runtime Files for Deployment

PBIN790.DLL

Informix I-Net 7

PBIN990.DLL

Informix I-Net 9

PBMSS90.DLL

Microsoft SQLServer 6 and 7

PBO7390.DLL

Oracle 7.3

PBO8490.DLL

Oracle 8.0.x and Oracle 8i 8.1.x

PBO9090.DLL

Oracle 9.x

PBDIR90.DLL

Sybase DirectConnect

PBSYC90.DLL

Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise CT-LIB

PBSYJ90.DLL

Sybase ASE CT-LIB (for EAServer deployment only)


ODBC Drivers and Profiles

Microsoft's Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) standard provides an alternative method of connecting to ODBC-compliant datasources. Table 3.7 lists the files that are required for data connections from PowerBuilder to ODBC datasources.

Table 3.7 PowerBuilder ODBC Database Interface Runtime Files for Deployment

PBODB90.DLL

Generic ODBC Driver

PBODB90.INI

-Initialization file for ODBC access (required for ODBC applications)


Accessing a database through an ODBC driver also requires an ODBC Profile. These are Registry settings or .DSN files that encapsulate the driver configuration that is pertinent for the selected database. For more information on ODBC profiles, refer to Chapter 12, "ODBC." Installing these profiles on the client machine can be accomplished by including the appropriate registry settings in the deployment package.

OLEDB Drivers and Profiles

OLE DB is a standard Application Programming Interface (API) developed by Microsoft. It is a component of Microsoft's Data Access Components software, and OLE DB version 2 is required. OLE DB, much like ODBC, provides a standard interface to a number of different data sources.

NOTE

The PowerBuilder Professional and Desktop versions do not support the OLE DB interface.

PBOLE90.DLL is the PowerBuilder OLE DB database driver file that must be deployed to support OLE DB connections.

JDBC Drivers and Profiles

PowerBuilder 8 introduced the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) interface, and support for this driver continues in PowerBuilder 9. The JDBC interface in PowerBuilder 8 supports both the Microsoft Virtual Machine (VM) and the Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) versions 1.1 and later. The JDBC interface in PowerBuilder 9 supports the SunJRE version 1.2 and later.

If your application uses JDBC connections, the JDB driver will be required, as well as the appropriate Java package for the Java VM that is being used. A vendor-supplied JDBC-compliant driver, such as Sybase Jconnect, will also need to be installed and configured on the machine making the database connection. Use the JavaVM DBParm parameter to specify which Java VM to use for the JDBC connection. Table 3.9 lists the deployment requirements for applications using the JDB database interface.

Table 3.9 PowerBuilder JDBC Database Interface Runtime Files for Deployment

PBJDB90.DLL

PowerBuilder JDBC DB Driver (JDB) for the Sun JRE 1.2 or later

pbjdbc1290.jar

Java package for PowerBuilder JDB driver and JRE 1.2 or later


PowerBuilder Runtime Packager

The preceding sections have presented the lists of PowerBuilder runtime files that must be deployed with the compiled executables. The good news is that a new utility called the PowerBuilder Runtime Packager, released with PowerBuilder 9, makes this list completely obsolete! The Runtime Packager, PBPack90.exe, can be found in the \Program Files\Sybase\Shared\PowerBuilder folder. It takes the guesswork out of runtime file deployment by creating a Microsoft Installer package that contains exactly the files that your application will require.

Figure 3.7 shows the Runtime Packager window, which consists of three main sections:

  • PowerBuilder Base Components: This section has no selectable options because it represents the files that must be deployed for any PowerBuilder application.

  • Database Interfaces: In this section, select the database interface(s) that the application will require. The Packager will automatically select and include only those DLL files that implement the chosen interfaces.

  • Other Components: This section lists four optional components available to PowerBuilder 9 applications. If the deployed application takes advantage of any of these four new capabilities in version 9, select the option to add their respective files to the runtime deployment kit. These four areas are XML Support, PB DOM (Document Object Model), EJB client, or SOAP Web Service client.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 PowerBuilder Runtime Packager.

At the bottom of the window is a field to enter the name of the Microsoft Installer (.msi) package that will be created. The .msi package that is created can be packaged along with the EXE and PBD/DLLs of the compiled PowerBuilder application, and deployed to the client machines as a single, seamless install kit.

Database Client-side Communication Software

Many database vendors include a client-side communication component, such as Oracle's SQLNet, or Sybase's CT-Lib. If your application is to successfully connect to the back-end database, you will need to also include this component in the installation package.

Application Components

This section covers the deployment requirements for the actual compiled application code itself. These are the components that will execute in the runtime environment that was discussed in the previous section.

The Executable Application

This component will consist of the EXE file, any dynamic libraries (the Pcode PBDs or machine code DLLs), and any external resource files that are being delivered separately (BMPs, ICOs, and so on). For optimal performance, these files should be installed locally to each machine that will run the application. It is possible to install these files to a shared LAN folder, but that architecture is not recommended for performance reasons.

If these files will be updated with maintenance releases, an effective architecture for managing the distribution of these files to the end-user machines is critical. One possible approach is to place the revised files into a designated location on the LAN, and then have the application itself detect the presence of new versions of these files upon startup. The application can then copy the new files from the LAN location into the appropriate folder on the local machine and restart.

Any Additional Supporting Files

This can include application-specific INI files, Help files, or additional documentation, such as User Guides. In some situations, it might be more appropriate to install these resources onto a shared LAN folder, rather than on each individual workstation.

Local Database Files

If the application is going to be using a local database instead of accessing a server database across the network, it will be necessary to package up the database files for installation on the local machine.

C/C++ Runtime Files for PBNI Components

The PowerBuilder Native Interface (PBNI) is a new feature of PowerBuilder 9, and it enables developers to extend the functionality of PowerBuilder with modules written in C or C++. The most frequently used type of PowerBuilder extension is to "wrap" a C or C++ DLL, and expose its methods as PowerBuilder NVO functions. The PBNI utility PBX2PBD90.EXE produces a PowerBuilder PBD file that contains the interfaces for the C/C++ components. For a detailed explanation on the use of the PBNI facility, refer to Chapter 19, "PowerBuilder Native Interface."

Because PBNI components are actually written in C or C++, it will be necessary to deploy the corresponding C or C++ runtime DLLs along with the compiled .PBD files. Refer to the documentation for your C/C++ compiler for the list of required runtime files.

External Program Files

This can include supporting software that is embedded in the application, such as OLE or OCX controls. Your install package might need to install these components and also register them to the Windows registry. You might not be legally allowed to redistribute external third-party software such as Microsoft Office or an email application. In that case, simply have your application check to see if the required software is already installed and properly licensed.

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