1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. Friday, 08 November 2019

Question about the future of ActiveX and 64 bit executables.

Right now we are using several ActiveX visual controls which we made with .Net C#.

- MS Chart controls

- RicherText control (it's a home grown richtext edit, still not perfect)

- Crystal Report Viewer

 

If I'd like to make a 64 bit powerbuilder executable for a customer, this would not be possible. (or at least not easily). The reason for this is that the Powerbuilder IDE is 32 bit and when you paste an ActiveX Olecontrol on a window, that gets "baked in" in the source code of the object somehow. Therefore that control has to be 32 bit.

I don't think it would work when compiling the application then as a 64 bit executable. (maybe if doing some magic with registry entries?).

So my question is about "what's Appeon's point of view of how the future should look"?

1) will we ever get a 64 bit IDE?

2) we could try to do all of our current ActiveX stuff in html / javascript and then use a webbrowser control on our windows, instead of pasting the current ActiveX, but isn't the web browser control also an ActiveX? I know there's a new browser control, will that one allow for both 32 and 64 bit?

3) any other way of doing things that I might have overlooked here?

 

We just want to avoid doing more and more things in a certain way, when in a future there might be better solution.

regards

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Accepted Answer
Armeen Mazda Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hi Miguel,

As Chris has pointed out, the way to go is use the new Web browser control that is coming in PowerBuilder 2019 R2 to replace ActiveX controls.  The only caveat is your PowerScript won't be able to integrate with the JavaScript in the Web browser until PowerBuilder 2019 R3.  So you may need to wait until then before swapping out your ActiveX.  

Related to the above point, I would recommend evaluating the updated RichTextEdit that is coming in PowerBuilder 2019 R3.  That will support more features than the current RichTextEdit and support 64-bit (in addition to keeping the 32-bit support).  I would be surprised if an HTML implementation of RichText control can beat out the native RichText control we have sourced from Text Control.

As far as the PowerBuilder IDE being 32-bit and its limitations, this in itself is not the problem.  Visual Studio is also 32-bit.  The reason PowerBuilder has problems is that somebody before us in their infinite wisdom tied the PBVM and the IDE together into the same process.  We will be separating this in PowerBuilder 2019 R3.  Once we do that, you can use 32-bit IDE to debug 64-bit application, for example.  Or as another example, when a bug is fixed in PBVM it would not require you to update the IDE.  

Of course if/when Microsoft indicates they would stop supporting 32-bit then it would make sense for Appeon to devote engineering resources to make the IDE 64-bit.  But for now, we have a much more practical way to solve many of the limitations customers have experienced with the PB IDE in a 64-bit world.

Regards,

Armeen

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Hi Chris and Armeen, Yes I am on the beta R2. Trying to test as much as I can on Ribbon control and now that I know this, also the Web browser control.
  1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
Since this feature is not even out yet for PowerBuilder it is too early for us to give indication when you can expect this in PowerServer Web. What I can say for sure is that it wouldn't be sooner than 2021.
  1. Armeen Mazda
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
Glad to hear that Miguel. Please open support tickets for issues you find and classify the version as "2019 R2 Beta". Thanks.
  1. Armeen Mazda
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
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  1. Friday, 8 November 2019
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Miguel Leeuwe Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Me myself, I'm not in a hurry, but with this great information, over a time span of a year or 2 (or 4), I'll try to migrate our Crystal Report viewer activex control to use the current internet explorer control. Also our Charts might be able to run as html and js I guess.

For the richtext edit control .... I'm not going to make any friends here, I'll just wait until it comes out and add "some" time to see if it's really working and bug free. Our experience so far of Appeon together with the third party company has not been good at all, just being frank here. These last days I've seen people reporting several problems with the in-build "rich text" control. Yes that's the new one which is now like 2 years old. They're being animated to report bugs on it. But sorry .... Appeon: Most of these bugs have been reported 2 years ago. Are these ever going to be fixed? Why is it so difficult the just test the d**** thing well for once and for all? Yes, once again I'm looking at the Q&A team or who ever directs them!

So my apologies to you Appeon, this is my last rant on RTE, but please .... never again rip something out without testing the replacement well. A simple malfunction can mean that a company cannot release their application anymore (specially if it's not fixed due to 3rd party blame) and therefore makes them feel like they've spend money on a new product that doesn't serve them for anything else than being 'up to date':

It was a huge mistake to give more priority to things like native PDF bugs (while everyone had their pdf stuff working anyway somehow with ghost script etc.) and give a low prio to RTE. The fact that in the end we got back the 'old' one, feels like 'Oh ... just lets give them back the old one, as the new one is never going to be fixed'). 

So now .. we are going to get the 'new' one in a revamped state, even supporting 64 bit. I thought Halloween had passed already and I really hope it's going to be a smooth release. Meanwhile I'll just keep using my own crappy RTE.

In spite of all this, I love you guys: I do appreciate Appeon's effort on everything else.

 

Comment
I thought I was done with the old control, but ... yes, I decided to do a little test. Just have a look at bug 3600 which I just now reported and where I initially speak of SelectText() but which is wrong and should say SelectedText(). Since "Edit" does very little on the bug site, I also reported that one as an extra :)

Ironically the problem with SelectedText() does not exist with the "built-in rich text edit". On 12.6 it works fine, on 2017 and 2019, with the "same control as 12.6" it obviously fails. That's why I asked myself if "the interaction with pb is the same".

Enjoy your weekend, I'm going to get some sleep and thanks for all your concerns. It's great to get direct feedback from a CEO !
  1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. Sunday, 10 November 2019
Thanks Miguel for opening the bug. The control is the same so there must be an issue in the integration code.
  1. Armeen Mazda
  2. Monday, 11 November 2019
YW
  1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. Monday, 11 November 2019
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  1. Saturday, 9 November 2019
  2. PowerBuilder
  3. # 1
Chris Pollach Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hi Miguel;

 FYI: The new Web Browser control works great in my PB2019 R2 beta 64bit EXE test, as follows:

Regards ... Chris

 

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That's absolutely great new then Chris ... Maybe this is the way to go?
  1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
"Food for thought" for sure! ;-)
  1. Chris Pollach
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
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  1. Friday, 8 November 2019
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  3. # 2
Miguel Leeuwe Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Maybe my first question should have been: "Is there a point of view on the future of ActiveX and 64 bit powerbuilder applications?".

Hahaha, I'm sorry ... (Armeen), I just joking and can't help myself, but it would be really nice to know if there's plans for the future on this topic and which they might be if so.

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  1. Friday, 8 November 2019
  2. PowerBuilder
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This is a very interesting question and one that we would like to know too.

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  1. Friday, 8 November 2019
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  3. # 4
Chris Pollach Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Hi Miguel;

  For Q#2 ... there will be a new Web Browser native PB Control in PB 2019 R2.

Regards ... Chris

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Thank you Chris, yes I know. I've seen it as part of the R2 beta. But is that going to allow 64 bit executables?

If you don't know don't waste time, I'll just have to try it myself :)
  1. Miguel Leeuwe
  2. Friday, 8 November 2019
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