Delphi 2 - A Comparison of Client/Server Development Tools; PowerBuilder vs. Delphi

By: Borland Staff

Abstract: Delphi offers performance vastly superior to PowerBuilder. And only Delphi offersintegrated coding, debugging, testing, and deployment of client/serverapplications to increase developer productivity and applicationstability.

A Comparison of Client/Server Development Tools; Powerbuilder vs. Delphi.
By Michael Lant
Sphere Data Systems Inc.
NOTE: The views and information expressed in this document represent those of its author(s) who are solely responsible for its content. Borland does not make or give any representation or warranty with respect such content.


Summary: Only Delphi Client/Server Suite 2.0 delivers client and server development tools that allow developers to optimize applications for both sides of the client/server application. Delphi Client/Server Suite 2.0 incorporates a full suite of powerfully integrated development tools to assist the developer in building robust, full featured applications with optimal performance. Tools include:

SQL Monitor to trace client calls to the server and allow for optimization of database access.
SQL Explorer to browse and modify database information such as meta data.
Integrated industry standard PVCS Version control for sophisticated team development.
InterBase NT for creation and testing of high performance multi-user relational database applications.
Object Repository for optimal reusability of objects amongst the team.
Delphi Client / Server Suite 2.0 includes a complete set of tools for client side development and server management with exclusive tools like SQL Explorer, SQL Monitor, integrated PVCS version management, Object Repository, Scaleable Database Dictionary and InterBase NT. Together these tools offer the client/server developer the ability to create high performance, scaleable applications. For more information about any of these tools please consult "Delphi Client/Server Suite 2.0 Database Architecture White Paper."

On the other hand, PowerBuilder developers must purchase additional third party tools which represent additional costs to the company. Also, the tools are less integrated into the environment which results in higher development costs.

A. SQL Monitor Tunes Client/Server Applications
Delphi developers are provided with a powerful SQL monitor tool that displays a trace of vendor specific SQL commands that are sent to the server. Each line of the trace is time stamped which allows Delphi developers the opportunity to profile various query strategies and select an approach that is optimal. This results in:

reduced network traffic
high performing applications
PowerBuilder developers must turn to expensive and complex third party tools or, as is more often the case, spend many hours hand testing optimizations with mixed results.

Figure 5- Delphi Client / Server Suite 2.0 is the only RAD tool that integrates a native SQL monitor for testing, debugging and tuning SQL in Client / Server applications.

B. Database Dictionary Enforces Consistency
A database dictionary is an important tool for database developers. It carries a rich set of information about the database such as extended field attributes in order to enforce UI consistency and to speed application development. Only Delphi offers Drag and Drop client / server application building, and reusable attribute sets to increase productivity and increase ease of use. The Data Dictionary is scaleable so that attributes may be used with other projects and other database servers.

Figure 6- Delphi's Scaleable Data Dictionary maintains consistency by storing attribute sets for Database Schema.

Conclusion: Delphi's Data Dictionary has a more functional set of extended attributes than PowerBuilder to enforce consistency in application building. It also enables Drag and Drop Client/Server application development thereby increasing productivity. PowerBuilder's dictionary doesn't enable reusable attribute sets nor drag and drop application building.

C. SQL Explorer Administers MetaData
The SQL Explorer, unique to Delphi, makes database administration easier and more intuitive than having to use a separate non-integrated tool. A simple to use graphical interface is a perfect way to represent the complex relationships that exist in a database server. The SQL Explorer presents schema information from Oracle, Sybase, InterBase, Informix, DB2 and others. The developer can drag and drop fields, tables, and stored procedures onto the Delphi application form to build Client / Server database applications quickly. The developer can also issue SQL statements directed to multiple servers and multiple databases.

Figure 7: SQL Explorer is an integrated tool for administering SQL and PC Databases from within the Delphi Client / Server Suite 2.0 environment.

The SQL Explorer simplifies working with Server side data and saves development time. A Database Administrators valuable time is not relied upon to answers simple questions and the developer can achieve the same results quickly and easily thereby increasing productivity. Again, the PowerBuilder developer must purchase a separate tool; adding to their costs and decreasing productivity or have ready access to a DBA.

D. Integrated Version Control Manages Team Development
As developers work in teams, it becomes essential to establish an open environment to control and manage changes to the software systems they build. An effective mechanism for managing change enables safe co-development by eliminating overwritten code, conflicting versions, lost changes and bad builds.

Delphi Client/Server Suite 2.0 includes source code control with Intersolv's PVCS Version Manager, the industry standard, to allow a team of developers to work most efficiently.

Check In / Check Out capabilities supplemented with Visual Differencing, Reporting, and Archive management assists in the development of deployable applications. PVCS, the industry leading source code control and configuration management software, helps large teams of developers work together and reduce development "chaos." This in turn reduces errors and brings product to market more quickly and more profitably.

PowerBuilder merely provides a limited and hard to use interface to PVCS but does not include the version control software; this must be purchased separately at additional cost. Delphi provides a more integrated approach at lower cost to the organization.

Figure 8: Delphi Client/Server Suite 2.0 integrates Intersolv's PVCS Version Manager to facilitate team development.

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