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Tip of the Day
Language: SQL
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 24, 1997

New Features

Question:
What are some of the new features of Power Objects Version 2?

Answer:
The major new features of Version 2.0 include:

    New platforms - OPO will continue to support both Intel and Macintosh platforms. Support for additional Intel platforms will spread to Windows95 and Windows NT, both native 32-bit versions. Version 2 will also include a native Power Macintosh version.

    In case you haven't already heard, the OPO team has dropped development of an OS/2 version.

    ODBC support - OPO V2 will be able to access many databases through ODBC. Oracle will use ODBC drivers from Intersolv, drivers that will be available on all OPO platforms. ODBC connectivity will support SQLServer, Access, Informix, Paradox, and dBase-type databases, as well as the use of Excel spreadsheets or straight text files as data sources in your database sessions. Since you will be able to define these data sources as sessions, you will be able to use the standard drag-and-drop method for migrating data between these sources or the currently supported Oracle databases.

    In addition, Personal Oracle Lite, discussed briefly below, will support ODBC access. This essentially means you can access data from other databases used by other development tools; likewise, your local and remote databases will be accessible from other development tools.

    Grid object - OPO Version 1 had the repeater object, but it wasn't the same as a grid object. For instance, the repeater object did not support a horizontal scroll bar, so the repeater could not display more information than could be seen in the width of the repeater.

    The grid object will be a container that can be bound to a data source. The grid includes the ability to do horizontal scrolling. It'll also feature advanced display capabilities, such as automatic column headings and resizable columns at design and run time.

    OCX support - OPO V2 will include many different OCX controls, which encapsulate functionality, much like the standard controls in the OPO development environment. The final release of Version 2 will contain between 10 and 20 OCXs.

    They'll include:

    • a calendar control
    • an animated push button control
    • a list box control
    • a communications control that will allow your OPO app to talk directly with communications ports, common dialog and tab controls
    • multimedia controls, and
    • a text control

    The good news is that these controls can add a lot to the capabilities of your Power Objects applications. The bad news, depending on your cross-platform needs, is that OCX objects are created according to Microsoft standards, so they won't work on the Macintosh.

    Crystal Reports - One of the weaker areas of OPO V1 was the reporting. It's true that the report interface had some nice features, such as the same interface as the forms designer, but by and large the reporting capabilities were quite limited.

    The new OPO will include a version of Crystal Reports, the industry standard for graphical report writers. You will be able to use Crystal Reports on all OPO platforms. Through the intervention of Oracle, Mac developers can now get one of the leading report writers - but only with Power Objects.

    OLE server support - Version 2.0 will allow Power Objects to act as an OLE server. What this basically means is that other applications, such as CASE tools, will be able to drive OPO and accomplish tasks such as automatically creating OPO applications. Enterprising developers will probably be able to take this functionality to create their own OPO code generators.

    Just like OCXs, the OLE server capabilities of OPO will only work on Intel platforms.

    Internet support - Everyone wants to get involved with the Internet, and with V2 you can do it from your own OPO apps. You will be able to view any Internet documents by using the Power Browser OCX, a browser that is a part of the Oracle Web system.

    Even more exciting, you will be able to call any of your OPO apps directly from a variety of different browsers, since any compiled OPO app can be used as a plug-in. Calling an OPO app from an HTML document in a browser can be accomplished with a single line of code.

    You will be able to use OPO as a platform to develop client/server applications that can be spawned from the Internet. To top it all off, Crystal Reports supports the generation of reports as HTML documents, so you could call your OPO application from a browser, do some interactive client/server processing and use Crystal Reports to create a new HTML form based on the results of the interaction.

    Personal Oracle Lite - Finally, Blaze is going away, to be replaced by Personal Oracle Lite, which will have a small footprint, is promised to be much faster than Blaze (I mean, uh, even faster than Blaze) and will be accessible using ODBC drivers. Personal Oracle Lite is not included in the first beta release, but the final product will include the new database and a migration tool to convert your Blaze databases to Personal Oracle Lite.

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