What Does PowerBuilder Mean?

PowerBuilder is a rapid application development tool for building, maintaining and modernizing business-critical Windows applications that is owned by Sybase, a division of SAP. Powerbase makes prototype construction easier and permits developers to create client/server, Web and distributed applications for Win32, .NET and Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (JEE) platforms.


PowerBuilder has a data window that creates, edits and displays data. It is capable of creating databases through an object-oriented interface. It accesses other databases using open database connectivity (ODBC). PowerBuilder offers native interfaces to support many major databases. PowerBuilder is widely used by companies in the financial, telecommunications and manufacturing sectors, as well as in government agencies.

Techopedia Explains PowerBuilder

PowerBuilder mainly focuses on business applications, although a few versions support applications on mobile devices housing .NET interaction and data window innovations. It is a fourth-generation object-oriented programming language that builds client-server applications and is a graphical user interface (GUI) development tool running on Windows 32- and 64-bit operating systems.

The language used to program PowerBuilder is called Powerscript, which is an object-oriented language. It supports inheritance, polymorphism and encapsulation. Programmers use a common code framework called PowerBuilder foundation classes (PFC) to inherit objects from pre-existing code. PowerBuilder applications are compiled to p-code, which is then interpreted by Power Builder run time.

The component that makes PowerBuilder so powerful is a data window, which permits data access, retrieval, filtering and sorting capabilities. The data window uses a visual SQL painter that supports unions, joins and sub-query operations, allowing developers to handle SQL queries. Data window updates produce SQL at run time.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.