Working with tools

PowerBuilder provides a variety of tools to help you with your development work. There are several ways to open tools:

  • Click a button in the PowerBar for the tool you want

  • Select the tool from the Tools menu

  • Open the New dialog box and select the tool you want on the Tool tab page

The following table lists the tools available in the PowerBar. Some of these tools are also listed on the Tools menu.


What you use the tool for

To-Do List

Keep track of development tasks you need to do for the current target and create links to get you quickly to the place where you need to complete the tasks. For information, see Using the To-Do List.


View information about system objects and objects in your target, such as properties, events, functions, and global variables, and copy, export, or print the information. For information, see Browsing the class hierarchy.

Library painter

Manage libraries, create a new library, build dynamic libraries, and use source control.

Database profiles

Define and use named sets of parameters to connect to a particular database. For information, see the section called “Using database profiles” in Connecting to Your Database.

Database painter

For information, see Managing the Database.

File Editor

Edit text files such as source, resource, and initialization files. For information, see Using the file editor.


Set breakpoints and watch expressions, step through your application, examine and change variables during execution, and view the call stack and objects in memory. For information, see Debugging and Running Applications.

The following table lists the tools you can launch from the Tool tab page in the New dialog box. You can also launch the Library painter and File Editor from this dialog box.


What you use the tool for

Migration Assistant

Scans PowerBuilder libraries and highlights usage of obsolete functions and events. For information, see the section called “Migrating targets”.

DataWindow Syntax

Helps construct the syntax required by Modify, Describe, and SyntaxFromSQL functions. For information, see the section called “Using DWSyntax” in DataWindow Programmers Guide.

Profiling Class View, Profiling Routine View, and Profiling Trace View

Use trace information to create a profile of your application. For information, see Tracing and Profiling Applications.

Using the To-Do List

The To-Do List displays a list of development tasks you need to do. You can create tasks for any target in the workspace or for the workspace itself. A drop-down list at the top of the To-Do List lets you choose which tasks to display. To open the To-Do List, click the To-Do List button in the PowerBar or select Tools>To-Do List from the menu bar.

To-Do List entries

The entries on the To-Do list are created:

  • Automatically by most PowerBuilder wizards to guide you through the continued development of objects of different types that you will need to build the application or component specified by the wizard

  • At any time by you when you are working in a painter and want a link to a task that you want to remember to complete

Some To-Do List entries created by wizards are hot-linked to get you quickly to the painter (and the specific object you need) or to a wizard. You can also create an entry yourself that links to the PowerBuilder painter where you are working so you can return to the object or script (event/function and line) you were working on when you made the entry. When you move the pointer over entries on the To-Do list, the pointer changes to a hand when it is over a linked entry.

For example, if you generate an MDI application with the Template Application wizard, one of the linked entries on the To-Do List reminds you to register new sheets with the sheet manager service, which is a nonvisual user object created by the wizard. Double-clicking this entry automatically opens the Window painter and the Script view where you register new sheets.

Exporting and importing lists

You can export or import a To-Do List by selecting Export or Import from the pop-up menu. Doing this is useful if you want to move from one computer to another or you need to work with To-Do Lists as part of some other system such as a project management system.

Linked entries

If you import a list from another workspace or target, or from a previous version of PowerBuilder, linked entries will display in the list but the links will not be active.

Working with entries on the To-Do List

The following table tells you how to work with entries on the To-Do List.


Do this

See linked entries

Move the pointer over the entries. A hand displays when the entry you are over is linked.

Use a linked entry to get to a painter or wizard

Double-click the linked entry or select it and then select Go To Link from the pop-up menu.

Add an entry with no link

Select Add from the pop-up menu.

Add a linked entry to a painter that edits objects

With the painter open, select Add Linked from the pop-up menu.

Add an entry for a specific target

If the To-Do List is open, select the target from the drop-down list at the top of the To-Do List and add the entry.

If the To-Do List is closed, select a target in the System Tree, open the To-Do List, and add the entry.

Add an entry for the workspace

Select Current Workspace from the drop-down list at the top of the To-Do List and add the entry.

Change the list that displays

Select a specific target or Current Workspace from the drop-down list at the top of the To-Do List. To display tasks for all targets and the workspace, select All Items.

Change an entry's position on the list

Drag the entry to the position you want.

Edit or delete an entry

Select Edit or Delete from the pop-up menu.

Delete checked entries or all entries

Select Delete Checked or Delete All from the pop-up menu.

Check or uncheck an entry

Click in the margin to the left of the entry or select an entry and then select Check/Uncheck from the pop-up menu.

Export a To-Do List

Select Export from the pop-up menu, name the To-Do List text file, and click Save.

Import a To-Do List

Select Import from the pop-up menu, navigate to an exported To-Do List text file, and click Open.

Using the file editor

One of the tools on the PowerBar and Tools menu is a text editor that is always available. Using the editor, you can view and modify text files (such as initialization files and tab-separated files with data) without leaving PowerBuilder. Among the features the file editor provides are find and replace, undo, importing and exporting text files, and dragging and dropping text.

Setting file editing properties

The file editor has font properties and an indentation property that you can change to make files easier to read. If you do not change any properties, files have black text on a white background and a tab stop setting of 3 for indentation. Select Design>Options from the menu bar to change the tab stop and font settings.

Editor properties apply elsewhere

When you set properties for the file editor, the settings also apply to the Function painter, the Script view, the Source editor, the Interactive SQL view in the Database painter, and the Debug window.

Dragging and dropping text

To move text, simply select it, drag it to its new location, and drop it. To copy text, press the Ctrl key while you drag and drop the text.