Delivering your application to end users

When you deliver the executable version of your application to users, you need to install all of the various files and programs in the right places, such as on their computers or on the network.

Automating the deployment process

If you want to automate the deployment process, you might want to use a software distribution application such as InstallShield. Such applications typically install all the executables, resource files, data sources, and configuration files your users need to run your application. They also update the users' initialization files and registry.

Installation checklist

You can use the following checklist to make sure you install everything that is needed. For easy reading, the checklist is divided into:

  • Installing environmental pieces

  • Installing application pieces

Installing environmental pieces

Checklist item


Install the PowerBuilder runtime DLLs.

You should install all of these DLL files (which contain the PowerBuilder execution system) locally on each user computer. They are needed to run PowerBuilder applications independently (outside the development environment). This applies to applications generated in machine code as well as those generated in Pcode.

For details on installing the runtime DLLs, see PowerBuilder runtime files.

Handling maintenance releases

If you are using a maintenance release of PowerBuilder in your development environment, make sure you provide users with the runtime DLLs from that maintenance release.

Install the database interface(s).

You should install on each user computer any database interfaces required by the application, such as the ODBC interface and other native database interfaces.

For details on installing any database interfaces you need, see Deploying Applications and Components. For more information about database interfaces, see Connecting to Your Database.

Configure any ODBC drivers you install.

If you install the ODBC interface (and one or more ODBC drivers) on user computers, you must also configure the ODBC drivers. This involves defining the specific data sources to be accessed through each driver.

For details on configuring ODBC drivers, see Using the ODBC Interface in Connecting to Your Database.

Set up network access if needed.

If the application needs to access any server databases or any other network services, make sure each user computer is properly connected.

Configure the operating (windowing) system.

A particular application might require some special adjustments to the operating or windowing system for performance or other reasons. If that is the case with your application, be sure to make those adjustments to each user computer.

Installing application pieces

Checklist item


Copy the executable application.

Make copies of the files that make up your executable application and install them on each user computer. These files can include:

  • The executable (EXE) file

  • Any dynamic libraries (DLL or PBD files)

  • Any files for resources you are delivering separately (such as ICO, BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, RLE, WMF, or CUR files)

Handling maintenance releases

If you plan to revise these files on a regular basis, you might want to automate the process of copying the latest versions of them from a server on your network to each user computer.

You might consider building this logic right into your application. You might also make it copy updates of the PowerBuilder runtime DLLs to a user's computer.

Copy any additional files.

Make copies of any additional files that the application uses and install them on each user computer. These files often include:

  • Initialization (INI) files

  • Help (CHM) files

  • Possibly various others such as text or sound files

In some cases, you might want to install particular files on a server instead of locally, depending on their use.

Copy any local databases to be accessed.

If the application needs to access a local database, copy the files that comprise that database and install them on each user computer.

Make sure that you also install the appropriate database interface and configure it properly if you have not already done so.

Install any other programs to be accessed.

If the application needs to access any external programs, install each one in an appropriate location -- either on every user computer or on a server.

Also, perform any configuration required to make those programs work properly. For example, you might need to register ActiveX controls. For more information, see Deploying ActiveX controls.

Ensure that the application can find the files it needs.

Make sure you install the various files that your application uses on paths where it can find them:

  • If the application refers to a file by a specific path, then install the file on that path.

  • If the application refers to a file by name only, then install the file on some path that the application is able to search -- typically the current one.

Update the system registry with values for the application.

If you rely on the Windows registry to manage certain information needed by the application, such as the application path, be sure to update the registry with such values.

Set up the application's icon.

To enable users to start the application, use the windowing system on each user computer to display the executable file's icon where you want.

Alternatively, users can also start the application in any other manner provided for native applications under their windowing system.

Starting the deployed application

Users can run your application just as they run other Windows applications. For example, they can double-click the executable file in Explorer or create an application shortcut on the desktop and double-click the shortcut.

If users create a shortcut, the Target text box on the Shortcut properties page should specify the path to the executable, and the Start In text box should specify the location of the runtime DLLs.