PowerClient deployment

PowerBuilder 2019 R3 introduces a new project type: PowerClient. PowerClient changes the way of deploying and updating PowerBuilder applications. Regardless your application is client/server or cloud-native architecture, the PowerBuilder client is deployed from a web server over HTTP/HTTPS, and it can update itself automatically. This eliminates the headaches and costs of creating installation programs, deploying apps to users, and keeping apps updated.

Key Features:

  • Seamless installation, even without admin rights

  • Self-updating with flexible update strategies

  • Packages all necessary files (PBVM, OCXs, DLLs, etc.)

  • Automatic file encryption and integrity verification

  • Compatible with any Web server on any operating system

  • Deploy to the Web server over FTP or create .ZIP package

Cloud App Launcher:

The Cloud App Launcher is a launcher program that must be first installed to the user’s machine. It facilitates the initial installation and subsequent updates of your PowerBuilder applications over HTTP/HTTPS.

There are two launcher types. We recommend you test carefully to see which best meets your technical requirements:

  • Launcher without background service: This launcher program does NOT use a background service. As such, it should be easier to install and use and does not require administration rights. However, it has certain dependency on the browser, which may result in different installation experience depending on the browser used and its configuration. If there are multiple users on the client machine, the launcher will need to be installed for each user.

  • Launcher with background service: The launcher program uses a background service. If there are multiple users on the client machine, the launcher will need to be installed for each user, and only the first installation requires administrator rights to install and start the service. If the launcher is installed on the machine for the first time by a user without administrator rights, a window will pop up for inputting the administrator user name and password; after that, the other users also need to install the launcher but they do not need to have administrator rights, and all users will use the service started by the first installation. This launcher type does NOT have dependency on the browser.

Compilation Differences:

PowerClient only supports compiling as p-code files. The compilation is different from the traditional p-code approach. All PBD files are broken down very granularly into each individual object/definition file. For example, each SRW, SRD, SRU, etc. file would have its individual corresponding p-code file (that have new file extensions, such as .dwo, .apl, .fun, .win, .udo) instead of a monolithic PBD files. Also, by default the p-code files are encrypted so they cannot be readily decompiled.

For more, refer to this whitepaper: Automating On-Premise Deployment of PowerBuilder Apps.

With PowerClient, you can

  • Define a PowerClient project

  • Build and deploy the PowerClient project

  • Install and run the PowerClient project

  • Package the PowerClient project

  • Uninstall the PowerClient project

For detailed instructions, refer to the section called “Working with a PowerClient project” in Users Guide.

For a walkthrough of creating a PowerClient project, refer to the section called “Tutorial 1: Deploying your first PowerClient project” in Users Guide.


You must have a Professional or CloudPro license to use the PowerClient-related features.


You must run PowerBuilder IDE as administrator in order to use the PowerClient-related features.

Related features

Two system functions IsPBApp and IsPowerClientApp are added to check if the current application is a native C/S application compiled using p-code/machine code or an application deployed using PowerClient.