Furniture Retail Operations Group Uses Revelation to Help Power its Business

The September 19, 2016 issue of Database Trends and Applications features an article written by Stephanie Simone titled Furniture Retail Operations Group Uses Revelation to Help Power its Business.

The Furniture Retail Operations Group (FROG) provides innovative, yet easy to use IT solutions for furniture and appliance stores.  Its mission is to create reliable and cost-effective methods that allow home furnishings retailers to operate more efficiently.

The company’s KISS system is a fully integrated point-of-sale solution for Windows built by experts in furniture operations to make companies more efficient in how they operate. In order to get the most out of this system, fix problems, and create new solutions and projects, FROG uses Revelation Software’s OpenInsight solution.

The OpenInsight Windows application is a big part of FROG’s ability to run its business, according to David Hatcher, director of software services at FROG.  Keeping the system running 24/7 to support customers means FROG needs a foundation that’s reliable and Revelation delivers that.

Choosing OpenInsight
“OpenInsight is what handles the data,” Hatcher said. “The nice thing is that it has a CGI (common gateway interface) for web-based data handling. An OpenInsight windows interface takes the same data from the internet, from an app, from a browser or from within the built-in Windows application all at same time, in real time. From any device, we can get into the system to manipulate data, keep track of customers, and do what need to do to keep business going.”

FROG’s data management system was created in the late 1980s on PICK mini-computers and Revelation technology helped the company move from that platform to the first DOS-based system.

“We’ve been able to maintain same data structure through those decades. Some code from the old Pick system was even ported to the DOS system and then later to Windows,” Hatcher said.  “The data control on even the new capabilities we develop often has 25 years of testing behind it so we don’t have many of the problems that can come up with new development using a new system.”

The ability to keep the environment stable while having the flexibility to evolve and change has been a key reason why FROG continues to utilize Revelation’s systems, he said.

Evolving with Revelation
In addition to using OpenInsight at the back end for many years, FROG more recently began using O4W (OpenInsight for Web) in its web applications.

“Most of our new development is on O4W,” he said.  “As we move more and more of the system to apps, eventually our system will eventually be 100% application-on-cloud and we’ll have no need for Windows anymore.”

The latest initiative FROG has underway involves OpenInsight and Google geocoding and tracking to route and monitor trucks, according to Hatcher.  “It has heat maps of where our customers are for ad purposes and we can see anything we want to know about customers through these maps which are linked into apps suite.”

Meeting New Goals
By working with Revelation, FROG has been able to shift technologically into anything, anywhere, Hatcher explained.  “The advancements with CGI and Revelation’s O4W keep data flowing out to the latest and greatest apps and that’s been extremely useful.”

Revelation is always ahead of the curve, keeping up with latest trends and sensing where the market is going, he noted.  “They react to new capabilities the technology sector is developing but also knows what to retain so we can keep the same database and stay on the leading edge,” Hatcher said.

‘The advancements with CGI and Revelation’s O4W keep data flowing out to the latest and greatest apps and that’s been extremely useful.’

Because of Revelation’s innovations and foresight it has never made sense to switch to another provider, he said.  Revelation’s ability to stay with the same data structure, move through several transitional kinds of interfaces, and ability to provide constant upgrades, has made it easier on FROG to keep its system going.

“We didn’t have to rewrite for all the changes,” Hatcher said. “The ability to transition has been greatly simplified by keeping data separate from the user interface as technology changes.”

What’s Ahead
Preparing for the future, FROG is in the process of enhancing its database to make sure it runs faster, and apps perform reliably and smoothly as the company runs into more internet networking situations, Hatcher explained. The plan is to be able to offer its services exclusively through apps in the cloud.

“Building apps for the system was a big step forward and we’re looking forward to having the ability to go into back end with a new engine Revelation is working on,” Hatcher said.

<Article sourced from Revelation Software’s monthly newsletter>

OpenInsight 10 Features

Assertions in Basic+

For those of you who have done any Java or C/C++ programming in the past, assertions may be a familiar programming construct.  For those who have not, an assertion is simply a way of embedding tests in your programs to check that a condition is true: if the condition evaluates to false then the program stops to display a message informing you of the failure, and presents a set of choices for dealing with it.

Assertions are basically “sanity checks” that you can employ anywhere in your programs to ensure that the state of your data is as you expect it.  You should use normal error-handling code for errors you expect; you should use assertions for errors that should never occur.

Read On…

Understanding the Linear Hash SIZELOCK parameter and Best Practice Usage

The sizelock parameter is used to control the automatic resizing of the primary address space.  A sizelock of “0” indicates that a table should be allowed to expand as more rows are entered, and become smaller as rows are deleted.  A sizelock of “1” indicates that a table should be allowed to expand, but should not become smaller.  This is useful in cases of a presized table, when a preliminary expectation is for the table to hold 1000 rows, but more rows may be added.  If a sizelock is set to “2” or more, the table is not allowed to expand or contract.  A sizelock of “2” is very important during a select operation executed on a network, when one user is searching a table for information while another user is entering new data.

Read On...

Running two instances of OI10

OK, so this posting is more as a reminder for me going forward than anything else.  Last weekend I was working with the OI10 Alpha and I wanted to copy things from one instance of OI10 to another. However, I was blocked because I was only permitted to use one engine and it was being used by the first instance of OI.  I thought that this might have been a restriction but I reported it anyway.

It turns out that this is another setting in the new .rxi file that is used by OpenInsight when first launched.  I have a couple of .rxi files on my system, so the first challenge was to work out which one I needed to change.  This is pretty easy to work out, you just follow these rules:

  1. If the RX switch is used in the shortcut, you’ll use that .rxi file.
  2. If none is defined then OI10 will look for a .rxi file with the same name as the application that you are loading with the /AP switch.
  3. If there is no application defined using the /AP switch, then Oi10 assumes SYSPROG and it’ll use that .rxi file.

So, after a quick check, I’m using SYSPROG, or the SYSPROG.rxi file in my bin32 folder under the OI installation.

I initially guessed that my issue was the <singleInstance> entry which was set to 1, but Carl quickly put me straight and told me that heading will shortly be changed.  In the meantime, he’s told me to look at the <serverName> entry in my .rxi file.  Because I have a serverName set, I am effectively trying to use the same engine as the first instance and Oi behaves correctly and stops the session.  All I need to do is clear the entry by setting it to nothing and then OI will launch as many instances as my license count permits.

Starting OI10 is fully documented in the ‘OpenInsight 10 Presentation Server Object Model’ documentation.  This is a work in progress document that is already into 272 pages but today has been yet another reminder of the numerous options that the guys are exposing to developers when launching OpenInsight.

Consider the .rxi file as a more powerful OInsight.ini file and you won’t go far wrong.  Just don’t do what I did and blindly dive in.  Please take some time to better understand the .rxi files as noted on Carl’s OI10 blog and also in the paperwork when eventually published and released.

For now, I’ll be back into my OI10 Alpha project later today for more learning.



OI10 Alpha 3

OI10whiteThis is just a quick reminder that the Alpha 3 is available to all OpenInsight WORKS members via the WORKS area on

Whereas previous alpha releases were full installation only, this release is provided as a full installation or and upgrade, allowing you to continue any work that you have done in the previous Alpha 2 release.

This version includes many enhancements to the IDE, Form Designer, Table Builder and O4W.  In fact O4W sees a lot of change and it is now badged as OpenInsight for Web (O4W) v2.0.

O4W 2.0 is a rapid application development tool that enables you to very quickly and easily generate responsive forms, reports and dashboards.   This new version supports more drag and drop functionality and it now enables developers to lay out forms using the drag and drop features.  Once complete, you can then test them in both desktop and mobile browser modes, or you can use O4W’s full-function API to create the most sophisticated web pages for just about any mobile or desktop device that runs a browser.


This one is more of a reminder to myself for when I take another look at my CRM system interface in a few weeks time but whilst working on a clients interface (a personal project), I needed to set the size of my MDIChild windows.

I’d set the option to Window’s ‘Frame’ option to ‘Thin’ and it displays just fine in test mode when the window runs on its own.  However, Windows overrides this when it is run as an MDIChild window and the frame becomes thick and the window is therefore sizeable.

I search around for a solution but needed the help of our resident OI Guru (thanks Carl) to point me in the right direction.  The cursor still displays with the arrows over the frame but I’ll look at that later.  For now, the code below (lifted straight form the OI help files) sorts me out just fine.

*/ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
*/ 16/09/2016 - MDP
*/ Set the frame to not allow the users to change the size

    CurSize = Get_Property(@Window, "SIZE")

    MinW = CurSize<3>
    MinH = CurSize<4>
    MaxW = CurSize<3>
    MaxH = CurSize<4>

    x = Set_Property(@Window,"TRACKINGSIZE",MinW:@FM:MinH:@FM:MaxW:@FM:MaxH)

*/ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------



MyESS goes mobile

myess-mobileIt has been quite sometime since I first helped to take Ardbrook’s data onto the web with a fledgling O4W based application to illustrate an idea.  Bill and the team took what I had built, developed it further and commercialised it as a product ready for release to their customer base and new clients.

With numerous extremely high profile clients now using the ESS system, the team at Ardbrook have taken the solution one step further into the mobile world.  They have now released a wonderful mobile application that runs on your Android or iOS based smartphone.

The application enables employees to gain access to their current payslip from anywhere and at any time.  Furthermore, the solution provides access for past payslips and also copies of the employee’s P60, both going back over numerous years.

This is a really nice looking solution that empowers employees, whilst at the same time reducing admin for the Human Resources departments.  It is also perfect for payroll bureaux’s and large or small businesses alike.

If you would like to know more and see the application in action, please click here for their short demo video (includes sound).