One Evening = One Application


I was recently asked by someone looking at using OpenInsight for the first time, “How quickly can I really build a small system in OpenInsight 10?”.  Naturally, being a salesperson, the answer was “Very quickly and you’ll be surprised just how quickly.”

This evening I had the opportunity to put this to the test.

As many of my readers will know, I am some months into building a large system that I hope to take to market very soon.  This system uses authorisation keys to set (and update) the user count and the expiry date in the system.  It is nice feature in the application, but it is not overly clever.  However, I find myself having to manually create the authorisation keys from time to time and this was becoming tedious.

I therefore decided to build myself a small application in OpenInsight 10 to help me to generate the authorisation keys and then to keep a history of who has had keys, when, with how many users, etc.

Whilst I did not time this mini- project, all of the following has been achieved by a junior application developer (me) in one evening.  That includes defining the application, building the three data tables, the four forms and all of the popups, messages, etc.  It also involved writing two commuter modules to support the Customers and Key Generation forms.

As is usual for my systems, the application operates from a main MDI Frame window, as shown below.  Granted, I need to tidy a few things up (like the menus), but remember this is an example of what can be achieved in a few short hours and by a junior.

The MDI Frame is used to display all of the application’s windows and these are launched from the three buttons on the toolbar.  The fourth button being the Exit button, which closes down everything.  All of these buttons are operated by CLICK quick-events.  i.e. I did not have to write any code to get anything working in this form.  In fact, it does not even have a commuter module defined for the window.

You could say that the MDI Frame window is a NO CODE form, but that is a private joke which anyone that follows the Google Pick discussion forum will understand ;).

KeyGen-1

The next form is the Customers form, which enables me to capture some basic contact information for my customers.  At the bottom of the screen is a table which uses some symbolic fields, a relational data table and a relational index to display all of the authorisation key records that are linked to the Customer.  This enables me to see when  keys have been generated, the user count and the expiry date for that entry.  It will build into a history of the license over time.

Again, I needed to write very little code to operate this form.  The code is pretty much limited to a Changed and a Clear event to set the toolbar buttons from disabled to enabled (and vice versa), Click events for the Cut, Copy and Paste buttons and a Click event for the Email Address label.  So very little code and what code there is in the commuter module is very basic code.  To be honest, most of the code was pulled in from my commuter module template, which already had the code for the Cut, Copy and Paste buttons and to enable and disable the Save, Clear and Delete buttons accordingly.

KeyGen-3

The Customer ID label will, when clicked, display a standard record lookup window and when the Email Address label is clicked the user’s email client will launch and the system drops in the email address automatically.  Otherwise the buttons all drive the system and the combo boxes are all populated from the System Codes data table.

KeyGen-4The System Codes window is pretty straight forward with (not including the toolbar) only two key controls which use just three dictionary items (fields) in the database.

“Again, this is a no code form where I do not even have a commuter module defined.”

The combo box is populated using the Auto-fill feature in OpenInsight, which means that the pick list will always be up to date as new code categories are added.

The user then simply adds a new code category (COUNTIES in the example) and then in the table, they enter a MultiValued list of code and descriptions.   As soon as the record is saved, those new descriptions are available to the users in the Customer’s data entry form.

KeyGen-2

The last and most complex window is the Authorisation Key Generator window.

The form itself is not at all complicated and it was very easy to build, but the commuter module behind the form took some time for me to build.

The form uses my usual quick event to launch the Popup (record lookup window) and this in turn reads (displays) the record in the form.  A similar popup is used to select the Licensee’s record ID and to write that to the appropriate edit line.  When the Licensee’s ID is chosen the Licensee’s name is displayed.  This is a calculated field (a symbolic) which brings together the customer’s First Name and Last Name from the Customer’s data table.

KGImage-5The system has been designed to cater for 1 to 9,999 users.  A message will display if the user tries to enter 10,000 or more users.  Again, the message (as shown) is created without any code and it is called using only a few very short lines of code.  The code simply checks for the number of users and then it makes a call to display the saved message if the user count is over 9,999. 

The calendar button launches a standard OpenInsight 10 calendar, from which a date can be selected and this is written to the Expiry Date edit line.  The buttons on the toolbar are all Quick Events.

Once the User Count and Expiry Date fields have been completed, the Key button on the toolbar can be clicked and this will format the authorisation key using certain random  characters and formatted with hyphens.  The authorisation key is truly random, with a unique key being generated every time the key button is pressed, even when the user count and expiry date does not change.

Anyway, it is now getting late and I’ll leave the following items for tomorrow evening:

  1. I need to configure all of the menus.  The system is run by the buttons at the moment.
  2. I need to make sure that an expiry date is a date in the future.

It will then be completed and ready for use.  Not too much left to do then, a nice little authorisation key generation application done and a good evenings work.

All thanks to OpenInsight 10 and how easy the tool set makes it
to build systems like this 🙂

Elkie catches up with Mike


1P7A8552

Following our recent announcement of the release of OpenInsight 10.0.7, Elkie Holland from Prospectus IT Recruitment recently caught up with Mike Ruane to talk about this new release.

The new version includes many customer requested features and enhancements for both OpenInsight developers and MultiValue developers more widely.

You can read Elkie’s report of the catch up at https://www.prospectus.co.uk/blog/2019/09/catch-up-with-mike-ruane-and-all-things-revelation

 

 

 

Sorry


PropertyGrid2Someone asked me a couple of days ago, why I have been so quiet on the blog, etc.  The truth is, that I have been heads down for the last few months building a new system for a client.

This system is taking all of my time (including a lot of my personal time) and finding time to update the blog has come second place.  No excuses, that is just the way that it is.  So mixed with OI development, photography gigs and sleep, there has been little time for anything else.

That said the project is coming along well and I continue to be amazed at what a junior application developer can achieve with OpenInsight 10.  Yes, I continue to make mistakes but I continue along the learning curve and things are definitely getting easier and quicker.

A fun week playing with the Internal 10.0.7 pre-release.

Just this week, I was given access to the internal 10.0.7 pre-release.  The subsequent testing had me find a small bug and yes, I did do something unexpected, and yes, I am that monkey and if you give me a nice shiny new gun, well, I ‘will’ shoot myself.  Anyway, this has given me with a few minutes to take a step back and catch up with the blog and other things.

However, despite the bug (which has already been diagnosed and fixed) 10.0.7 looks to be another big step forward and it is definitely getting to the point (in my opinion, it’s there now) where existing OpenInsight , ARev and MV developers more widely should be taking a close look at using OI10 modernise their development and their systems.

Videoing your OI based application


IMG_1181I’ll be the first to admit that, the above image is not a very pretty sight, but this is where is all happens – the recording of my YouTube videos of course.

It is a hive of furious activity at the moment and I really cannot crank out these OpenInsight 10 (OI10) lessons quickly enough.

Anyway, a few people have been asking me what I use, how I prepare, what my workflow is and the like.  This has got me thinking and it builds on a conversation that I’ve been having with one of my UK VARs over recent months.

I am considering offering my skills to any Revelation Software VAR who needs to put together one or more videos for their OpenInsight based application.  This could be a short introduction video, a training video or three, or anything else that you need.  These would primarily be screen cast type videos, but we could consider personal videos (i.e. you in the video) if you prefer.  That said, this proposal is more about getting your application in front of people and having it on YouTube, Vimeo or wherever you prefer.

Video really is one of the first ports of call when people are researching and evaluating things and software is no exception.

So, if this is something that you might be interested in exploring please comment below, or drop me an email if you’d prefer to keep things offline.

 

 

Quick Catch Up


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQlgupnihVejmHBPzbKlJeA
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQlgupnihVejmHBPzbKlJeA

So, I’ve been quiet on the blog for a few days but I’ve been far from quiet in the office.  As well as the day job, I have been busy creating OpenInsight 10 (OI10) Lesson videos and there are currently ten lessons online.  I’m now getting into building forms, so now is a good time to head over to my new OI10 YouTube Channel, catch up on what I’ve been doing and also please remember to subscribe.

Subscribing and commenting lets me know that it is worth my time creating these videos and that people are finding them useful or not.  If you are a positive comment, a like and subscribe online would be welcome.  If not, please drop me an email explaining why and I’ll try to change before I get too much further into the series.

I am also pleased to feature the RevUS DBTA video from yesterday.  This is a video that features Mike Ruane, Bryan Shumsky and Bob Catalano (all from Revelation Software in the USA) all talking about the many “Features and Benefits of OpenInsight 10”.

In addition, and a first for my YouTube channels, I have a guest presenter.  Andrew from Sprezzatura worked on something for me recently and which will become a big time saver and another example of using the OI10 tool set, rather than cutting and maintaining code.  His video went live this afternoon on the channel.

Anyway, please like, subscribe and comment and help me to keep putting in the hours to get the series of lessons completed and, once that’s done, I’ll be looking for other OI related subjects, hints, tips and how-to’s to video.

The channel can be found here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQlgupnihVejmHBPzbKlJeA

OI10 Productivity features SRP love.


SRPProductsYou will have noticed just recently that I have become more excited about the OpenInsight 10 release and how it helps application developers to get more done, more quickly, with less code, etc. etc.

Over the weekend, Don from SRP joined in with the excitement of this ground breaking release with an SRP blog posting which looks at some of the OpenInsight 10 learning resources that are now becoming available and he touches on the productivity features in OpenInsight 10 that he and the team at SRP are falling in love with and which will no doubt help them to continue to deliver great systems for their clients and now more easily and in a quicker time.

Unless you’ve stayed in extended winter hibernation, you already know that Revelation Software officially released OpenInsight 10 three weeks ago. Furthermore, SRP embraced this release and was pleased to announce the general availability of our 64-bit controls and freeware utilities. The number of new enhancements and features in OpenInsight 10 can be overwhelming to learn. Fortunately, there are a number of articles and opportunities available to quickly get you up to speed. We encourage our readers to visit the following sites:

Click below to read more of Don’s latest posting.

http://blog.srpcs.com/openinsight-10-productivity-features-we-love/ 

Ready for all those slow down questions?


benchtestresultsOne of my hottest topics when talking to people is performance.  Everyone wants their systems to run faster and faster, or at least as fast as possible.  So, when a user’s machine suddenly begins to run slower, the support lines usually light up and we need to know the reasons why.

Microsoft have been one of the first organisations to go public on a slowdown that will be introduced as part of updates that they are currently rolling out to just about every Windows machine.  This is a necessary update to address a very serious CPU vulnerability that could leave sensitive data open to access by hackers.  If you and your users are running the latest Windows 10 updates, then you will most likely not notice much of a change.  It’s said that the percentage slowdown on the latest Windows 10 operating system is in the single percentage digits, so somewhere between 1 and 9%.  When we are talking milliseconds, most users will not notice.

However, for people running older Windows 10 versions, Windows 8, Windows 7 and anyone mad enough to still be running older versions of Windows, the performance hit will almost definitely be noticeable, with talk of performance hits of up to 30%.

Now, that IS some significant hit on our valuable time.

RevUS will shortly be pushing out a formal announcement and I’ll share that with my readers.  In the meantime, I feel that it will be very worthwhile for all technical support and account managers who are involved with supporting and managing OI based systems, to read the following articles:

https://newsstand.google.com/articles/CAIiECBFhLaOKoHY4QkVsN5dgYIqFwgEKg4IACoGCAow3O8nMMqOBjCkztQD

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/04/meltdown-spectre-computer-processor-intel-security-flaws-explainer

I’d like to thank Mike Ruane for giving me a heads up on this important issue that is sure to have our users emailing and phoning us when their OI based systems begin to run slower.  Naturally, the best advice (as always) is to make sure that your systems are being deployed to properly patched Windows operating systems and that you are running OpenInsight 9.4 or later with the Universal Driver 4.7.2 or later.