Snakes and Ladders


Over the last year or so, I’ve heard more and more about Python and how development tools need to support the language.  I’m told that students are leaving college with Python experience and it is therefore a great way to bring new, engaging and dynamic ideas into the development community and the MultiValue market could sure do with a dose of that right now.  In addition, some of the MultiValue manufacturers are riding the current wave and actively promoting their support for Python.

Whilst there have been questions from the MultiValue community about who might be using Python, I’m yet to come across many people who have actually taken the plunge and it’s been a largely mute topic within our own Revelation community in the EMEA region – until this week though.

It is no secret that many OpenInsight developers are remaining in position and not moving around too much.  Coupled with the fact that the MultiValue market place is getting older and developers are retiring (it is an inevitable fact), and we find that we need to resource projects from outside of the community.  Just recently Andrew, from Sprezzatura, has completed another series of tutorial workshops for another RevUK client.  Like the previous workshop, this one included a number of highly skilled professional developers from India.  The first OpenInsight VAR was extending their internal team using their own developers in India, this time it was a pure outsourcing deal to expand the development and support resources.

Enter the snake (Python).  Yet another OpenInsight development house looked outside of the community to expand their team and the chosen candidate has been getting to grips with the toolset ahead of starting their position later this week.  As part his first steps with OpenInsight, he asked about support for other database technologies and this week Python finally came up.

It was only to be a matter of time before someone asked me about
OpenInsight and python.

A quick email to support and Bob Carten got back to me with the usual response that I’ve become used to from the OI development team, “Of course we can do that”.

The specific request was whether Python scripts could be easily and reliably called from within OpenInsight using the Quick Event tied to a button.  The pretty straight forward and basic request resulted in a detailed reply from Bob:

“Yes, you can call Python scripts from OpenInsight.  The simplest way is to use the utility ‘RUNWIN’ service:

    cmd = 'py ': quote(filename)
    call Utility("RUNWIN", cmd, 0)

The attached py_shell (Bob included this as a .txt document in his reply email to me) is an example program which would let you pass in the name of a python file or just the body of a python script.  At the end it just calls Utility “RUNWIN”, the rest is window dressing.

However, that window dressing demonstrates some common techniques we use for writing object-ish programs in OpenInsight.  The typical use case for these techniques is creating commuter modules for OpenInsight forms.  We use the term “commuter module” to describe a program which handles all the events for a window.  We have a standard quick event which will call your commuter module.  For a window named “MYWINDOW”, the commuter module is a Basic+ program named MYWINDOW or MYWINDOW_EVENTS, which follows some conventions.  The attached RTI_LH_STATISTICS_EVENTS program (again attached in Bob’s email to me) is an example of a commuter module.  You can cannibalize it for your own modules.  The relevant parts are from line 1 to 81, which is where it implements the “interface” for commuter modules.

See “

Please drop me an email if you would like a copy of the py_shell.txt and rti_lh_statistics_events.txt files that Bob included in his email.

So that’s the snake, what about the ladder?

OpenInsight 10 is giving developers a real step up the ladder when it comes to Rapid Application Development.  So much is done for you and I find myself simply setting a property in the Property Panel, rather than writing, debugging and maintaining lines of code.  Better still, I’m then using optimised professionally written code and not code that I have cobbled together – well I’m no professional developer.

Anyway, I’m told that support for third party code gets even better in OpenInsight 10 and Bob is using the new technique a lot as part of RTI_GIT, which is one of OpenInsight’s native support programs for Git.

More on that in another posting, coming soon.


OI10 Conversion Process and New Examples Application

OpenInsight 10 LogoOK, I lie ever so slightly, the new Examples application is the old examples application but with a slightly enhanced user interface but it certainly feels new.

I have now converted a few applications from OpenInsight 9.x to OpenInsight version 10 and I’m always pleased with the results.  It started with me cutting my teeth on the EXAMPLES application and then I moved on to my larger RevSoft UK Contact Manager.  The later benefited from a couple of weeks of evenings working on the user interface before I deleted the old 9.4.2 version and moved 100% OI10.

So, a few people have asked me to produce a video of the conversion process and I’m pleased to announce that both that video and a look at an early version of the new examples application is now online and copied below.

Please note that this is a relatively new YouTube Channel.  I decided to drop the old one with the old 9.x videos in order to provide a clean break between the two and avoid confusion.  For this reason, please subscribe to the new YouTube channel for periodic updates as I produce more OI10 videos.


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:

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.

OI 9.4.3 Released

OI Eye SquareFirstly, may I wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2018.  With the expected release of OpenInsight 10, it is looking like being a great year for Revelation, our clients and the MultiValue world in general.

News of the Beta progress is already reaching the wider MultiValue community and I’m already getting calls from a few people excited about what OI10 will offer the community in supporting their existing database technologies.

Anyway, the main reason for this blog posting is to announce a new version of OpenInsight for the New Year.  Available as ‘Roll-Up Patch v4’ from the OpenInsight WORKS area, this latest release includes all of the patches and fixes from the previous “Roll Up” patches, as well as:

  • A new OINSIGHT.EXE to fix memory issues with out-of-process versus in-process OLE controls.
  • Enhanced R/List processing to fix a longstanding issue in “between” processing (in both OpenInsight and AREV32).
  • Fixed LIST_VOLUME_SUB to support volume MFS.
  • Improved performance when using base 64 encoding/decoding.
  • Improved stability when determining Windows drive/server mapping.
  • Updated LIST_USER_LOCKS and related functions (RTI_GET_LH_INFO, RTI_GET_LH_RATIO, etc.)
  • Improved DSBFS stability

After installing this patch, your system will report that it is running version 9.4.3.

10 + 10 = Ouch!!

So, I had some computer issues yesterday (not OpenInsight based I am pleased to confirm) but the end result saw me blowing my machine away and opting for a complete factory reset.  This is usually a pretty painful task, but ‘boy’, did I not know the half of it.  This posting is therefore a reminder for me and also to enable all OpenInsight installers to better prepare for their OpenInsight installations.

With my machine sitting with a newly installed copy of Windows 10, I updated my Internet Security and immediately dived into installing OpenInsight 10 on my machine – well it is the most important piece of software on my box and an application that runs my working life.  Well, I say install but I actually did what I have done a thousand times before and simply copied the RevSoft folder from my backup drive onto my new Windows 10 installation and launched the ClientInstall.exe to install those all important files that OI10 needs to operate properly. 5

Before doing anything with OpenInsight and as per the normal OpenInsight installation documentation, I took the added precaution and checked to make sure that I had the .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.6 installed on my machine.

All was good with both Frameworks displayed in the “Turn Windows features on or off” window.

I therefore ‘thought’ that I was good to go and copied over my backed up RevSoft folder, then I located and launched the ClientInstall.exe file using the ‘Run As Administrator’ option.  However, half way through the install I got the following warning.


Now, I know that I don’t have the later .NET Framework installed, so I clicked ‘Yes’ to launch the Microsoft webpage.  This presented me with the .NET Framework 4.7.1 option front and centre and that seemed like a good choice – well it can’t hurt to have the latest version.

Alas, after downloading the file and running it, I was presented with a Microsoft .NET Framework Blocking Issue warning and the only option is to Close out of the installation.   2

OK, so the OI system did say that I needed 4.7, so back to the Microsoft website and towards the bottom of the page are several options including 4.7.  Naturally, I downloaded and installed that version.  Alas, the exact same Blocking result:


I knew that I’d had the earlier version installed, so I tried 4.6 but, as expected I was told that it is already installed.  Out of desperation I thought I’d try the 4.6.2  version and success, it ran through a full installation.



Jumping back into the OI ClientInstall I ran the file and crossed my fingers.  Again, the installation failed.  OI really does want 4.7 and nothing else will do.

Time to dive into the ‘More Information’ link and something that I really should have done first off.  This presented me with a long page of different things that can affect the .NET installer but towards the bottom covering just a couple of lines is a note about the .NET Framework 4.7 needing the Windows 10 Creators edition.  Checking my machine and because this is a machine that is a couple of years old, I naturally have an older version.

So, into Update and Security and I began to download the upgrades.


With the first set of upgrades installed, I ran the updates check again and the system went off to pull down the Creators Fall Edition, one heck of a long download and almost as long to install.  This process began at around 10:00 hrs this morning.  It’s now gone 16:00 hrs and the Creators Edition is finally installed.  One last update check and one last batch before a final check and we are finally up to date.


This time when I ran the ClientInstall, the system ran through as expected with no call out to Microsoft and no need to manually install the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7, that appears to be installed as part of the update.


Somewhat relieved that all now appeared good, despite nearly a whole working day taken to run the upgrades, I launched OpenInsight 10 and my application and it is now functioning exactly as expected – PHEW!!!

So, what is the moral of this sorry tale or woe, angst and dead ends.

The Number One Rule:  Make sure that you or your client have your windows 10 machines fully upgraded BEFORE you step through the door to undertake any software installation that needs a .NET Framework and especially OpenInsight 10.

I’d have hated to have arrived on a client’s site to install their new OI10 based system, to find myself sitting there waiting for Windows 10 machines to update.  One would hope that the machines will have been installed for a while and be fully updated, but you just know that there will be people who only opened the box and turned it on that morning.

Also, be warned that if you have to blow your machine away and back to factory settings and it’s running an earlier Windows 10 release, you will have to factor in a long wait.  I guess that there can be something said for keeping mirror image backups.

So, now that I have my OpenInsight 10 working you’d think that I’m about to dive in and continue with my conversion.  Nope, I’m off to coach archery and OI10 will have to wait until a little later.

OI10 Splitter Bars – Ouch and a smile.

splitterOn the whole, my OpenInsight 10 (OI10) Beta 4 conversion has been a major success and I’m now using the application on a daily basis and working on the UI to make it cleaner using the new tools in OI10.

However, one gotcha which we should all already be aware of, is the splitter bars that were introduced in OI9.  In that version, you simply dropped the controls on the form and it did its best to resize controls (usually edit tables).  The downside for me was a flickering screen as the form constantly redrew whilst the bar was being dragged by the user.

In OI10, Carl has introduced a new ‘MOVE’ event which enables developers to very quickly and easily handle the resizing of the controls to best suit the application.  In my example, I have a form with three panels (Groupboxes) and on each panel is an editable.  The panels are then set to autosize and the following code is added to the upper and lower Splitter Bars to managed the moving of the bars as needed.  The code below is taken from the Upper Splitter bar’s MOVE event.

Declare Subroutine Set_Property

// Adjust the window's controls as the user moves the horizontal splitter bar.

   // Get the bar "thickness"
   barH = Get_Property( ctrlEntID, 'HEIGHT' )
   // Get the bar initial position
   barP = Get_Property( ctrlEntID, 'TOP', YCoord )
   // Move the bar
   Set_Property( ctrlEntID, 'TOP', YCoord )

   // How far did the bar Move 
   barM = barP - YCoord
   // Move the upper panel control
   valPanelUpper = @window:'.GRP_ALF30DAYSPLUS'
   Set_Property( valPanelUpper, 'BOTTOM', yCoord - 4 )

   // Move the lower panel control and reset the height
   valPanelLower = @Window: '.GRP_ALF30'
   Set_Property( valPanelLower, "TOP", yCoord  + barH + 4 )
   valPanelHeight = Get_Property(valPanelLower, 'HEIGHT')
   Set_Property( valPanelLower, 'HEIGHT', valPanelHeight + barM )
return 1

Disclaimer: The above code is written by me as a non professional developer.  Whilst it works, it is not optimised, does not include any error trapping and does not promote best practice.  The above code includes comments to explain what it does.

I was initially disappointed that I would have to write code to manage the splitter bars, but now that this is done I really like the way that I have control over the controls that move and that the form no longer flickers when the splitter bars are moved.

For more details about OI10 changes, please check out Carl’s OI10 Blog.


Resolving Open File Security Warning when Launching OpenInsight.

OInsight.exe File Security Warning Message

If you deploy OpenInsight systems and come across the Open File Security Warning in Windows, then Jared at SRP has three very useful options for you to consider and which will enhance and ease your OpenInsight deployments.

Jared has blogged the options in details and they can be found at the URL copied below.