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.

 

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My App’s now full of Bugs :)


BugSo, I am a week into my OpenInsight 9.4 to OpenInsight 10 (OI10) conversion which is basically just playing around with the interface and I really like how things are going.  I have a brand new colour scheme and ripping out loads of code.  I was keeping a tally, but I’m about 2/3rd of the was through and nearly 2,000 lines of cobbled together code have been deleted in favour of setting properties and thereby using professionally written code to run my application.

Last night, I managed to introduce a long overdue and much longed for Progress Bar which runs whilst my data grids are loading during system startup.  A trivial task for most of my blog readers, but quite a result for me all the same.  It’s nice when you manage to achieve something after a struggle and this is one such case.  It does put a smile on my face every time I launch my OpenInsight 10 application, so it’s well worth it in my mind.

Progress Bar

Using graphics in OpenInsight to build some really nice interfaces is child’s play now.  the key is having a good graphics library to pull from and I’m extremely lucky to have access to Icon Experience‘s graphics library.  With nearly 3,000 images in the library that I’m using, and they have several libraries and numerous sizes of each image in each library, they have a graphic (.png and .ico) that just about meets any requirement when building an application.

Anyway, I’m pleased to now be 100% OpenInsight 10.  Since rebuilding my computer, I have found no reason to install OpenInsight 9.4 and I’m now both developing in OI10 and using my Revelation Contact Manager on a daily basis running under OI10.

Great job guys.

I cannot produce any videos of my progress thus far because I’m working with live sensitive data.  However, once this project is done, I will look to put a video or two together using the old Clinic application that I used for the OI9.x tutorials.  Watch my blog for more information and video links as I begin that project.

If you are an OpenInsight WORKS subscriber, you can get the OpenInsight 10 Beta 4 software from the WORKS area on www.revelation.com.   If you are not a WORKS member, please drop me a line and I’ll be pleased to arrange a time to talk a little more about OpenInsight 10 and the supporting WORKS subscription service that underwrites the development suite.

OI10 Milestone Reached


OI10logon

As many of you will know, I have been diligently working with the OI10 Alpha releases and more recently the Beta’s which include the internal releases and those released to our WORKS subscribers.

My initial aim was to assist the development team at Revelation, working mostly with the Forms Designer and it’s ossociated tools, in catching as many issues as possible before we go to a final release.  When I saw the conversion tool, I began to dare to hope for a one click conversion, at the same time knowing that such a thing is usually far from possible.

However, with the release of the Beta 4, I am alot closer to that elusive one click conversion. In fact, I’m ‘alot closer’ than ‘alot closer’.

Like many of you, on Friday, I downloaded the Beta, ran through the install, created a new application and waited expectantly as the system ran through the conversion of my contact manager that I use at Revelation day in and day out.  The new conversion tool wizzed through the entities, with lines flashing up on the right side of the new conversion window and the categories of items to be converted were slowly and steadily checked off . . . done, done, done, done.

I had a couple of red categories, but a quick check of the log showed that these were items that I did not have to worry about.  Legacy items that I really ought to have deleted prior to the conversion, but easily deleted in OI10.

So, how did we do?

Much, much, much better than I had hoped.  Sure, my splitter bars no longer work, but I knew about those and I’ll blog about them later. My legacy and poorly written code is fighting OI10 in one or two areas but I’ll be removing hundreds (if not thousands) of lines of my cobbled together code in favour of OI10’s professionally written code that will be better optimised and correctly error trapped.  So those issues are not really issues for me and they don’t stop the application from running.

So, as of Friday afternoon, I was both developer and user of my system under OI10.  I’ll be removing code and changing some of the interface components (for example, my combersome three state buttons and associated GOTFOCUS and LOSTFOCUS code, in favour of the new Glyph buttons), so further developing the converted application.  Plus, I’ll be using the application to support my job role.  Something that I thoght would be a little way off and following a hefty conversion task (project).

The guys are doing an outstanding job with OI10 and the project really has turned a corner.  So many things are finally coming together and it looks like some of the technologies that the guys have had to wait for, are now available to them and the toolset is going forward in leaps and bounds right now.

They are also cracking on with the reported bugs, leaving wishes for later.  For example, I have cleared down no end of officially reported bugs in the OI10 bug tracker.  But, what you don’t see is the internal emails and reports that I send to the guys.  Carl had a ten page report for the conversion tool for my system at the initial internal release of the new conversion tool.  By the final release of the beta 4 (in you are a WORKS subscriber, that is the one you can get your hands on), this was down to six items and a couple of new ones that I have found. [Edit – Oneof those items was user error and another related to my code].

Remember, we are still in beta so issues will remain, but I’m blown away by what OI10 is proving to offer developers.

I’m often asked who is a typical OpenInsight developer and . . .   Well, lets leave that for another posting, I’m keen to get back into working on my brand new user interface – or should I rephrase that to, “the old one simply reworked” – but it feels brand new.

When is a bug not a bug…


… when Martyn is playing with the OpenInsight 10 Beta and his knowledge of the new system is lacking <lol>.

OI10Beta

As many of you will know, I have been working with the OpenInsight 10 alpha for sometime and I recently downloaded and begun playing with the official OI10 Beta which was released a week or so ago.

I’d reported a good number of issues to RevUS during the Alpha program and I’m pleased to see many of those issues resolved in the Beta and a mountain of other things now working and working really nicely.

OI10 is a massive change from the old 9.x versions.  It is so much easier to use and massively more developer friendly.  I’ve only really played in the forms designer (image above), popup designer and scripting tools but it is a brand new world compared to the old interface and tools.

For example, the Main Application Manager window lists your recently accessed entities, making access to those entities a day or two later super easy.  Once in the forms designer, you can now have multiple forms open and you can work on them all at the same time – although I’ve confused myself on numerous occasions and found that the tab bar gets a little full.  However, I absolutely love the ability to have a form open and then scripts and Quick Events open for that form, popups associated with that form, graphic files associated with that form and more – it’s just so intuitive and super, super easy to jump between entities.  No more closing things, drilling down to find new entities and opening them – it’s just a massive, massive time saver, let alone more organised.

Then you have the properties and events readily available at the side of the interface.  I usually have the Properties panel open because there are just so many properties that have been exposed to make life even easier for developers.

I used to write loads of lines of code to handle row shading, window positioning and the like, now it’s a value in the properties window.  This makes for exact positioning, the creation of some lovely looking windows, better graphics handling and much much more.

As I get more into OpenInsight 10, I find that it is the little details that are making all the difference.  For example, when compiling a form, I get an immediate notification of an issue in the output panel at the bottom of the window in red text.  So  much more is delivered right to the developer in the interface.

All of the usual tools are in the toolset, although just about everything has had a makeover or some level of enhancement.  The changes within the toolset are huge and massively beneficial.  The only downside is that there is going to be work for all of us moving existing OpenInsight applications to OpenInsight 10 but the benefits will be well, well worth the time and effort.

As for non-OpenInsight developers.  Well, Revelation are now delivering one of the few fully integrated application development suites for both super rich desktop and amazing web based applications.  We now have a very intuitive toolset that developers using other tools will be right at home with and which features form design tools, coding tools, debugging tools, reporting tools and much, much more for both desktop and web, right on one comprehensive toolset.

Another massive leap forward is O4W.  This ground breaking toolset, that I used some time ago (as a non developer) to build a proof of concept application and which was finished by the VAR and now used by the employees of some of the Internets biggest names (no need for me to say who), used to be based on a couple of columns and creating more complex interfaces was not overly easy.  With OpenInsight 10, all of that has been addressed and O4W10 (not it’s official name) has really matured into a brilliant piece of technology for those of us who don’t want to learn HTML5, Javascript and the like.

I might be more than a little biased, but I am totally and utterly blown away by what Revelation are now very close to delivering to the OpenInsight development community, the MultiValue development community for widely and business in general.

The beta program is currently open to all OpenInsight WORKS subscribers.  If you are reading this and you are not a WORKS member or you are new to Revelation Software, please contact your nearest Revelation office and we’ll be pleased to assist you in any way that we can.

I was told sometime ago that OpenInsight 10 was set to be a game changer.  I now know why that person said that to me and I can’t wait to learn more about converting my applications and building new systems and proof of concepts for clients and prospects.

ITMS Uses Revelation Software to Stay Ahead of the Curve


usersThe February 14, 2017 issue of Database Trends and Applications features an article written by Stephanie Simone titled ITMS Uses Revelation Software to Stay Ahead of the Curve.

OPTO Software, part of iTMS Software Pty Ltd, provides manufacturing inventory software, including ERP solutions, to a wide variety of industries. Customers span the fields of manufacturing, mining, civil, fabrication, and engineering as well as distribution, retail and wholesale, construction, and importing and exporting.

Based in Brisbane, Australia, Opto has been providing ERP, material requirements planning, manufacturing and inventory software solutions to Australian businesses since the early 1990s, and in turn, these software solutions have enabled smaller manufacturers to close the technological and competitive gap between their business and larger-scale market leaders.

Used by hundreds of clients across Australia, Opto prides itself on being small enough to be highly flexible but large enough to deliver the latest technology trends to its customers while shielding them from the underlying complexity. Providing steadfast support, Opto seeks to guide customers through every phase of their installation, from evaluation and feature selection to technical support and help desk enquiries.

OpenInsight at the Core

“Our focus is on the manufacturing technologies you use to build things. Surrounding that, we also plug into accounting systems,” said Jeremy Bolton, managing director. “Revelation Software’s OpenInsight is the heart of our business; our whole product is based on it.”

According to Bolton, a key differentiator for ITMS/OPTO is its deep understanding of the nuances of manufacturing. Revelation supports that agility, ensuring that OPTO platform is easily configured.

“We’re very good at making software fit into many applications with the ability to deliver it quickly and cost effectively, while also making it easy to understand,” Bolton said. “What sets us apart is the ability for the OPTO platform to be easily configured to precise customer requirements.”

The company’s partnership with Revelation was forged after OPTO’s CEO sought to build an effective and simplified system to solve manufacturing issues.

Ability to Adapt

Revelation has made OPTO’s platform very adaptable. It’s simple to build on and it supports both emerging and existing applications, according to Bolton.

Because it runs on a MultiValue database, OPTO can add new capabilities to its platform without affecting the data model.

“If someone needs something with Revelation, the architecture of our product enables us to add the new capability without changing the underlying data model of every other customer,” Bolton said. “Our software can fit in many applications.”

MultiValue database technology can be quickly tailored to unusual requirements and it can talk directly to the CRM copy machine, Bolton explained.

“When we are talking to people about layout, normally we have to get spreadsheet, but this technology allows us to do a layout quickly and effectively,” Bolton said. “Revelation gives us the flexibility we need when responding to customer requirements.”

Built for the Future

Reliability and compatibility are also why OPTO has stayed with Revelation for more than 20 years.

The technology helps OPTO support its customers by providing them with a platform that delivers better customer outcomes, quickly, and cost-effectively.

The MultiValue aspect of the platform make it possible to process requests from customers quickly and with a speed that relational database management systems can’t provide, according to Bolton.

“Running Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle didn’t make any sense,” Bolton said. “There is nothing else you can find to handle so much data.”

Additionally, the cost to customize the platform for a customer was “astronomical,” whereas using Revelation makes the platform cost-effective for the client, Bolton explained.

However, if customers do need to utilize relational database management software, the OPTO platform can integrate to any part of the database that’s necessary, he noted.

Innovation with Revelation

Recently, ITMS/OPTO and Revelation collaborated on adding RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) to ITMS/OPTO’s platform. The new capability allows the company to plug into modern web platforms such as Salesforce.

Moreover, the use of RESTful APIs means that ITMS/OPTO doesn’t have to do heavy manually coding to add capabilities as it did before, Bolton explained. Using RESTful APIs will enable integration with the increasing number of best-in-class cloud-based, mobile, and niche applications.

“Before, if we needed a CRM system, we’d have to ‘be’ the CRM system,” Bolton said. “Now, we can just plug into the world’s best CRM system.”

This has been a key step in the right direction as OPTO looks to integrate more web-based products, and to allow third parties to connect into its systems.

Opto gets requirements from customers and can build what they need, but in the past, Opto would be constrained, said Bolton. “What we want to do is make it so that any third party can pick it up and do an order.”

The company already utilizes integration in the cloud effortlessly, according to Bolton.

“Integration in the cloud becomes much easier, that’s one of the big benefits you get from RESTful APIs,” Bolton said. “Cloud-to-cloud products integrate almost seamlessly. From a customer’s point of view, the backups just get done.”

Previously, the company experimented with OpenInsight for Web (O4W), a user friendly web development environment that allowed the company to run its platform on a handheld device. Though it worked well, the company eventually needed a heavier mobile development environment and implemented a third-party connector, moving toward Revelation’s RESTful API tools.

Looking Ahead to the Future

The feedback from ITMS customers for over nearly 20 years has uniformly excellent, according to Bolton.

“Some may actually know that Revelation’s OpenInsight is platform the underlying our product, but many do not know, and this is in fact a benefit as the platform is transparent to the customer so they can focus on the business outcomes,” Bolton said.

As the manufacturing business changes, Bolton says Revelation continues to help his company stay ahead of the curve.

“There’s a complexity that we solve that very few other organizations can,” Bolton said. “Revelation helps us do that in agile manner.”

According to Bolton, Revelation also continues to deliver enhancements to OpenInsight in each release that keep the platform relevant and up to date.

“There are a series of features that are coming in the next release with OpenInsight 10  that we believe we will be able to use in continuing to deliver successful business outcomes to our customers,” Bolton said.

 

New Development Being Planned


No, this is not something new for OpenInsight 10 (OI10), or something else altogether.  It’s a new personal project that is long overdue, but which has OI10 well and truly in mind.

I obviously dive into OpenInsight on a regular basis to undertake live demonstrations to interested people, prospects and the like, but that tends to be a need, feature, benefit, style of approach and it never really gets into application development planning and building.  However, this week I found myself delving further into the development tools and immersed in code to add a new module to my RevSoft UK Contact Manager.  Having not developed anything in quite some time, it was a) nice to find that I could still knock up something really quickly using OI 9.4 and b) not so nice to find just how rusty I had become.

Anyway, with the conference now only a few short weeks away, OI10 looming and a development project begging to begin, I thought it best to dive back into OI development.

As a hobbyist developer at best, it never amazes me to find what I can achieve with the toolset and this time my sights are set on trying to build the new system more slowly and better.  I’ll be looking at exploring error trapping and I might even have a quick dabble at using commuter modules.  All of this will begin with the current 9.4 version and then I will switch into OI10 just as soon as RevUS have a beta for me to play with.

Having started M4Photo nearly a year ago, it is now high time that I got myself organised and this new development will be an application to run the hobby business.  I’ll begin with Contacts and Organisations because I need those modules like yesterday.  I’ll then move onto a simple marketing management module for bulk email blasts and paper campaigns, and then I’ll computerise the sales and invoice side of the business.  Lastly, I’ll dive into the Banded Report Writer (BRW) for mail merging and other reports.

Don’t expect to see too much of this project on the blog anytime soon.  OI 9.4 development will shortly be old hat and I’ll keep the progress updates for when I dive into OI10.

In the meantime, watch for my conference updates via twitter and the blog during the conference week.