An insight into CFG_CTO


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For anyone developing or working with an ARev32 application, Sprezzatura have just published a wonderful article with regards to the system’s configuration file.

Many people who initially made the move to AREV32 with the intention of slowly re-engineering their way to a purely OpenInsight based environment still find themselves with systems that are heavily AREV32 reliant. With this in mind we thought it might be an idea to spend a little time examining CFG_CTO to see what little goodies might be lurking in there. So with the help of Revelation’s esteemed CTO guru, Bryan Shumsky we’ve put together this little guide.

More ….

Another legacy Rev based system modernises


More and more people running old ARev and early OpenInsight based systems are seeing the benefits and needs of modernising their systems.  Not only does this future proof these systems going forward, but it often enables developers to better and more easily integrate with more modern hardware.  This reduces the risk of trying to find replacement units or parts for obsolete equipment or sourcing unsupported hardware and software.

SRP Computer Solutions have recently helped one of their clients to modernise by embracing thin client technologies, with USB wedge barcode scanners and one of their connection controls.

Click here to read the full article that SRP have recently published on the project.

XP Support (to clarify my earlier posting)


Ahh – A hornet’s nest I see before me!!   Let’s give it a poke <g>.

This posting is in response to the valid comments posted to my blog posting entitled “Windows XP Support” and to clarify the reasons for that posting a little more.

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Guys, you are of course correct and I knew that posting this direct from the official Revelation newsletter would provoke some clarification, and for that I am grateful.  However, the key question in this posting was whether your clients are aware of the issues?  At the risk of offending anyone, that point appears to have been missed by those of you commenting thus far.

This blog is read by both developers and users alike.  I think that all Revelation developers know the issues, risks and workarounds for ARev running on modern operating systems but the same is not necessarily true for end users.  Those organisations that have Revelation professionals on staff are relatively OK – so long as those Revelation professionals take control of the IT decision making process and actively avoid the potential issues befalling a lot of ARev systems right now.  I assume that you have put your necks on the block and taken ownership of your systems in such a way.

For those of you who do not wish to fall on your swords –

  1. How have you protected your clients against the potential and growing issues of running RevG and ARev on modern operating systems?
  2. How have you legislated against the Managing Director or another key decision maker deciding to purchase a wiz bang new 64-bit workstation?  Does he or she, really want to mess around with virtual machines, dual operating systems and the like – I don’t.
  3. How do you plan to support your ARev system for a sales team whose manager invests in the latest piece of technology to revolutionise his department, which demands 64-bit processing power and on which they blow next year’s budget on 64-bit machines.
  4. I could go on all day….

We cannot always take full control of our customers and demand what they will or will not use.  Often, sticking with legacy technologies will result in a loss of business because the legacy DOS system will be seen as the odd one out and the one causing the issue.

Could your business afford to lose your ARev system or your biggest client?  The Managing Director is never going to admit that buying a new 64-bit machine was his mistake.  The inevitable conversation is going to result in the ARev developer having made the mistake in not preparing for the inevitable move to a more modern technology.  Likewise for that sales manager who has big plans to modernise his sales team.

Failure to keep up with the times in IT often displays a lack of interest in the technology that has been written, a potential lack of interest in the developer’s client or their business in general and a perceived lack of willingness to keep up with the times and to invest in the future.  I know that this is not necessarily true and that many people love their old ARev systems and “if it isn’t not broke, don’t fix it”, but you can’t get away from the fact that things are only going to get harder.

Personally, I’m quite happy for people to carry on with their ARev systems.  It means that we can take each conversion project as they come along in dribs and drabs, rather than all at once.  As a salesman, it is also nice to have clients panicking (actually, I’m in two minds on that one) and opening cheque books with blank cheques because they are forced into doing something today because they need to work tomorrow.

This is a personal blog that consists of my views only and not necessarily those of Revelation Software.  However, I make no apology for using the official wording.  If I can encourage just one end user to think about the future of their ARev based system and to make a calculated decision in their own time, rather than a hurried, panicked and rushed decision, then my work is done and I will personally sleep more soundly.

I have tried to, and I believe that I have, given people good advice over the last 17 years.  My advice on this subject is to heed the warnings, modernise and make provision for your legacy RevG and ARev systems today.  Leaving it until tomorrow is inevitably going to result in a loss of business in one shape or another.  Maybe it’ll just be that next new sale as you are not GUI or can’t interface to something seamlessly, maybe it will be the loss of a key client to a competitor, or maybe (just maybe) it could sound the death bell for your business and your retirement fund.

Please, please , please if you are still using ARev please look beyond the technology and what you can ‘manage’ to make it run on – Think ahead of tomorrow and put a proper plan in place for your clients to safeguard their future and your own.  FWIW, we are seeing another increase in the number of conversions to ARev32, so more and more people are realising the growing risks and making provision for the future.

Please note that these are my personal comments and that they do not officially represent those of Revelation Software USA, Revelation Software UK or any other official Revelation channel.

Windows XP Support


I am sure that you will not have failed to notice that Microsoft will be ending support for XP from April 8th, 2014.  However, do your clients know and have they made provision for their ARev systems? 

For those of you who have been working too hard to pick up this small snippet of news, the keys details are:

After April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC.  If you continue to use Windows XP, your computer might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update.  These include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, which can steal your personal information.  Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—new drivers for your hardware and more.

Advanced Revelation will not run on workstations installed with Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.  If you are running an application built with Advanced Revelation we strongly suggest that you consider upgrading to OpenInsight using Arev32.

#Revcon13 – Speed Matters and ARev32


Revelation Software 2013 Conference LogoThe second set of breakout sessions for today see Mike taking a second presentation for today and Stefano will be tackling a topic that is important for all software developers.

Speed Matters
Stefano Cavaglieri (Fonoteca Nazionale Svizzera)
Everyone is familiar with the benefits of speed, in particular when it comes to processing larger amounts of data, but there is more than that.

During this presentation, Stefano will give a brief explanation of the purposes and then he will dig into a number of coding techniques, all rigorously written in OpenInsight’s Basic+, aimed to perform faster.  He will step through some of the code snippets published in 2006 on International Spectrum by Mike Ruane, then he will have a closer look at some highly optimized code snippets written for solving specific issues at Fonoteca.

He will then round of this presentation by analysing some code written for various aspects of a word game.  All of the source code will be shown, executed, benchmarked, compared, and discussed.

Making the move to ARev32
Mike Ruane (Revelation)
The enduring nature of Advanced Revelation applications means that there are still countless individuals and organisations who rely on their DOS based ARev systems day in and day out.  All too often these are mission critical systems and organisations would suffer if the system was lost for more than a few short hours.

If your application is still running in ARev or RevG, you are at the mercy of Microsoft updates as to whether the next update to Windows will disable your application. Several of my clients had a real scare recently following a Windows XP update and some of those organisations hurriedly tried to back out of the upgrade when their found their ARev systems crippled.

In this session, Mike will describe the process of moving an ARev application from DOS to Arev32 and ensuring your application will be running for years to come on modern operating systems.

Whether you are at conference or just following the proceedings through my blog, Facebook, or whatever AND you are still running an ARev or RevG DOS based system, don’t leave things to chance.  Call or email me today to discuss the things that you need to be concerned about and your options going forward.

PLEASE, don’t leave it until that morning when you have no system and you enter into full on panic mode.  Many ARev systems are over 25 years old and RevG systems are even older.  Isn’t it time to consider upgrading to something a little more modern, flexible and supportable going forward?