Lots of data to capture in a single form? OpenInsight 10 has the prefect solution.


PropertyGrid1I occasionally have people ask me about user interface design from an end user’s point of view and mostly this is when a developer is tasked with capturing a very large amount of data, needing lots of controls, in one logical place.

Often, it is possible to break up the required data into bite sized chunks, or to categorise it somehow and then present their data controls as a smaller subset on two or more forms.  Sometimes, probably more often than not, it makes sense to break up the form using the tab control and display these subsets of data controls over multiple pages.  This is something that I have done a lot in my demo applications.

However, I am told that this is not always possible and I have seen data entry forms with hundreds of controls, split over countless tabs.  I recently heard of one OpenInsight based system where a control limit had been reached, forcing a rethink of how the data was to be presented to the end users.

Now, I am currently working on a ‘real world’ application that also demands that, on several of the data entry forms, I need to be able to display and capture hundreds of data fields.  For the form that I am currently working on, this means nearly 400 hundred data items and this translates to well over double that number of controls to be maintained on the form.  AND, I can find no logical way to split these controls over multiple forms 😦

A form with this number of controls means that I had a massive tab control and a form running over 20 or more pages.  From a developer’s point of view, this results in a very cumbersome form to manage and maintain at design time.  For example, how would I easily add in new data prompts without having to spend a large amount of time moving controls around to make the new items fit my already crowded forms?   Worse still, it resulted in a very difficult to navigate form for my users.  Yes, they could probably learn where everything is over time, but in the interests of providing my users with an intuitive display from day one and a far easier to navigate user interface, I had to find another method.

So, following a quick prompt from Carl, I took a look at the brand new Property Grid control in OpenInsight 10.  This is not yet data aware (and I’m not sure of any plans to make it data aware), so there is a code to be written behind the scenes for my use of the control, but it was definitely the perfect solution.

So what did I build to get over this large number of controls issue?

PropertyGrid2

As you will see in the data entry form above, I have managed to reduce the tab count to just 12 tabs.  Although this is still quite a lot, they make sense because most of these will be displaying related data from other data tables.  For example, a list of actions to be undertaken or that have been completed with dates, status and notes, or viewing details.  These will be largely edit tables, one on each tab.

The main tab reduction was achieved through the use of the Property Grid, displayed on the right of the form.  When the user is on the Summary tab (shortly to be renamed), the property grid maintains a few hundred property details that were originally split over numerous tabs.  This data is now displayed in a easily navigable, collapsible, categorised list, enabling the user to show and hide data as required.

When designing the Property Grid, the OpenInsight developer is presented with 29 pre-defined control options that are embedded in the new control.  Things like Dialog, Static and colour pickers, right through to combo boxes, file pickers and more.  The user’s choice is then displayed in the grid and it is pretty easy to them pick up those values and save them to the database.  It is also super quick and easy to add in new data items and to have them display under the correct category.

The Property Grid control is fully documented in the ‘OpenInsight 10 Presentation Server Reference Manual’, but writing data to a cell in the grid is just one line of code.  In the example below, valPropertyStatus contains the data to be written and “Property Status” is simply the name that you have defined in the Property Grid row when you built out the various rows.  It really is that easy, no messing around trying to work out in code which cell or row you are in, you simply use an ‘English’ name.

 Call Set_Property_Only ( CtrlEntID, "VALUE", valPropertyStatus, "Property Status" )

Now, as I might have mentioned earlier, the Property Grid is not yet data aware, so you will need to get these data changes and write them to the data record yourself.

However, I have taken a slightly different approach.  I am not a professional OpenInsight application developer, so I in no way suggest that this method is right and proper but it works for me.

As shown in the image below, I wanted to have collector windows for ‘each’ of the data items in the grid.  This enables me to provide my users with a consistent and easy to navigate solution.  It enables me to present my users with all manner of data controls in easily built and maintained collector (dialog) windows.  In the example below, when the user clicks on the Vendor cell (a button displays), the user is presented with a collector window with, not only the vendor’s name, but also their contact information.  This includes the email address and if the user clicks the blue text, OpenInsight will open up the user’s default email client and drop in the vendor’s email address.

PropertyGrid3

You will notice that the orange Record ID box displays the Record ID.  This will be made invisible for the beta, but it is displayed for development purposes at the moment.  This Record ID is passed to the collector window from the calling window and the record is automatically read and displayed for editing.  When the user has made their changes, the data is immediately written to the record.

When the data is saved and the collector window is closed, the Property Grid is updated to display the new value, or values.  In the case of a collector window with multiple data items, I have chosen the best piece of data to display.  In the example above, this is the Vendor’s name.  In some other instances, I have used three dots (. . .) to indicate that there is data to be viewed.  This solution is used when no single data value works.

A nice, easy and good looking solution.  

Now, those of you that are professional developers and observant, will have noticed a flaw in my design.  If I am passing in a record ID, what is to stop the user from saving a value from the Property Grid without a valid Property Record?  This could quickly result in useless data – property characteristic details without a property address and other meaningful data to readily identify the property,

This issue is addressed by simply checking for a valid record on file when the Property Grid is accessed. If there is no record yet saved to file or it does not meet my requirements of having a valid address, access to the Property Grid is blocked, a message is displayed and the message and collector window closes when the user clicks the message’s OK button.  i.e. the user cannot add data to the grid without a valid record being already saved to disk.

PropertyGrid4

Yes, the method that I am using is a little more complicated than just allowing the user to change the data in the Property Grid and have that data saved when the main save button is pressed.  And, I’ll probably allow that as an option further down the line.  However, I’m pretty pleased with this solution and it is definitely making it easier to develop and use my application.

Oh, and for those of you that think creating and maintaining many collector windows is long winded and time consuming, this is actually pretty quick and easy.  I simply:

  1. Use a template window – So, Open and Save As.
  2. Use a template Commuter Module which prompts me for certain bits of information which are dropped into the code automatically and then this is compiled and saved.
  3. Test run the window and add any additional event code that might be needed.

I am not saying that this is the right, recommended or perfect solution but if you would like to see this in more detail please comment below and I’ll look to put a video together with a look at the Property Grid working and the code used behind the forms.

 

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How To Deploy OpenInsight 10 To Your Customers


How To Deploy OpenInsight 10 To Your Customers

didyouknowoi

Deployment in OpenInsight 10 is significantly different from prior versions.  Because system information is now encrypted on a per-system basis, you must tell the copy of OpenInsight 10 that you are changing the serial number (which is used in the encryption process) ‘before’ you change it.  Failure to do this will result in a system that cannot be accessed (until you put the original serial number back into the system).

The steps to making a deployment as you want are as follows:

  1. Request, and receive, the new authorisation code from Revelation Software with the new serial number and new number of users.
  2. In your “master” OpenInsight 10 system, in SYSPROG, go to the Settings/Users/Policy Setup menu choice in the IDE.
  3. In the policy configuration window, check the box “System Deployment Preparation” and press the OK button.
  4. In the Serial Number Entry dialog that appears, enter (and re-enter to verify) the new serial number you obtained from Revelation Software and press the OK button.
  5. Remove or change as appropriate the REVPARAM file from the cloned copy of OpenInsight before deployment.
  6. Clone your copy of OpenInsight.

On the client system, your steps will be as follows:

  1. Copy in the cloned copy of OpenInsight.
  2. Update the license information with the new authorisation code/serial number/number of users (see below).
  3. Run the clientsetup.exe routine found in your OpenInsight 10 folder.

At this point, your client’s copy of OpenInsight should be ready to run.

To update the license information, you have two choices.  In the cloned copy of OpenInsight, you can start up the system with your ‘original’ authentication (just by starting up OpenInsight normally), and then go to the Settings/Application Settings menu in the IDE, and choosing “License Renewal”.  You will be prompted to enter the new authorisation code, and (after confirming that the entered information is correct) you can save the new authorisation information, shut down OpenInsight, and restart OpenInsight.  You’ll find that the system is now running with the new serial number/number of users.

Alternatively, if you wish to ship out systems without your authorisation file in it, you can use the (non-GUI) routine to create the new authorisation file.  This step can be done on your ‘master’ copy of OpenInsight, before deployment to the client system.

Open up a DOS command prompt, and “cd” to your OpenInsight 10 folder.  Type in the following:

REVAUTH OI <authcode> CLIENT.LIC

Where <authcode> is replaced with the authentication code you received from Revelation Software (which I believe you can put in quotes).  So for example, you will type something like this:

REVAUTH OI "xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx" CLIENT.LIC

If there are any errors, revauth will respond with “Invalid code entered: <errcode>”. Otherwise, it will create a valid license file named CLIENT.LIC.  Take that CLIENT.LIC file, and copy it into your “cloned” system, RENAMING IT TO REVENGINE.LIC.  This will then become the license/authentication information for the “cloned” copy, and you should then be able to install that copy as outlined above.

Please remember to run the clientsetup.exe after copying in the cloned copy.

First published on www.revelation.com

New Create User Details function


RTI_CREATE_USER_DETAILS function for OpenInsight 10.0.5 and above.

didyouknowoi

OpenInsight 10 provides support for login policies including locking out of users after a definable number of unsuccessful attempts, password construction requirements, etc. Sensitive data for policy and user information is stored in AES encrypted records.  Policies and users are maintained via the OpenInsight 10 IDE.

OpenInsight 10.0.5 and above introduces a new function called RTI_CREATE_USER_DETAILS that allows developers the ability to create a new user or modify information about an existing user in the OpenInsight database.

Description: Creates a new user or modifies information about an existing user in the current database.

Note:  Only Level 1 (Administrator) and Level 2 (System Administrator) users can create users. Level 0 (User) users can only change their own, existing information.

Syntax: RTI_CREATE_USER_DETAILS(userID, currentPwd, userpassword, fullName, validValue, disabledFlag, disabledDate, disabledTime, resetFlag, userType, userLevel, o4wLevel, expirval, expirdate, errDetails)

Return: “1” if the create or edit succeeded
Value: “” or “0” if the create or edit failed, and additional details are returned in the errDetails parameter.

Parameters: The function has the following parameters.

ParameterDescriptionParameterDescription

Parameter Description
userID A user identifier. userID must begin with an alpha character, followed by any combination of characters, digits, and underscores and cannot include spaces.
currentPwd If enhanced authentication is enabled on this OpenInsight system, then a User-level user who wishes to change any user information must pass in the current password in this parameter. This allows the system to verify that they are authorised to make changes to this user information.
userpassword The new password for this user. If enhanced authentication is enabled, then the password must match the specified authentication policy. If legacy authentication is used instead, the password must be a string of characters, 6 to 20 characters in length, and – if not specified – the default is null, and a password is not required to access the database as this user.
fullName The full name of the user.
validValue This is a user-defined parameter that allows the developer to specify additional information that they would like returned if the user’s logged-in state is queried (for example, to implement additional permission levels and groups). By default, this value is “1”.
disabledFlag If enhanced authentication is enabled on this OpenInsight system, then if set (value is “1”), the user will be disabled; if it is reset (value is “0”), the user will no longer be disabled. If the user is disabled, pass in the additional disabledDate and disabledTime parameters.
disabledDate If enhanced authentication is enabled on this OpenInsight system, and the disabledFlag has been set, this parameter specifies the internal date that the user is disabled until.
disabledTime If enhanced authentication is enabled on this OpenInsight system, and the disabledFlag has been set, this parameter specifies the internal time that the user is disabled until.
resetFlag If this parameter is set (“1”), the user must reset their password at the next login.
userType If this user should only be allowed to access the OpenInsight desktop interface, specify “0” for this parameter. If this user should only be allowed to access OpenInsight via O4W, specify “1” for this parameter. If the user should be able to access both desktop and O4W instances, specify “2” for this parameter.
Userlevel If the user is defined as an OI user, or as both an OI and O4W user, specify the OI permissions level here. There are three levels of users. When the user is logged in, the value is stored in the system variable @ADMIN.

There is no default value for Userlevel. If you do not specify a value, execution fails, and an error is generated.

Value Description
0 User
1 Administrator
2 System Administrator
o4wLevel If the user is defined as an O4W user, or both an O4W and OI user, specify the O4W permissions level here. The valid values for O4W permission groups are customisable on a per-site basis.
expirval Expiration parameter for the password. Possible values are:
Value Description
0 Expires at next login
1 Never Expires (default)
2 Expires at the expiry date
expirdate If expirval = 2, the expiration date (passed as a standard output converted date in a format such as mm/dd/yyyy).  Only required if expirval = 2. Note that this value is only relevant when legacy authentication is used on the OpenInsight system; if enhanced authentication is enabled, expiration will be as per policy.
errDetails If any errors are encountered during the execution of this function, they are returned in this parameter.

 

OpenInsight 9.4 “Roll Up” Patch v5.1 released


OpenInsight 9.4

Revelation have recently released a brand new roll up patch for OpenInsight, taking the series to version 9.4.4.

This patch includes additional fixes to RTP16 (xlate), all the patches and fixes from the previous “Roll Up” patches, as well as:

  • An updated datatbl.dll and oinsight.exe to fix changes in how Windows displays forms.
  • A fixed DICT_MFS_BUILD to ensure that associated group names are included when a dictionary’s %FIELDS% record is rebuilt.
  • A fixed RTP16 (XLATE) to restore previous functionality when explicitly passing a null in parameter 5.
  • An enhancement to OIPI (VSPRINTER1) to improve performance.

After installing this patch, your system will report that it is running version 9.4.4.

This zip file contains an updated RevelationDotNetSetup.msi, RevelationDotNetSetup.exe, revjapi.dll, OESocketServer.jar, OInsight.exe and an OpenInsight RDK, for use in OpenInsight 9.4.0 systems.

This patch replaces the original “Roll Up” Patch v1 released on March 3, 2016, the second “Roll Up” Patch v2 released on March 8, 2016, the “Roll Up” Patch v3 released on June 13, 2017, and the “Roll Up” Patch v4 (and v4_1) released on January 5, 2018, and includes all the previous fixes for OpenInsight 9.4.

Works Members can download this patch from the Works Downloads section of our web site.

Increased OpenInsight 10 WORKS User Count


didyouknowoiThose of you that have been watching my initial OpenInsight 10 videos, will not have failed to notice the OI Management Console and the tools that this powerful feature brings to all OpenInsight 10 (OI10) Systems Administrators.

Not only does it expose some really useful information and statistics, as well as much easier remote configuration, but it makes administering a live system so much easier through the brand new Command Channel.  The guys at RevUS touched on this in their recent Introduction to the Features and Benefits of OpenInsight 10 Webinar and I show working it in my video which provides a Quick Overview of OI10.  Jump to around 12 minutes and you’ll see the Management Console running as an O4W application in the built in OI10 browser on screen.

Anyway, interest in the Management Console was high following the Webinar and a thread appeared on www.revelation.com with regards to some people having trouble running the Management Console and needing a 10 user O4W license to run it.  Whilst running it online is super useful and convenient because System Administrators can access the Management Console from anywhere in the world and at any time, some people might just want to run it locally from their desktop using their OI WORKS license.  This is how I ran the system in the videos.

Even in this local based setup, O4W and the Management Console consumes an additional license, or two – it’s the nature of O4W.  Now, I’ve sat in many a presentation for software where the vendor says “Hey, we have this amazing module, it’ll change your life and that of your users.  Ohh, but it’s going to cost you …”.  Heads quickly fall like a child being offered a big bag of colourful sweets, only for the parent demanding a week’s worth of chores to be completed before access is granted to the bag of sweets.

Revelation Software have once again shown its ongoing commitment
to its OI WORKS community.

It looked like Revelation Software were heading down this same route, but, true to form, Bill told me about an OI WORKS discussion forum posting from Bob Catalano over the weekend.  In the posting, Bob confirms that the Management Console will not function with the usual 2 user OI WORKS license and because of this a decision has been made to increase all existing 2 user WORKS licenses to a 3 user license.

This is brilliant news, it shows Revelations commitment to its highly valued OpenInsight WORKS community of professional application developers and it provides yet more value from the, already, invaluable WORKS subscription service/license.  However, those of you opting for the cheaper NUL based license for your developers will need to look at increasing your NUL license accordingly and in the normal license increase manner.

If you are an active WORKS subscriber looking to work with OI10, please log into WORKS and head over to the WORKS forum for further details on claiming your new OI10 authorisation key.

If you are an expired OI WORKS subscriber or wish to get onto OI WORKS to gain access to OpenInsight 10, please contact your local Revelation office and one of us will be more than pleased to discuss your needs.

 

New OpenInsight 10 YouTube Training Video Playlist


YouTubeOI10

Several of you have been chasing me about the OpenInsight 10 (OI10) training videos recently and the need for these was highlighted recently with the news that we have several non-OpenInsight MultiValue developers taking an interest in the tool set.

I have just finished producing the first three videos in the training series and I have published them to my new OI10 YouTube Channel and in a new playlist which will be added to as I get to finish more videos.

These first three videos are fairly light weight:

  1. The first touches on what OpenInsight is, where is came from and there is a quick overview of the OI10 development environment.  The overview is a reproduction of one of my earlier videos but it is included here for people who are new to OpenInsight and it is therefore conveniently placed in the Lesson playlist.
  2. The second video looks at installing the OI10 evaluation software and making some initial configuration changes ready for the training videos to be followed.
  3. The third video looks at how to create your first application and how to add an application level user into the system using the enhanced security.

I have also added a link to my earlier OpenInsight 9.x tutorial video playlist and which is located on a totally separate YouTube channel.

As usual, access to the video series is 100% free and I hope that existing and new OpenInsight developers and users will find the series of videos useful.

If you have not already, please be sure to subscribe to the channel to get notification of when additional videos are uploaded.  I expect this to be fairly frequently initially and then things will slow up as I have to learn more about the massive changes that have been delivered in OpenInsight 10.

As always, please comment below the videos to let me know that they are being watched and whether you find them useful or not.

An Introduction to the Features and Benefits of OpenInsight 10.


didyouknowoi

An Introduction to the Features and Benefits of OpenInsight 10

Thursday, June 7th, 2018
11:00 am PT / 2:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm BST

REGISTER NOW for this complimentary webcast.

As a reader and subscriber of this blog, you will not have failed to notice that in April  2018, Revelation Software proudly announced the long anticipated official release of OpenInsight Development Suite (OI) 10.0.  This ground breaking released has been completely re-engineered for 64-bit and there are a wealth of new features and benefits which make application development in OpenInsight easier and faster than ever.

Nearly every bit of code in the product has been rewritten, from the user’s interface, to the various reporting tools and the speed of the indexing routines.  Revelation Software have listened to their user base and delivered in this release.

If you are a WORKS subscriber, OpenInsight application developer, MultiValue application developer, or simply someone looking for an easier application development tool set – This is a FREE Webinar that you cannot afford to miss.

To just touch the surface, OpenInsight 10 provides the following new and/or improved components:

  • New IDE
    OpenInsight 10 delivers a brand new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to developers.  It is visually similar to modern application development tools, it is intuitive and yet it is still designed for the MultiValue developer in mind.  Each of the product’s designers, for forms, tables, reports and all others are now contained into a single, cohesive and dynamic work space.
  • Arev64
    The next generation of the Advanced Revelation emulator, utilising the full power and capabilities of modern 64-bit architectures.  Yet again, Revelation have extended the life of their legacy DOS applications.
  • User and Data Security
    With increased concerns about security and privacy, including the current GDPR requirements, a number of enhancements and changes have been made to further   strengthen data security within OpenInsight and to provide system manager (DBA’s) with greater user management controls.
  • Management Console
    The OpenInsight Management Console is a powerful browser-based database management tool for system administrators.  It provides an overview of your system and the ability to send useful and timely messages to workstations.
  • Git Integration
    For small, medium and large development team, managing your code is a must and OpenInsight’s repository based environment is now tightly integrated to the Git   source code management system and thereby giving you access to one of the leading application development management tools for teams.
  • Universal Driver 5.1
  • This latest version of the ever popular Universal Driver supports 64-bit operating systems and Volume Snap Shot (VSS) capability.  Together, these technologies provide the highest levels of reliability and the facility to quickly recover if something should go bad.

In this webinar Mike, Bob and Bryan will provide an overview of these new features and
benefits of OpenInsight 10 and more.

REGISTER NOW for this complimentary webcast.

If you are unable to attend at this time, register today and attend the archived event at your convenience!