New OI User Story


Plumbing Company Modernizes Services with Revelation Software
By Joyce Wells

New England Water Heater is a plumbing services company specializing in water heater repair and installation based in North Waltham, MA. The company provides a centralized service through a network of geographically dispersed plumbing companies in the surrounding region, including its own company, Home Services of New England (HSNE) Plumbing.

NEWH’s services include the sale, lease, installation, and repair of water heaters for non-commercial customers in the New England states, as well as other plumbing services, ranging from fixing leaking faucets to handling oil-to-gas conversions.

To support this work, the company provides a customer hotline in Massachusetts for more than 20,000 accounts. Revelation Software is the backbone of the overall IT system.

Goal
Today, businesses of all types are changing the way they operate. They are adopting hosted services rather than purchasing and maintaining software and hardware on-premises, and, as a result, employees also now frequently work remotely.

With the advances in IT services that have taken place over the past 5 years, NEWH saw an opportunity to move to a cloud-based system to support its employees and customers.  The goal was to improve its overall quality of service while also enabling office staff to access systems from home.

In addition, the company wanted to eliminate the overhead costs of office space, a local area network, and shared printers. Critical to the new set-up was the ability for its affiliated plumbing companies, as well as its own HSNE staff, to input information about service visits and billing into the system and access new assignments while on the road.

Process
In September 2015, NEWH and HSNE decided to eliminate their physical offices, where each employee was provided with a desk, telephone, shared printer, and a desktop computer connected to a local file server to perform their job, said David Harmacek of Harmacek Database Systems, who specializes in Revelation Software products. The process of publishing the company’s 28-year-old Advanced Revelation application to the cloud was handled by Harmacek, who has been a consultant to NEWH since 1994.

When the decision was made to migrate the system, NEWH had a typical Windows Server, internet connections, IP phones for customer support, and a range of website-oriented support interfaces, as well as a hybrid Arev (Advanced Revelation) 32 and OpenInsight 9.4 database system.

To modernize the operations, Harmacek put a plan in motion to switch to a hosted system and began implementing this new approach in February 2016.

The Arev32/OpenInsight system was migrated to a Parallels server. Since the telephones were already on an IP system, no adjustment needed to be made, but office documents and storage outside of the database needed to be moved to Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive.

As a long-time Revelation Software customer, NEWH uses a system on Revelation’s OpenInsight 9.4 for business processes such as document management, phone calls, and customer support—everything but accounting.

Because the system is so critical to its business—handling processes such as document management, phone calls, and customer support—the NEWH migrated the system to the Parallels 2X RDP server, while also maintaining the physical system, to make sure that everything transitioned flawlessly.

Eventually, even though the company had not yet moved from its physical office space, it began using only the remote services, as if all the employees were working from home, said Harmacek. The dual on-premise and cloud approach lasted until late spring. By June 2016, the company no longer had physical offices, said Harmacek.

Biggest Challenge
“Working with a 28-year-old application, we found that there are many features that are no longer in use, while other capabilities are leveraged all the time and have been just working forever,” said Harmacek.

“The biggest challenge was eliminating the dependence on a local network for file storage and local printing, since the employees could no longer walk over to an office and hand someone a piece of paper, and they could no longer print anything,” he said.  This issue has been solved by using the feature in Parallels 2X that allows a local folder to be managed from the application. Reports and PDF files can be placed onto the remote desktop. Files, both PDFs and images, can be uploaded and integrated with the hosted database.  “Anything that needed to be done had to be accomplished by interacting with the system. I had to find all the places in the processes where this was needed and change the system to allow it to be done that way.”
Read On…

DBTA – MV Vendors Look to the Role of MV in the Future


1P7A8552Database Trends and Applications have just published a new article that looks at the role of MultiValue technologies in the future.

Author Stephanie Simone, talks to six of the key leaders in the MultiValue community to get their viewpoint on the future of our great technologies into the future.

Here is what Mike Ruane, President and CEO, Revelation Software had to say on the subject.

“At Revelation Software, we are incorporating features, capabilities, and integrations into OpenInsight (our MultiValue database development environment) to address the challenges of evolving data environments.

We are providing MV developers with a browser-based rapid application development tool that lets them generate responsive forms, reports, and dashboards, and we are supporting the “develop once and deploy to the desktop, tablet, or a mobile device” design philosophy.

With a development environment that tightly integrates with the Git source code management system, we offer an environment that allows for collaborative development teams as well as source code management.

Moreover, our database development environment seamlessly integrates with cloud databases. Building applications that utilize NoSQL cloud-based data storage allows us to support large numbers of concurrent users, deliver highly responsive experiences to a globally distributed base of users, provide high availability, and also handle semi-structured and unstructured data.

Enhancing usability, OpenInsight offers a development user interface within MV that is similar to what developers outside the MV world are accustomed to, provides a database environment that utilizes industry-standard AES encryption and policies, and enables end users who work with MV data stores to view their data in today’s BYOD world.”

Your can view the entire article on DBTA’s website here.

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.

 

Alternative Method to Maintain Indices Or Any Other Repetitive Processes


If your site is running an engine server, you can take advantage of the built-in “System Monitor” feature to automate regular processes such as index updates.  If you edit, with notepad or similar application, your engine server’s configuration file (normally eserver.cfg, located in your OpenInsight folder), you may find a line that starts:

System Monitor=

Following the equal sign, you can specify the process you want to run, along with the application, user name, and password where the process should be run (comma-delimited).  Multiple processes my be specified, separated by semi-colons.

You can find out more about this useful OpenInsight feature in the OpenInsight Knowledgebase or by simply clicking here.

OpenInsight 10 – Alpha 7


OI10whiteRevelation have made some good progress with the OpenInsight 10 Alpha and I’m currently working through my bug list and closing a nice number of reported issues from earlier alphas, something that I’ll continue with over the weekend.

In line with their open and transparent policy for OpenInsight 10, they Alpha v7 is now available for download to all Works Members.

The Alpha v7 is available as a full install. So, if you have worked with earlier alpha’s please use the AppBackup facility to backup your old alpha work and restore it into the new alpha.  This is what I do but one word of warning.  If you keep your data, images and other supporting files in a specific folder (I keep things in C:\RevSoft10.6\MDPmyApp) you’ll need to copy that folder from the earlier alpha and into the new alpha once installed.  The app restore will then use the new folder and the restore should run just fine.

This version includes many enhancements to the IDE, Form Designer, Table Builder and O4W, so it is well worth a look and to take the opportunity to report any issues that you find to Revelation and have those issue addressed before Revelation releases the beta.

OpenInsight for Web (O4W) v2.0, included in the OpenInsight 10 Alpha v7, is a rapid application development tool that lets you generate responsive forms, reports, and dashboards.  Use the powerful GUI drag-and-drop to lay out your forms and then test in both desktop and mobile browser mode. Or use the toolset’s full-function API to create the most sophisticated web pages.

Alpha v7 is set to expire on April 4, 2017.

Thoughts on the OI10 release timeline from SRP


As I suspected, the big hitters are already putting pen to paper.  Sprezz blogged early this morning and SRP have followed equally as quickly during their morning.

SRP’s article is an initial posting that is the precursor to some more technical reviews to come and I plan to link to those from my blog with Don’s permission.

The initial article focuses on the perceived timeline and is based on the work done already and the work still to be done.  The only thing that I will add is that I have watched the progress and I know that a lot of the product development had to wait until some of the key underlying work was done.  I understand that this has now been done and that the OI10 team has widened and the development is now going at a pace – as Mike has told me several times, the product is changing hourly now.

This following statement is pure supposition but I liken the development timeline to the global population growth chart that we will all recognise and shown above.  I believe that we are now onto the vertical path and that development will produce more and more over the coming weeks leading up to the Q3 beta release.  It is that long horizontal line period that resulted in the slippage and the things that the team could not yet show at the conference.

SRP’s predicted timeline may well prove to be correct and VARs will no doubt want to wait for the first or second point release, but I hope that we will be surprised.  Whichever proves to be the case, I do wholeheartedly agree with SRP’s thought about keeping your own development going in the current versions of OpenInsight and not waiting for OI10.  It is always a mistake to put software development projects on hold whilst awaiting the next innovation.

I would also urge those of you running on OI 7.x and 8.x to seriously consider moving your systems to 9.4.  Whilst Mike indicated that we will be able to convert an OI 4.03 or later system, it makes sense to me to bring yourselves up to 9.4 and then take a smaller step into the OI 10 system with all of its changes.

Conference Pictures


Bob at the 2015 Conference. I think that Bob just might have been caught me taking this picture of him posing as one of the Blues Brothers, Bryan and the other Bob escaped the camera.  However, with a few hundred photographs taken, not everyone noticed so obviously.

Following the final days closing address where the slide show was run, numerous delegates asked me if they could get a copy of the slideshow and also copies of the photographs taken throughout the three day conference.

I am pleased to announce that the slideshow has now been uploaded to my RevUK YouTube channel and the URL is copied below.  This presentation includes some captions on most of the images but you really had to be at the conference to understand them.  For those of you that were there, who enjoyed the laugh in places and who took the time to mentioned the emotion that it drew out of some people, the lasting reminder and captions will make sense and I hope that you will enjoy another viewing.

The photographs have also now been uploaded to my M4Photo website.  The images have been posted into two separate galleries.  The first contains the images captured during Dan Lier’s highly motivational keynote address and for those of you who simply want to jump straight into the Revelation community photographs, those are contained in the Revelation 2015 Conference gallery. The  links are:

For those of you that are interested in such things, I have created a specific Revelation Software gallery on my photographic website and I plan to house all of my Revelation related images there. All of the images in the Revelation Software gallery are available to Revelation developers and clients around the world.

Please ignore the default link to the ordering page, they are available without charge in .jpg format and supplied by email.  Simply find the image or images that you wish to receive and drop me an email with the number of the image or images. Each page has 12 thumbnails and clicking on any thumbnail will open up a slightly larger version of the image which has the photo’s ID.  For example, 1P7A8397.  It is that number that I require, along with your preferred email address for the images to be sent to.  I will use Hightail because the files will be large.  Please let me know if you are unable to accept hightail emails and we’ll work something out.

I received some great comments following the conference about the slideshow and as photographing this sort of event is new to me, I will be very interested to hear your thoughts and comments.  I just hope that you enjoy the images and I look forward to see you again at the next conference, whenever and wherever that may be.