Performance


z4OK, so yes, I did go a little mad the other weekend.  I’ve hankered for a roadster for many years and this little beauty presented itself and I took the leap. She’s garaged and only comes out at the weekends. However, that does not matter because she puts a smile on my face whilst she’s standing still as well as when I behind the wheel, feeding that 2.5 litre straight six and pushing her on through some sweeping bends.

Whilst modern she retains some glorious traditional lines, she looks fast when she’s standing still and when you open her up she’s as responsive as you like and she just flies.

OpenInsight 10 (OI10), for many of us has been a project that has seen the interface chance considerably. Whilst hugely functional, the old desktop interface was looking aged and not overly intuitive for new users. For experienced developers, the interface required a fair amount of clicking down through layers to achieve things or, at best you needed to know the shortcut keys. OI10 delivers a brand-new interface that is way more intuitive to use. There is no more clicking down through layers, so much more is right there in the interface or one click away and so, so much more has been exposed in the way of new controls, properties and more.

Whilst the O4W interface is still pretty new, it’s early releases were based around a two-column approach but OI10 opens up an array of new possibilities with multi-column design and drag and drop development.

I’ve played with the latter Alpha releases and I’m now getting more and more into the beta to convert my personally written contact manager that I use on a daily basis at RevSoft. I’m fast learning that OI10 all adds up to an easier to use interface with productivity gains to be found everywhere. I cannot believe how much code I can now remove from my forms by just setting one simple property in the Property Panel – that’s usually a case of inserting a single value (numeric or text), or making a picklist selection or toggling a property. OI10 is making our application developer easier than ever and introducing standards that will no doubt deliver better applications through consistency, stability and refined code.

So, the interface enhancements are nice, the O4W design options are more powerful but people still want better performance and on more than one occasion recently I’ve had discussions about indexing large files.

At conference last year, Bob spoke about the way that the conversion tools will optimise your tables. It is still work in progress but Revelation are mastering the dark art of balancing file-sizes with thresholds and a whole load of things that I really don’t understand. Bob’s also worked on caching things and using memory better and Andrew at Sprezzatura continues to explore ways to better configure the system for Linear Hash and find performance gains.

Some people don’t think that Revelation are taking performance seriously and listening to their customer base. I know for a fact that this is not the case. You only have to sit in the car with Mike on the way back from a User Group meeting to know that he personally takes customer needs and requested extremely seriously. On more than one occasion (in fact on many occasions) I’ve been driving him across the UK and he’s bashing away on his keyboard like it’s going to give up on him in the next ten minutes. We get to our destination and he shows me an example of something a client has suggested or requested and with a big smile on his face, he tells me that I can let my client know that it’s in the next release – subject to testing and quality control of course. It’s the little details like this that have kept me loyal to Revelation for the last 20 years, in a sales role that would normally have seen half a dozen sales people come and go.

Like the motorcar currently sitting in my garage just a few feet away from me, OpenInsight is maturing into one of IT’s classics which continues to deliver on the needs of the modern application developer. Not only does it look good and it’s wonderful to work with, hidden under the hood are a number of highly sought-after enhancements that are set to deliver some of those performance gains that the OpenInsight community have been asking for.

Just yesterday, after yet another call with a client looking at index performance on files with 500,000 plus rows, Andrew told me about some more of Bob’s enhancements to OpenInsight. Well, I just had to get some highlights from the man himself and, as a teaser, this is his reply:

“I have re-written index builds and updates. The high points are:

  • Rebuild uses in-memory hashtables and removes 64k workarounds which were in the legacy build.
  • Rebuild all for a table rebuilds all indexes in one pass, rather than individual passes
  • Update_Index is rewritten so that there is less contention on the root of the index. I made changes to SI.MFS as well.

…”

I don’t fully understand indexing but Bob tells me that the current system has to make numerous passes. One test that he undertook had to make six passes through a system with 500,000 rows. His greatly refined solution now makes just one pass through 500,000 rows, rather than having to work through 3,000,000 rows. He therefore has a very high level of confidence that the rebuild process work well and performance gains will be experienced across the board. I don’t have the figures, but he tells me that the 500,000 row rebuild was much faster and that’s good enough for me.

Other enhancements include a brand new update process that makes use of multiple sessions updating many tables at the same time. This has proven to be robust and fast during internal testing and we look forward to hearing the results obtained by our beta testers in the real world and running against real databases with hundreds of thousands or millions of rows.

I’m looking forward to getting out in the Z4 with Joanna, putting the convertible roof down and enjoying the wind in our hair. In the same way, I’m looking forward to working with the fresh looking OpenInsight toolset, modernising my applications and sharing this new gem of a toolset with the wider MultiValue community and the application development community in general.

We now have a fully integrated, highly functional toolset that is easy to use, powerful and fast. I can’t wait for the official OI10 release and to hear what Mike, Carl, Bob and the team have in the pipeline for OI11.

It’s going to be a great ride for the foreseeable future.

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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.

 

MyESS goes mobile


myess-mobileIt has been quite sometime since I first helped to take Ardbrook’s data onto the web with a fledgling O4W based application to illustrate an idea.  Bill and the team took what I had built, developed it further and commercialised it as a product ready for release to their customer base and new clients.

With numerous extremely high profile clients now using the ESS system, the team at Ardbrook have taken the solution one step further into the mobile world.  They have now released a wonderful mobile application that runs on your Android or iOS based smartphone.

The application enables employees to gain access to their current payslip from anywhere and at any time.  Furthermore, the solution provides access for past payslips and also copies of the employee’s P60, both going back over numerous years.

This is a really nice looking solution that empowers employees, whilst at the same time reducing admin for the Human Resources departments.  It is also perfect for payroll bureaux’s and large or small businesses alike.

If you would like to know more and see the application in action, please click here for their short demo video (includes sound).

OpenInsight’s image handling is about to go to a new level.


New image control in OI 10.
Greater control of images in OI 10.

Those of you that have seen my OpenInsight applications will know that I spend a fair amount of time on the UI and like to have smooth graphics.  Whilst I use .png files throughout, I have still resulted to creating them with a background colour the same as my window background.  With operating system themes and other advances this can sometimes catch me out.

It was therefore great to see the latest OpenInsight 10 blog posting and what we will be able to do with .png graphics in the new version.

Click here for more details.