2008 Revelation Software User's Conference Wrap-up

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In May of 2008, over 130 Revelation Software developers, users, and consultants descended upon the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada and experienced what some are calling the 'Best Revelation Conference Ever.' Were you there?

On May 13th through 16th Revelation Software hosted their latest User's Conference in Las Vegas. With a mix of both end-users and developers, the attendees made a dynamic, exciting group. The conference began officially with a cocktail reception and registration. This gave both the Revelation staff and attendees to mingle and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a drink while catching up with each other. 

Early the next morning (at least it seemed early at the time), coffee and danish were enjoyed as the attendees got ready for the keynote address by Mike Ruane, President of Revelation Software. After some comments about the state of the company, plans for product releases and future directions, each of the presenters that would be speaking over the next three days was given a chance to provide a quick synopsis of the content of their talk. This was the first time that this was tried at a Revelation conference and it appears to have gone over well.

The first day started with presentations by David Goddard showing the new Banded Report Writer, which was a surprise to him as he was planning on talking about Ajax! It became apparent that there was a mix up between the original schedule and the one handed out in the Conference Daily Newsletter. Presenting opposite David was Carl Pates with a discussion of the tips, techniques, and traps to avoid when creating OpenInsight-based websites. It should also be noted that all of the Audio/Video was sponsored by IBM. 

After a tasty lunch with a Mexican theme sponsored by SRP Computer Solutions, (and we must say at this point that the food at the Rio was absolutely fantastic) the presentations continued with Paul Simonsen of SRP Computer Solutions speaking about OpenInsight’s event chain, while Bryan Shumsky of Revelation Software ratcheted the geek-o-meter to High in a talk about using .Net controls in OpenInsight. The next group of talks included Mike Ruane of Revelation Software talking about the new Form Designer being written for the next major release of OpenInsight, and he took suggestions and feedback from the audience to include into the final product. At that same time Bob Carten, also of Revelation Software was discussing the use of Commuter Modules as a design consideration in OpenInsight forms. 

A tasty snack sponsored by VSI Technologies followed these presentations, and then the show continued. Rick Weiser of DesignBais spoke about using OpenInsight with a DesignBais web-based front end, while at the same time Frank Tomeo of SRP talked about using the SRP Utilities within an OpenInsight application. At that point, the presentations were done for the day, but it was time for the Vendor Fair and Exhibition.

The Vendor Fair is a chance for those companies or individuals who have products or services that can be useful to or are needed by the Revelation community to show their wares. Companies exhibiting in the previous years included tool makers, hardware sellers, marketing firms, graphics artists, and consultants. The food was fantastic, the drinks cold and refreshing, and there was a Wii at the Zadek booth. 

Thursday morning it all started again with a breakfast sponsored by International Spectrum. Nathan Rector of International Spectrum spoke a few words, and then the attendees were off to the sessions. The first session had Bob Catalano of Revelation Software giving part one of a two-part session on “Web Enabling Your Application with WebOI”. Sean FitzSimons, also of Revelation Software, gave a presentation of the new System Editor to be included in the next OpenInsight version. These sessions were followed by the second part of Bob Catalano’s WebOI discussion, which included a special discussion about the new licensing plan. Andrew McAuley spoke at the same time of Undocumented Sysenv Structures in OpenInsight.

After a lunch sponsored by Sprezzatura where Andrew McAuley gave a brief speech, the conference presentations continued. Kevin Ruane of Revelation Software presented a discussion of the Universal Driver 4.0 and its configuration and use. At the same time Kevin Fournier of SRP Computer Solutions gave a presentation on Deploying Applications using Nullsoft. This was an exceptionally interesting talk as it allows developers an avenue to create installations or updates for free. The next set of talks were given by Mike Ruane of Revelation Software who talked about using various Google Widgets with OpenInsight- Searches, Maps, and Charts, while Sean FitzSimons gave a presentation showing the new IDE that will be included in the next version of OpenInsight.

A brief ice cream snack followed (and who doesn’t like ice cream), we wrapped up the presentations for the day with Bob Orsini of Revelation Software wowing the crowd with his Arev32: After the conversion wizard presentation. At the same time Mary Jean Blink of VSI gave a presentation entitled ‘Thinking Outside the Editbox’ in which she showed examples of OpenInsight developers taking the OpenInsight toolset and using it in new and creative ways.

We wrapped up the day with a dinner and bowling event at the Lucky Strike Lanes, located within the Rio Hotel. Revelation Software did what is called a ‘buy out’- that is, the attendees were the only people allowed in the restaurant for a few hours, and we had a great time. Different companies that were attending the show had purchased team bowling shirts and really looked the part. The bowling started out seriously: teams were chosen, along with bowling names, but we were soon greeted by M.C., our emcee, and Fun Bowling began. Would you trust a conference attendee, blindfolded, with a bowling ball? How about bowling between your teammates legs, as they straddled the lane? There was this and more. A great time was had by all who attended, and there are reports (and some photographic evidence) of some party goers who headed up to the VooDoo Lounge, a nightclub up on the roof of the Rio, five hundred feet above ‘The Strip’. Rumor has it that some attendees did not make it back to their rooms until 4:00 am.

The final day of the conference started with some heavy headed attendees stumbling into breakfast late, while most attendees were wide awake and bushy tailed. The first session of the day was given by Michael Byrne of IBM with his talk entitled ‘The Benefits of Using UniData or UniVerse with OpenInsight’, where the strengths of the U2 back end coupled with the OpenInsight front end were discussed. At the same time, John Stamper of VSI gave a presentation entitled ‘An SQL primer for OpenInsight Users”. The penultimate two presentations of the conference were given by Don Bakke of SRP Computer Solutions with his OpenInsight and U2 Databases talk, and David Goddard giving his Ajax and OpenInsight talk (He was supposed to give the BRW talk here, but you remember the mix-up from the first day...). The final two technical sessions of the 2008 User’s Conference were from Bob Carten and Bryan Shumsky of Revelation Software. Bob discussed the use of thin client computing with OpenInsight, while Bryan discussed different techniques of connecting with OpenInsight’s database engine.

After a lunch sponsored by WinWin Solutions, Mike Ruane gave his closing address. He thanked all the exhibitors, presenters, and staff. He also noted that the next release of OpenInsight, which was being called 8.1, would in fact be version 9.0. He had a few more closing comments, and then let those vendors who were giving away their prizes do so. VSI, Zadek, Sprezzatura and Revelation Software all gave away prizes, ranging from Amazon gift certificates to iPod Touches to new Asus computers. As the attendees filed out of the closing remarks, they were given conference tee shirts and conference proceedings CDs. 

All in all, attendees were very happy and excited with the conference. Some of the comments received included ‘I got a lot out of the sessions - each had something new to learn. It's a pity I couldn't attend them all’and ‘The mix of people has changed slightly with several new faces including youngsters! It was good to see all of our old friends again and once again the entertainment provided on the penultimate evening was a real crowd pleaser’. The general consensus was that we should have another conference in 2009, and we’re looking across the United States for the next venue. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed no pictures in this wrap up? How odd that is for us? Well, we had so many good pictures that we’ve posted a slideshow on YouTube.com, with a link available from the Revelation.com home page.

We hope to see you at next year’s show.

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