Fellow Revelation Software Users:
Greetings to you again from Revelation headquarters. I’d like to personally wish you a Happy New Year, and wish you health, happiness, and success in the New Year. We’ve had a busy year here at Revelation and 2008 is looking even busier. It is also looking like a year for transitions here at Revelation Software with new software and capabilities being introduced and new licensing and deployment models being developed.
What’s Happened Lately?
2007 was a very busy year. We started out announcing a partnership with IBM, one where IBM let their users know about our OpenInsight for U2 product. We’ve had some sales of this product, and even more where existing U2 users (users of IBM’s UniVerse or UniData data servers) have started to use OpenInsight as a graphical font end for their applications. We’ve continued to improve and enhance this product and we continue to see more and more interest. The use of the OpenInsight for U2 product allows our existing customers to switch to an IBM data server back end that has much more capacity and is markedly faster with large amounts of data. If your OpenInsight database is starting to get large, you should contact your local reseller, or us directly, about OpenInsight for U2.
We had our conference in Seattle at the end of January. It was the best attended conference we’ve had, and feedback from attendees was great. The sessions were led by a mixture of Revelation staff and industry experts from organizations such as Sprezzatura, SRP Computer Solutions, and many others. IBM was there as well, with Susie Siegesmund, IBM's Director, Worldwide, of U2 Data Services giving the keynote address.
We released OpenInsight 8.0 in May. OpenInsight 8.0 contained hundreds of enhancements, such as new TCL functionality, a new Banded Report Writer, enhancements to the System Editor, Report Builder, the RDK tool, plus many, many more. During the remainder of the year we also released updates 8.0.1, 8.0.2, and 8.0.3. These releases contained both bug fixes and enhancements. Details of each of these releases can be found on the website.
We released Arev32 as a part of the OpenInsight 8.0 release. Arev32 is a port of the existing Arev source code into OpenInsight, and the creation of a Character screen interface that emulates the DOS 80 column by 24 row screen. We’ve supplied a wizard to help convert your Arev applications, and the rest of the changes that need to be done are easily handled. If you are still running an Arev or RevG application on modern workstations or networks, I strongly urge you to evaluate and convert to Arev32.
The Universal Driver 4.0 was released in 2007. This release was an update of the Universal Driver 3.0, with a couple of additions. First, it applies only to Windows networks. Second, it has built-in backward compatibility for the changes we made to the hashing algorithm to support large files. The UD 3.0 does not have this capability, and files made with the UD 3.0 could not be read by users of the NT Service 1.5 or 2.1, or the NLM. Thirdly, the Universal Driver 4.0 has a console application included that allows an administrator on the server to view and release locks held by users – a very cool feature.
Towards the end of the year we introduced a new authorization process for OpenInsight installations and upgrades. This upgrade requires that the user obtain a 5x5 code from Revelation. This code stamps the engine with the correct number of users, the type of users, and other information. Basically, it replaces the need for users to obtain physical product for server deployment packs, or sending a DLL to us via email. It does require the filling out of an electronic form initially, but after that the process should be automatic. Our future plans for this authorization process include the ability for users to request increases in users electronically, and having the authorization codes sent back to the user via email. There are many questions and concerns about this new authorization process, and so we’ve created a FAQ that is available from the Revelation.com home page.
Finally, we started work on 8.1, our newest release of OpenInsight. Add these accomplishments to the fact that we spoke at user group meetings in the US, UK, and Australia, and spoke at the IBM U2 Universities around the world, and continued writing our technical articles for Spectrum magazine, I think you’d agree that we’ve had a busy year.
Plans for the Next Year
We’ve been working on the next release of OpenInsight, version 8.1, since last fall. There are a number of planned changes, including: a new Form Designer with property panels, new controls, and support for .Net assemblies; an even newer System Editor+, based upon a mix of the System Editor+ features married with the capabilities of an editor based upon the Scintilla editor. Some of these features include Code Assistant, Code folding, more complete color coding, ability to edit OS files, and more. This new editor is a really great tool, and we’ve been using it in house since December. We’ve added more Basic+ commands and opcodes that improve our compatibility with other MultiValue products, and we’ve upgraded our printing capabilities.
In December of 2007, Revelation Software purchased the OpenInsight version of Freedombase Web Ready from Freedomsoft. Freedombase Web Ready for OpenInsight, which we will rename internally as WebOI, allows developers to take an existing windows-based OpenInsight application’s screens, popup, and reports and create browser-based versions of them, with either little or no code changes to your existing system. Let me repeat- little or no code changes to your system. The Basic+ commands in your application, such as Get_Property, Set_Property, Start_Window, and so on, will work the same whether your application is used through a browser, or through a standard Windows system. Screens will look and act nearly the same in a browser as they do on the Windows or Linux client, although they’ll be running a mixture of HTML and Ajax. There will undoubtedly be some changes to your system, but the fact remains that with very little work, an entire application can be made to work across the browser. We’ll be adding a number of reporting features as well, since Freedombase didn’t really have good support for reporting. All of this functionality will be included in the OpenInsight 8.1 release.
We expect to release OpenInsight 8.1 somewhere around June of 2008. In the meantime, we’ll probably have an 8.0.4 update, sometime around March 2008 or so. This update will include only bug fixes and patches.
Based upon changes in networking technologies, we may have an update for the network drivers as well. In this case, we’re basically waiting on changes in the market. We’re still mulling the creation of 64-bit versions of the products. We think we’re just about at the tipping point, but as with the new network products, we’re waiting on customer demand. However, we are getting ready for it.
We’ll also be having our 2008 User’s Conference at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada from May 13th through the 16th. We expect to have twenty-four different sessions, targeted at both developers and end users. We’ll be showcasing some of the new features of the OpenInsight 8.1 release, showing and giving examples of best practices, and technical tips and tidbits. I always feel that our conferences are worth the time and money, but I know I’m biased.
Another new change as of the 8.1 release will be a simplification of our network and user pricing. OpenInsight’s pricing model is substantially based upon the pricing model that was developed for Revelation by Cosmos in 1982. A piece of software was purchased and the user used it. When network technology emerged, multi-user versions of the software were developed, and network drivers were developed. As network technologies continued to evolve, Revelation developed and released the NLM, NT Service, and the Universal Driver. However, Revelation would sell additional user licenses to sites even if they didn’t already have a network driver. Even though sites were encouraged to purchase the correct network driver, a number did not, and ended up with data corruption or locking errors. Finally, the pricing of these users was skewed: purchasing fewer licenses cost more per seat than purchasing larger number of licenses. It was a situation that caused (and causes) lots of confusion.
We’ve now come up with a new user pricing model. First, there will no longer be a difference between Runtime users and Development users; all users will have full development capabilities. All users will now be called ‘Network Users’. The only runtime users that will still exist will be the Single User Runtimes that can be deployed by Works subscribers. Second, Network products will be included with the purchase of Network Users. No longer will a site need to purchase both seats and a separate Network product –they will be one and the same. Network products will not be sold separately. Finally, sites with up to five users will pay less per seat than sites with greater numbers of users.
There is one other change, and it is a fairly radical one for Revelation users. Starting with OpenInsight version 8.1, users will be required to pay an annual license renewal on all user seats. This is an industry standard, and is already familiar to those sites and companies using the Developer-class engines, or the older Pay-As-You-Go pricing. Nearly every software product we use requires annual license renewals, and we at Revelation need to make these changes to continue to maintain the level of support, innovation and development that our users require. Pricing specifics will be made available as we draw closer to the 8.1 release date. I know that these are new changes, and I invite your comments and suggestions.
I want to repeat that these changes are only in effect for OpenInsight version 8.1 and above. Users of versions prior to 8.1 may continue to purchase and use seats, licenses, and network products as they have in the past.
And so in conclusion…
I’m excited about the changes we’re introducing to OpenInsight. The new Web functionality that we’ve added to the product allows our users and resellers to make browser-based versions of their systems easier than any other product we know of. Basically, by running a few commands you can take your windows-based screens and run them on all sorts of devices- Web Browsers, mobile phones, PDAs – any device that supports a browser screen and a connection to the web. This will allow our users, and us, to extend the lives of our application by many years with a minimum amount of work, training, or money. It’s really a great deal.
We continue to advertise and market the Revelation and OpenInsight names so that decision makers and other developers continue to be familiar with our products and services. We’ve been around for more than 25 years, and hope to be around for as many more. Finally, we continue to make sure that our staff is technically proficient, helpful, and knowledgeable about the fact that our customers are our most important asset.
We also recognize that 2008 is shaping up to be a challenging one in regards to the economy. There’s talk of a recession, worries about the election, and other factors coming into play. It is in these times that your Revelation-based systems become even more valuable: you’ll find that it is much easier to enhance and modify your system to react to these trying times. Contact your local consultant to assist you with these changes; if you cannot find a local consultant, contact us here at Revelation and we’ll help you locate one.
Thanks again for your support this past year, and thanks for using our products. I look forward to talking and meeting with you soon.
President, Revelation Software.