Developing commercial applications


#1

Can I develop a commercial database application in Panorama X such that related database files are “bound” together into a single executable file? Users would purchase the application file from me and would also have to purchase Pan X to run the application.

Can the application be either single-user and/or multiple-user and can I disable the Data Sheet from displaying in a specified database file and only show forms and graphs in that file?

Note, I have read the Pan X documentation, but I did not read how I could “bind” files into a commercial application for sale.


#2

Best to keep the terminology straight. A bound set of files would never be an application but rather a ‘file set’. Panorama X will always be the application and the user will need to have a license for Panorama but they will be able to use a limited license at a lower cost.

So the first answer is no, you can not and with a bit more experience will find that you really wouldn’t want to ‘bind’ your files together to become a single file. Over time, you will be wanting to update a single file and not be bothering the other files at that moment.

To accompish a multi-user situation, you will be needing to purchase Panorama X Enterprise which is not yet available. Enterprise will allow you to serve your data to multiple users keeping all your data in synch between users. It will also allow you to automatically update files when necessary without a lot of user steps involved. A lot of time is currently being spent to bring Enterprise to market. It will be the next major announcement. As an ‘Author’, you can prevent the Datasheet from appearing. A user of a file that has had Permissions restricted, will prevent your users from doing anything you don’t want them to do or access. Check out the Panorama Security capabilities. At this time, you may find more complete info about how this will work by perusing the Panorama 6 docs for Security, and Enterprise.

I’d be more specific but I do not have access to my Panorama at this time. None of the above is ‘official’ but will be pretty close to what the future will be for your questions.


#3

Panorama X is the application Frank will be using to develop an application that he wants to sell to somebody. That application can comprise multiple files and, whilst he can’t ‘bind’ them into a single file, he could store them in a password-protected folder and have a single file outside that folder that ran the application. This might well suit his needs.

And Frank, see Managing Account Roles in the Help wizard.


#4

Robert’s answer is quite good.

Usually when this question is asked, the questioner wants to be able to sell a commercial applications without their customer having to purchase Panorama X. They want to final customer to be able to buy a finished applications that looks just like any other application, with no reference to Panorama X. That is not possible. It’s on the list of possibilities to look into someday, but if it ever happens, that someday is far into the future.

If it’s ok with you that your customer needs to buy Panorama, then you can do that now, and commercial software has been written in Panorama in the past. There is no need for any special “binding”. If you want, you can lock down the file you send the user so that they cannot get into your programming.

Don’t look at the Panorama 6 Security documentation – that is entirely obsolete. In Panorama X security is managed thru the Database Options dialog. There is some documentation here:


#5

I developed a file set on Panorama that was used by a significant number of professional photographers for quite a few years. Rather than binding the files, each one had an Initialize process that made it look for, and launch, a key file that controlled the whole set. That file was essentially the front door to the file set and via a serial numbering system we could control what files they could use or not use from within the overall set. That enabled licensing different combinations depending on their needs.

As noted already, once locked down, the end user could only access windows and forms that we wanted them to use. Other parts were locked out and inaccessible.


#6

Thanks Michael and Jim.

I have Panorama 6 on a Windows PC, and now I will have to purchase a Mac to buy Pan X and develop a financial forecasting app, as well as optimization models. Pity there is not a Windows version of Pan X, because there is a huge market for Windows business apps.

I have developed apps using FileMaker in the past, but I like Pan X; it is superior e.g. RAM-based speed, built-in cross tab reporting, transposing rows and columns in the Data Sheet, summarizations, interactive graphs, a “macro” recorder, tab panels, numerous functions and procedures that FileMaker lacks, more powerful sorting, morphing and filtering of fields, excellent data visualization, excellent documentation and videos, etc.

The final deciding factor for me to buy Pan X is the low cost of ownership for clients. I have also developed models in Quantrix Modeler, but it costs too much for clients to buy my optimization models i.e. AUD $3,000 for Quantrix, plus the cost of my models.

Also, Jim thank you for advising me about Python’s PYOMO optimization. I will at using it with Pan X.

Pan X meets and exceeds all my expectations.


#7

I’d be very interested in hearing about how PYOMO works out for you. To be honest I had never heard of PYOMO before, I found it in researching my reply to your question. It looks very interesting. I think for me the biggest challenge would be learning about optimization tools and terminology in general – integrating Python tools with Panorama is pretty easy but optimization is a whole new area for me.


#8

Jim,

I looked at PYOMO, but it is not very user friendly when compared to Frontline Systems’ Solver.

To give you an idea what optimization modelling is about, attached is an Excel basic transportation optimization model which uses Solver (Solver is a free Excel add-in that automatically comes with Excel).

Excel Solver is a limited version (200 decision variables, 100 constraints) for small to medium size optimization models.

Quantrix Modeler 2018 version also has an optimization engine called Solver, but it cannot solve integer models and it is not as user friendly as Excel Solver . Note, Pan X can do integer calculations, e.g. divide by , which appealed to me for optimization modelling.

If Pan X had an embedded optimization engine, such as Frontline Systems’ commercial version of Solver, it would open up Pan X to new business markets e.g. optimization Linear Programming (LP) and Non-linear Programming (NLP) models, Queuing Theory models, network models e.g. solving the Travelling Salesman problem, Transportation problems, Monte Carlo simulations models, advertising models, etc. The target customers would be CEO’s, engineers, scientists, Operations Research consultants, Universities teaching MBA courses, etc.

Perhaps a licensing agreement with Frontline Systems (www.solver.com) to have Solver as a free add-in in Pan X may be an option.

Ideally, PYOMO (it is open source and with an unlimited number of decision variables and constraints) could be coded in Pan X with Pan X data entry dialogs which are similar to Excel Solver. This would make Pan X unique in the Mac OSX world and would justify the cost of ownership in buying a Mac instead of a Windows computer. At present, Windows computers dominate the optimization market.

The optimization market is very large in the US and Europe. Many Fortune 500 companies use optimization models to maximize profit, minimize cost, minimize time, minimize distance, etc. For example, Kellogs’ optimization model has been in operation since the 1980’s to reduce production, inventory and distribution costs, etc., by approximately $35 to $40 million per year.

References:

Professors Winston and Albright of Indiana University – book is “Practical Management Science” 5th edition.

Professor Albright of Indiana University – book “VBA for Modelers, Developing Decision Support Systems with Microsoft Office Excel” 5th edition.

Professor Cliff T. Ragsdale of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – book is “ Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis” 7th edition.

Regards,

Frank Wade