Panorama X Server Progress Report

Last night I changed the video from Private to Anyone can watch in the Vimeo settings. Apparently I did it incorrectly somehow, because I just double checked and it was set to Private again. So I just set it to Anyone can watch again, hopefully it will work now. It gave me a different link, here it is:

I will modify the link in the previous posts also, but of course I can’t fix the emails that have been sent out.

Yep, that link now works.

This is the most exciting thing since Panorama X was announced.

The web integration is critical for me, as it was in Panorama 6.

Questions will come later, but I would so love to replace the sprawling, bloated, inflexible, and super costly Salesforce implementation used by our company with a tightly focused CRM tailored specifically to our needs.

Yeah, I no longer have to upload 210,000 records just to upload a change to a procedure! Most of my clients are remote so this will be a big time saver.

Nice!

I would so love to replace the sprawling, bloated, inflexible, and super costly Salesforce implementation used by our company with a tightly focused CRM tailored specifically to our needs.

Agreed. btw: Here’s a screen shot of the contacts page of my commercial CRM app, reprogrammed in Pan X and waiting for the “Sync” button to work.

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Suppose I have a server running on one subnet and client computers on another subnet. Will the clients see and connect to the server the say way as the video shows?
I ask because my office has two locations that are connected by an always on VPN. In one subnet, the computers have IP addresses of 192.168.76…, and in the other 192.168.75… Pan6 servers clients use the Internet Database Sharing mode to handle this situation.

All Panorama X server communication is done thru HTTP, i.e. “web” protocols, including database sharing. Essentially, Panorama X server always runs in Internet Database Sharing mode, it doesn’t have the Apple Event mode.

In the end for your situation this works out the same as before. For computers on the same subnet, Bonjour can be used to automatically identify the IP address of the server. Bonjour doesn’t work across multiple subnets, so in that situation you have to set it up the server with a static IP, just as you did before. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use Apache, as long as your VPN can route port 8080 from one network to the other you can use the built-in Panorama X web server. If not, you’ll have to use Apache, but as the video shows, that is now very easy to set up.


I had question off-list about whether alternates to Apache could be used (nginx, abyss, etc.) with Panorama X. I haven’t tested this, but if you had one of these alternate servers working with Panorama 6 server, it should continue to work, Panorama X uses the CGI interface exactly the same way that Panorama 6 did.

I’ve not used the previous version of the Pan 6 Server, but looking forward to the new X version. I’ve done a lot of improvements and added many new features to my Pan X databases from Pan6. Two things are holding me back from implementing my Pan X programs: 1) waiting on the server version and 2) the state of Texas needs to pass into law the university guidelines that all Texas universities must use. We “think” the rule of law approval will be late fall which sounds like coincides with the PanX release. I enjoyed the server progress video… I wish there was a way to download the video to share with my staff? Thank you Jim!

You could just send them the link, it’s available for anyone to watch.

Oh… I will, thank you

Hi Jim,

Thank you for
this report on Panorama X server progress. It looks great!

You
mention wanting to get some statistics during the Panorama X beta period, however, this would not likely be very reliable usage indicator for us, since we, for one, would not want to convert and distribute to our employees a Panorama X server database that is not yet fully complete or
tested, let alone all of the many Panorama databases we use. Our business relies on this. Also, because of the numerous custom forms and scripts we use, all of which would need to be tested and possibly converted to work with Panorama X, it would not be something that would happen quickly.

You would obtain better statistics if you wrote a program to monitor Panorama 6 Server usage on databases already functional and in daily use, if that would not be too complex. We have many functional databases used constantly that would provide a far more realistic picture of usage, and for us, this would result in a more accurate prediction of the cost of using the
new software.

At this point, making even a one line change to Panorama 6 is effectively impossible. Panorama 6 uses several custom tools in the build process, at least one of which will not run on anything newer than OS X 10.6 – in other words, it can’t be done on any of our up-to-date computers. We do have a 10.6 computer in the closet, but getting it out, getting it working, and getting reaquainted with the build process and the code base would take at least a month or two just to get started, then probably another month or two to build and test monitoring tools. I’m sure you’d rather that effort was spent on moving the Panorama X Server project forward, certainly that is my call. One other point – I’ll bet many existing Panorama 6 installations would be very hesitant to install a new version of Panorama 6 Server just so ProVUE could get some data. I know I would be.

Since the monitoring function has to be put into Panorama X Server anyway, doing so will not take any extra development time. I understand your point about the quality of statistics during a beta period, but some statistics are better than none, and the quality will improve as the release gets closer. Based on past experience, some organizations will transition to Panorama X Server more quickly than others, so we should get some useful data. My primary point, though, was to be transparent as to why pricing isn’t being announced right now.

I forgot to mention it in my progress report post above, but one of the major reasons I created this progress report video was to let Panorama 6 Server users know that it’s probably an appropriate time to get serious about converting your databases to Panorama X. I know that some users out there have already been working on this for some time, and are ready to go and chomping at the bit, but others have been waiting on the fence. For the most part, custom forms and scripts can be worked on now, using the single user version of Panorama X, so that when the server version is ready, you’ll be ready to go.

Jim, I watched the server video last night. We are excited to see this progress. Thank you for all your hard work. It would be fantastic if the programmer could make changes to the structure of the database in a sandbox or test area, and then, when it comes time to upload the new database, all other client databases would automatically lock into read-only mode until the user downloads the new version from the server. Is something like that possible?

That’s more or less how it works. In fact for changes to procedures, forms, and field options (like patterns or code), it is exactly how it works. The programmer can make and test these changes on his or her local machine, and no one else is affected. When the changes are ready, everyone else closes the database, you upload the new version to the server and then everyone reloads the revised version and continues on their way.

When you say “structure of the database” I think of things like inserting or deleting fields. That is a bit different, you have to lock everyone else out before you make a change like that. That is necessary, because if other users continued editing the data while you did that, there would be no way to apply their changes to your database (since the field structure is different), and their data changes would be permanently lost. So in that case, everyone else has to stop working while you change the database structure. But adding a field isn’t the kind of thing that needs much testing – you just do it and immediately upload, then everyone can resume work with the revised structure. If there are extensive coding changes that do need to be tested, you can do that as a separate new generation afterwards.

Jim, I wanted to add a suggestion to how shared databases might be changed in the future PanX server version. It will be fantastic if the programmer can make changes to his version of a database without disturbing other users on the system. Then when he decides to implement the changes, all other clients are locked into read-only while the new database changes are uploaded to the server. In my simple mind, you could take this one step further and allow the programmer to change the database structure after locking everybody else into read-only mode. I realize this would require some kind of tool to help the programmer keep track of fields and data, However, in theory the programmer could then, in a single step, upload the new database structure and download the latest data content saved at the time of the last lockout into read-only mode. Panorama would then be able to handle reasonable file structure changes without forcing clients into complete shutdown mode before structure changes are implemented.

If you think about it, this is not possible. The problem is the “download the latest data content” step. Once the data structure is changed, it is no longer possible to automatically synchronize changes made by other users that are still using the old structure.

What I said in July is still true, however, I just made a change that I think will be helpful for this situation. The video shows that in order to do a new sharing generation and change the structure of a file, all other users must close the database. That is no longer the case – now they can simply temporarily disconnect the database from the server. This means that they can still view the data while the structure is being changed, including searching, selecting, outlines, printing, etc. They just can’t modify the data while the new generation is in progress. When the new generation is complete, each user can reconnect, which will automatically trigger a download of the new generation to their computer.

This still requires other users to manually either close the database or disconnect before the new generation can proceed, but being able to disconnect without closing should make this process quite a bit less disruptive, as it no longer forces clients into “complete shutdown mode”, only a partial shutdown (no modifications). I’ve even already updated the documentation to reflect this change!

This is great news – about not having to force all users to quit PanX in order to change a shared file structure. Thank you for pressing forward on this issue. PanX Enterprise is going to be a World Class shared database.