More Word Processor SO uses

This is a deal breaker. I have my Organic System Plan as a set of Panorama files. My Certifier, CCOF, has PDF files of the forms, 20 total, some 2 pages, for my type of farming business. I save a PNG file for each page named for that page, then display it on a form using a Flash Art SO. Each data entry requirement on the page is a field in the database with the appropriate check box, data cell or WPSO used to enter the required information and print out the page. Every new product I produce requires a revised OPS describing cultivation, pest control, harvesting, packaging and labeling, plus intended customers and delivery methods submitted at least 30 days prior to first sales. Several forms have multi column tables for listing inputs and techniques that are tab separated. No other farmer has this capability. I am introducing 10 new product this spring so this is a serious issue. Previous to WPSO, I had LineItem fields for these type of tables, a lot more work.
My business experience says to take care of existing customers for long term income security. I respectfully ask Jim to conduct a poll of business users to see what we need done to convert our long time and highly successful Pan 6 files to Pan X. I make money because of Panorama so I can imagine a small percentage of sales going to you, particularly as you upgrade the program. But right now Pan X is unusable.

The things you are describing all sound quite possible in PanX, although possibly not in precisely the same way as Pan6. I have a database intended for the completion of complicated governmental forms. It was tedious in many ways to set up, given the large number of data items that can appear on one of the forms (>230 fields) and two related databases, but it can be done. Perhaps you need a qualified PanX developer to assist you with the conversion.
By the way, what is it that you feel Pan X cannot do which is essential to you?

I am a business user who also programs solutions for many other business users. I have been dead in the water because almost all of my clients use Enterprise to provide a multiuser solution. For me, and many other users on this list, this is the biggest bottleneck for using OS X in a business environment. I think that ProVUE is right in making sure this is their number 1 priority.

I have been converting several client solutions to Pan X in single user in anticipation of this development. I have been able to work around almost every Pan X roadblock I’ve encountered wth some creative thinking.


    March 14

this is the biggest bottleneck for using OS X in a business environment.

I meant to type Pan X.

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Tom Cooper asks what can’t be done in Pan X that I need. I use Panorama to print my product information sheets. The Expand and contract feature removes the blank space between text objects of varying content. This way I don’t need a page setup application. I use a Correspondence file with a Word Processing SO to eliminate the need for Word or any other word processing application. I have many multipage letters, papers and proposals that will have to be exported into some other application to be used in the future. I use Tab Down to enter ending inventory counts plus the bank payment dates for checks. This is very fast on a numeric key pad. I started doing income tax returns with Panorama in 1994, Form 1065 Partnerships with several supporting forms and schedules, around 45 printed pages and Form 1040 plus numerous schedules and forms, some 50 pages. Form 1065 is 311 fields. I also have all of the California equivalent forms. I am an expert Panorama programmer. Many companies as Jeff Kozuch notes depend on Panorama for their daily operation. Training employees to use radically different software is very disruptive, stressful and costly. Lost productivity, morale issues, and errors cost a lot of money and damage customer relationships. The whole purpose here is to convince the marketplace that Panorama is the software of the future that will provide small to medium businesses a modern, customizable, and adaptable platform. Transitioning existing customers into Pan X will give ProVUE the word of mouth endorsements from satisfied customers that will drive sales to other business owners.

I’m not sure what feature you are referring to here, maybe the variable height printing feature (Expand and Expand/Collapse)? If so, Panorama X has had that capability since last August (version 10.1).

I use Tab Down to enter ending inventory counts plus the bank payment dates for checks. This is very fast on a numeric key pad.

This was discussed on another thread and some excellent solutions were devised, either using Panorama’s hotkey feature, or external programs like Keyboard Maestro.

I use a Correspondence file with a Word Processing SO to eliminate the need for Word or any other word processing application. I have many multipage letters, papers and proposals that will have to be exported into some other application to be used in the future.

I’ve been waiting for several years for someone to mention Word Processing SuperObjects. I never imagined it would take almost 4 years for this to be brought up.

First, some background. The Word Processing SuperObject feature was added in Panorama 3. At that time, there was no capability to edit any kind of styled text build into MacOS, much less a full word processor. Word processors take years to write, but we were able to license a word processing package called PAIGE from a company named DataPak Software in Vancouver Washington. I found an announcement of the 3.0 version of this package in 1997 here: it looks like there is no other trace of it or this company on the internet.

Licensing PAIGE was a costly investment for ProVUE, and getting it to work with Panorama was an even bigger investment, a significant percentage of a man-year of work, much of which was done by Steve Lavelli, who was a programmer at ProVUE at the time. DataPak did a solid job and the word processor worked well with very few bugs. The biggest downside was that it used a private format, and there was (and is) no way to transfer styled text between Panorama and any other program (Word, Pages, etc.).

When starting the Panorama X project, the word processor was a big worry for me because DataPak had gone out of business, so there was going to be absolutely no way to get this old program (it’s now almost 25 years old) to work on 64 bit Cocoa.

One bit of good news is that OS X does have built in word processor support. I took advantage of this feature to create the Rich Text capability in Text Display options. Eventually I do plan to add a word processor feature to Panorama X, my plan is that the text will be stored as Rich Text so that it will be compatible with Text Display objects, but allow it to be edited WYSIWG instead of having to use tags. (However, for many mail merge type applications, I think the Rich Text feature is actually better.)

Along the way, however, the first beta versions of Panorama X were released, and people started using the software. As that happened, and usage increased, I discovered to my surprise that there appeared to be very little interest in word processor capabilities. In fact, it’s kind of discouraging considering how much investment we put into the original feature back in the mid 90’s. Apparently very very few people used that feature. Perhaps it was because of the difficulty of getting styled text in or out of programs like MS Word or Pages. For whatever reason, since interest was so low I have continued to postpone implementing this feature in Panorama X. For every feature that is added the cost/benefit has to be evaluated. For word processing, the cost is fairly high, for an apparently low benefit for the great number of users. For now, there are other projects, like Panorama Server, where the benefit/cost ration is much higher. I’m running a business here, I have to pick higher return projects over lower return ones.

One last point – when Panorama X does get a word processor, it won’t be compatible with the one in Panorama 6. You won’t be able to bring over styled text from Panorama 6 to X. Unfortunately, since DataPak is out of business, that is simply impossible. You will be able to bring over plain text of course, but the styling will have to be added back to it.

This is a deal breaker.

I totally understand. With each version of Panorama over the years, a certain percentage of users have not made the jump. I wish that wasn’t the case but some churn is inevitable. I knew that with Panorama X, with so many big changes, the percentage that didn’t make the jump would probably be larger than usual. On the other hand, Panorama 6 is definitely going to completely stop working with the next version of macOS, so ultimately I suspect the percentage that fall by the wayside will be similar to previous releases. Panorama 6 sold well when it was first release, but then it had another big kick when OS X 10.7 came out and Panorama 5.5 wouldn’t run any more.

Again, this is a business. I’m not running a museum of old-timey Panorama features. The market has spoken, the world has passed Panorama 6 by. In the past 10 years there have literally been only be a couple dozen genuinely new customers for Panorama 6. So old customers were dropping off with each version (some retire, some die, some switch jobs, some just keep using old versions), and NO new customers were coming in. That’s death. Most companies would have shut everything down, and many have taken that route. But I seem to have a passion for RAM based databases, so I decided to double down and build a completely modern version of Panorama, knowing that it would never be a 100% exact replacement for previous versions and that some users would be very upset. Maybe I should have given it a new name, but it is a 95% replacement.

My goal has been to create a new product that is maximally productive for the most people. And it turns out, because of Panorama X’s unique payment system, I can actually measure that, at least at an approximate level. This chart shows average total daily usage of Panorama X over the past 3 years, all the way back to the beta testing stage. As you can see, usage has tripled since Panorama X 10.0 was released nearly 18 months ago, and is continuing to increase. To me this indicates that, whatever shortcomings it has, Panorama X is being used productively by more and more people. Certainly I will strongly disagree with a general opinion that “Pan X is unusable.”


Another good indicator I don’t have a chart for is that a significant percentage of Panorama X users are completely new to Panorama, never having used it ever before. It’s hard to measure this accurately, but some metrics indicate that this may be as high as 35%, even with minimal marketing so far. Anecdotally, there are also quite a few users from the 1990’s that are coming back to Panorama X after skipping several versions.

Unfortunately the revenue chart (no, I’m not sharing) doesn’t have the same steep upward slope. I’m betting, however, that as usage continues to increase, revenue will eventually follow.

I’m going to close discussion on this topic, I think it has been covered exhaustively.

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