So, this weekend’s transition did not go as smoothly as I hoped. If you’re interested in the gory technical details, read on. Otherwise, just skip the rest of this post – but be sure to download and install Panorama X 10.2 b30 immediately. In fact, please stop reading this and install b30 now.
Ok, the install is done? As Jim Cook predicted, there was no problem with Panorama X itself. In fact, all the data was swapped from eleven Panorama 6 databases on the server to corresponding Panorama X databases on the server in six minutes. There are a couple of new statements in the b30 release that allowed that process to be fully automated (startnewdatabasegeneration and uploadnewdatabasegeneration).
I thought at that point I was nearly done, the hard part complete. I was so, so wrong. The problem was in getting existing copies of Panorama to connect using the modified URL – panoramax.cgi instead of panorama.cgi. My plan was to use the ReWriteRule feature of the Apache server software. I’d used this before and it seemed perfect for this task. I thought it would only take a few minutes to set it up, and I did a test on Saturday and thought it was working. Famous last words (and it turns out the test wasn’t done correctly and it seemed to work because the Panorama 6 server was still running at the time). Long story short, my rewriterule didn’t work for
POST web requests, only
GET requests, and after several hours I was unable to figure out how to make it work. (If you think you know how to do this, first make sure that your solution doesn’t require a redirect thru the browser, that won’t work. Secondly, it’s too late, I already went to plan B, as described below. But thirdly, I be interested in knowing the solution if you really know it, maybe it would come in handy someday.)
Fortunately I had a plan B in my pocket. Back in 2016 I anticipated that the URL for connecting to the provue server might change someday, so Panorama includes a mechanism that allows the server to redirect to a different URL. Once your local copy of Panorama sees a redirection, it remembers that for the future. So, I modified the Panorama 6 server code to respond to connections with the redirect command. And it worked! (Not surprising, since I tested this back in 2016.) Unmodified copies of Panorama correctly redirected to the new server, and everything was working smoothly. In fact, I started to see customer activity on the new Panorama X server, working exactly as intended.
However, it turns out that the testing of the redirect feature done back in 2016 was incomplete. After all, the server had never actually permanently moved before. The redirect works, but only as long as Panorama is running. When you quit and relaunch there’s a bug… and it stops working completely. It doesn’t connect with the old or the new server, it just doesn’t connect at all any more. For example, if you open the Site License window and try to log on, you’ll see an alert about the arraychange( function requiring a text value. Now you’re stuck. The Site License window won’t work, and Panorama can’t report usage to the provue.com server. After a while (probably a couple of days), you’ll get an alert that you can’t continue without connecting to provue.com. But you can’t connect.
The fix is only a few characters, but it requires updating to the latest b30 version of Panorama. Fortunately that was ready to go other than this fix. I really wanted to avoid this scenario, but the end result is that ALL Panorama users need to update to b30 immediately. This includes anyone still running 10.1 or 10.0.
Note: If you do so right away, you should have no problem in automatically updating to the new b30 version. But if you’ve already quit and relaunched Panorama since the server changeover, the Install and Relaunch option may not work. In that case, you’ll need to manually install the b30 version. You can use the Check for Updates window to download it, but then you’ll need to quit and manually move the updated version from the Downloads folder to the Application folder (or wherever you keep Panorama.app). You can also download b30 from the main provue.com web site, just click Download Trial.
Super Obscure Note: Earlier versions of Panorama will still run, they just won’t connect to provue.com. My suggestion would be to delete all old versions. But if you really wanted to, you will still be able to run an old version for a while, as long as you don’t need to use the Site License window, or launch the server. Any usage that happens when running the older version won’t be sent to provue.com, but it is saved locally, and will be sent the next time you run b30 (or later).