Panorama X Server Progress Report

As I’ve mentioned several times recently, the top priority project at ProVUE right now is Panorama X Server. This project is critical to most organizations using Panorama (as opposed to individual users) because it is the only way to allow a team of multiple users to work with a database simultaneously. For many organizations, Panorama X Server is the missing piece that they are waiting for so that they can fully convert from Panorama 6 to Panorama X.

This is a big project and it’s not complete yet. But since this is so important to many of you, I’ve taken some time to create a half hour video to share with you the progress that has been made to this point. This is a quite detailed video that will be very informative for anyone that has used Panorama Server before.

After seeing this video you may think this program is ready to go, but unfortunately, not quite yet. There are still a few features left to implement, right now I’m working on multi-user formulafill. Next will be serverformulafill, appending databases, and import into multi-user databases, but that’s about it. There’s also work to be done in making the system more tolerant of errors and generally “fool-proof”, and of course bug fixes (I encountered and fixed several bugs while making the video). And last but not least, documentation. Most of the reference documentation for statements and functions was done as the programming itself was done, but the overall documentation is still in the early stages.

I’m sure many of you will have lots of questions after watching this video, starting with “when can I get it?” and “what is the price?” I don’t have detailed answers for either of these questions yet, but the current goal is to start beta testing sometime in August (and of course that could slip depending on unforeseen issues encountered between now and then). Most likely beta testing will start with a handful of invited users and gradually expand from there. I may post an online form to request an invitation as was done with Panorama X, but that isn’t available yet.

As I’ve mentioned before, pricing for this product will most likely not be finalized until it is almost ready to ship. However, I will say that the general plan is for a “metered” system somewhat like AWS (Amazon Web Services). In other words, this will be a pay-as-you go system where costs will be dependent on how heavily the server is used. One reason why pricing won’t be finalized until later is that I want to get statistics on actual usage patterns during the beta period.

One further note – Panorama Server has two major components: database sharing and web publishing. As you can see from the video, Panorama X Server already includes both of these components. However the first priority for documentation and bug fixes is database sharing. This is because historically the web publishing features have been used by less than 10% of Panorama Server users. The plan is for the “final” release of the database sharing component to come first, with the final release of the web publishing component following later, possibly several months later. (As you can see, a lot of work has already been done on the web publishing component, this is because a) the sharing component uses the web technology as its underlying communication foundation, and b) I wanted to make sure that the server design would allow for web publishing.)

In spite of the long length of this post, I’m sure there will be many other questions. When the time comes I will set up one or two new categories on the forum specifically for server related topics. For now, however, please add your questions to this topic so that the discussion about Panorama X Server can all be in one place.

Jim Rea
President, ProVUE Development


Well Done!! I like what I see - a lot.

Nice job on the video too. Server is very clearly demonstrated.


    May 24

Clicking on this link returns an error that the video can’t be found.

It works for me, and the Vimeo statistics show some people are successfully watching it. But try this link:

I watched the video this morning by clicking on the video in this forum and then going full screen. If I click on the URL that shows in the email version it goes to a Vimeo page that states " Sorry, we couldn’t find that page". Both URLs you give do the same thing. Maybe you can get there because you are the author?

Same Vimeo error.

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.


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.

1 Like

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!

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?