In order for this site to work correctly, and for us to improve the site, we need to store a small file (called a cookie) on your computer.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our cookies and privacy policy.
Home page Home page Home page Home page
Pixel Header R1 C1 Pixel
Pixel Header R2 C1 Pixel
Pixel Header R3 C1 Pixel

2nd Annual Conference by Katherine W. Cochrane

A Beginner's Perspective, One Year Later 1992

1991 was an interesting, if sometimes tense, year, and I was ready to unwind, and to get some answers to a few so far unquenched questions. Why don't my SQL queries work in R/BASIC? What is the real function of REVMEDIA? How come RTI leaves out so much from their documentation that is essential for developers to deliver applications? What does Andrew McAuley really look like? So, I went to Dallas.

I still don't know why my SQL queries didn't work, but the answer I got from RTI's technical support staff satisfied my subcontractor, who says now they do. That's a good beginning. Actually, having a roomful of computers set up with all different versions of ARev and HR-1, and with RTI people who really knew the systems was one of the best things about this conference. I say that in spite of the fact that we thought the wiring had set the Anatole on fire Monday morning. (The burning odor was apparently from the heating system, not the computers roasting, but it was tense for a few minutes.)

The really best part of the conference was the way everyone -- attendees, RTI staff and executives, hotel personnel -were so friendly and co-operative. As someone mentioned at lunch on the final day, ARev developers don't seem to compete with each other. It's more a feeling of "us against them [the xBase world]." I don't know if the same sentiment prevails in the HR-1 arena, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it does. RTI people go out of their way to be accessible at these functions, and to help solve whatever problems (and enjoy the glow of successes) that occur, from lapses in product documentation or code to a shortage of wine at the "rodeo" Tuesday night. (The latter got fixed right away.) Successes were evident because of the larger number of vendors (and a 2-day vendor fair, instead of just one evening), and by the number of returnees from last year's conference.

The vendor fair(s), by the way, were one of the highlights for me. Seeing what other people are doing with ARev or HR1 is interesting, and finding solutions already out there for things I want to do makes life a bit easier. Also, as seems to be true across the board with Revelation people, several of the vendors helped point out other people I should talk to about my interests in Hypermedia and GUIs, as well as even directing me to other vendors! This sense of cooperativeness among everyone connected to Revelation is almost spooky, but it surely is a nice change from other industry gatherings.

Among the good news were several product announcements. ARev 2.2 will be released Real Soon Now, with new documentation that includes promised comprehensive instructions for developers to plan, develop, deliver and maintain their applications. Since one of my most serious gripes about ARev is the documentation by folklore method, this is very welcome news. Everyone at the conference received a copy of OpenInsight/OpenEngine, RevTI's new GUI front-end system. Announcements and explanations of this product provided many hours of discussion and excitement among developers (those not adamantly hostile to MS Windows, that is). In addition to providing the software, RevTech also promised a free upgrade to v2.0 (3rd quarter 1992) and a year's worth of tech support. Since the present version is -- to put it nicely -- rather unfinished, these sweeteners adroitly fended off the mobs of outraged programmers taking Bellevue by storm. However, the demos and discussions of things to come in the next release and Mark Bulgiano's "User's Perspective" combined to raise the pitch to genuine enthusiasm among those of us interested in development for GUIs.

OI/OE deserves more space in this overview (especially since that's what I'm interested in), so I'll devote the next few sentences to this system. If you aren't interested, please skip down to the that denotes a return to the rest of the program.

If I'm not mistaken, with OI/OE RTI has beaten the rest of the industry in delivering a full-featured DBMS for MS Windows. Now the only thing lacking (besides v2.0) is letting the industry know about it, and convincing them that it is what it seems to be -- a full-featured, object oriented, rapid prototyping application development system that allows access to a database from both Windows and DOS, as well as other operating systems. The current release (version 1.0) includes interfaces to high-level development tools such as Whitewater Group's Actor, Spinnaker PLUS, and Asymetrix ToolBook, several of which also have the capability of running on other machines. I wonder if it is possible to create a front-end to an ARev database in PLUS, for instance, port the PLUS application to the Macintosh or X-Windows (PLUS already has the portability), and access the ARev DB, running on a PC, over a network from the foreign machine? Reviewing Richard Macksoud's discussion of OpenEngine does reveal plans for adding other operating systems (unnamed), as well as distributed processing. Can cross-platform development be far behind?

This year the Hands-On sessions did occur (there was some problem with them last year, I think). I didn't attend them, and didn't discuss them with anyone who did, but the outline looked very useful particularly to newcomers to RTI systems. (I'm an Old Hand now, you see, after 15 months. Sure.) There were about 12 or 15 machines in one room that held some Hands-On sessions, which seems a little bit skimpy for a conference attended by several hundreds, but I didn't hear anyone complain about not being able to participate if they wanted to.

It's time to confess that I was not terribly interested in the technical aspects of this year's conference. Instead, I went to get some answers about specific problems with an application development, renew friendships started last year, find out just what was all the fuss about OI/OE, and to enjoy a gathering of some really fun people in a congenial setting. From this perspective it was a completely successful conference for me. I even have the pictures to prove it! Since my digitizing camera (Logitech Fotoman) arrived a few days before the conference, I brought it along and took snapshots of lots of attendees. Some of them even came out pretty well. Unfortunately, James Aquaviva never did prove a successful subject -- out of three tries, only the last was of good quality, and for that one my hand moved and cut the poor man in half. Next year.... At least the final picture did prove that he is not, after all, a ghost or vampire, as some suggested. (And also proved he's a good sport. And that perhaps that last marguerita was superfluous.) Meanwhile, if you use CompuServe, look in the Revelation forum libraries for some of my better efforts. The rationale was to put the pictures into an image database with names, companies, and comments, more or less to practice for serious image database applications.

This year, as for the 1st Annual conference, RTI provided a monster notebook with copies of most of the slides used in the various presentations. Also, some of the technical session presenters included some documentation- like material on their topics which will probably be very useful. Andrew McAuley, Beth Naczkowski, Betsy Dowell, David Harmacek, and Mike Ruane are particularly noteworthy on this account. John Gunther's slides were also very detailed, and he offered copies of his example code to attendees who provided him with a 3.5" disk. Revelation is getting so much more complicated (and wasn't trivial to begin with) that complex notes for later analysis and reference are quite necessary. Thanks to all who provided them.

The final wrap-up after lunch Wednesday provided some more good words and good feelings. James Aquaviva announced the Microsoft acquisition of Fox Software, which indicated to some of us that they had recognized the difficulty of getting out a DBMS for Windows and were looking for reinforcements. Ha, ha! RTI beat them to it! The company is growing, and one of the new members is Executive Vice President Matthew Suffoletto, who is very interested in being aggressive about promoting RTI products and making them successful for all of us. CEO Steve Perry invited everyone to come back next year, when the 3rd Annual will be in New Orleans, La. I certainly plan to be there. Y'all come, too!

Katherine Cochrane's company, DKS Consulting can be contacted at 4800 Whitesburg Drive, Suite 29. Huntsville, AL 35802 - 205 881 4182 (Voice) 205 882 2917 (Fax), Compuserve 71216,1271, Email

(Volume 3, Issue 10, Pages 7-9)
Pixel Footer R1 C1 Pixel