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2nd Annual Conference by A P McAuley


The 2nd Revelation Technologies National Revelation Conference was held at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas on March 23rd-25th. During the three days of the conference there were 4 tracks dealing with developers, less experienced users, HR people and Client/Server people. Approximately one third of the attendees were HR. That is the last time HR will be mentioned in this article. As Katherine Cochrane will be doing a review (and as I spent little time in presentations), this review will concentrate on what I came away from Dallas with. Thanks to Jim Poe for his memory jogging note on Compuserve.


The sessions featured external speakers for the first time. The speakers varied in ability from non-existent to excellent. The general consensus was that the technical sessions were better than they were in the first conference but that there was still room for improvement. The facilities were superb with the speakers well miked and adequate audio-visual facilities.

Keynote Sessions

Sorry - I never see the point of these things. If a talk is entitled "Is SQL Server a Dead Duck?" and it is given by a member of a company who provides SQL Server technology it is unlikely that the conclusions will be a stunning surprise. The only keynote presentation I attended was that on the last day when the board of RevTI faced questions from the floor. All in all they acquitted themselves well - although you have to admire the cheek of the VP who when asked what they were going to do about runtime/bump pricing explained that they "had no intention of penalising developers by changing the current generous terms" (paraphrased). It was nice to see the board filling up with professionals from their respective fields - including the new VP of Sales and Marketing, ex of Dataease.


To me this was far and away the most exciting part of the conference. I approached the conference with trepidation and came away with a renewed feeling of hope both for the AREV product and the Windows and UNIX product. The primary focus of new releases was said to be threefold :- performance, performance and performance.

AREV Futures

Great play was made of the fact that there is increasing attention being paid to the opinions of the developer community. Release 2.12 seems to underline this point with many features requested on Compuserve by active developers being incorporated. If you haven't got it yet - get it! It is one of the best interim releases (feature wise) in the history of Revelation Technologies Version and it even includes source code for some system routines! 2.2 looks set to be superb and Version 3 completes the trend towards engine compatibilities. The trend towards greater object orientation in the Windows product is also becoming apparent in the DOS product.

The new version of Paint in 2.2 attracted special attention. In keeping with other PC software the tool has been made much more responsive to the mouse. Screens which extend into virtual space now display scroll bars on the edges and the mouse can be used to move through the space. There is much more consideration of things within the screen as objects. Once an object has been highlighted/chosen any subsequent action applies to that object. Prompts may be grabbed with the mouse and then moved to a new location, or groups of prompts may be grabbed with a point and drag to allow manipulation of them as an object. Boxes may be drawn easily with the mouse, and again these boxes can be treated as an object. Colour combinations may be selected from a palette and are applied to the current object. Paint itself will be made much more "multi-table" aware - in other words classic problems like the header/detail (customer/invoice) screen will be addressable much more readily. All of this effort is to help Client/Server solutions be implemented more readily.

An additional report generator will also be provided with 2.2 - a banded report generator. This is claimed to eliminate 95% of all R/Basic report coding requirements. The demonstration certainly seemed powerful.

Version 3.0 will aim for complete CUA/SAA compliance and will also attempt to give direct access to the OpenEngine. To assist in working between OpenInsight and AREV it is intended that the template structures for windows will become compatible. The SQL processor will be fundamentally rewritten and optimised for performance. It will then become the foundation stone of the product.

Open Engine/Insight Futures

The highlight of the conference had to be the demonstration of the new release of Open Insight (2.0) due for release late second/early third quarter 92. Along with a number of other developers I have had serious doubts about the viability of the Open Insight product. However this now seems to have been to a fundamental misconception on my part of RevTI's strategy. OpenInsight 1.0 was not the windows database development tool we were waiting for. OpenInsight 2.0 is. The product actually looks like a windows database - similar in look to Microsoft Draw. Tools down one side of the screen, colour palette along the bottom. It even imports AREV templates and after minor modification, runs them. (This is not to say that it will cope with the commuter routines attached!).

OpenInsight 2.0 conforms much more closely to the object oriented paradigm, but as Brad Anderson stressed - keep developing now, you won't lose what you do - it will port to 2.0.

As they say "You had to be there" - but the change in people's attitude, before and after was incredible. The product looks well worth waiting for and everybody I spoke to was very impressed. Some noted cynics even expressed it possible that RevTI could become a database market leader with this product.

As for additional release dates, the OpenEngine Server is scheduled for late 92, as is OpenCard. OpenEngine Server 2.0 (including support for OS/2 and Windows NT) will be out mid 93.


From my perspective the conference was a great success. There were areas which could have been improved - but that is always the case in any endeavour. It is now two weeks since the conference and I am still on a high. If you weren't there this year then try to make an effort next year - I'll look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

(Volume 3, Issue 10, Pages 9,10)
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