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1st Annual Conference by David Tod Sigafoos

Just One Developer's View

Revelation Technologies held their first User Conference in April (21st through 24th in Nashville, Tennessee). Here I will give my impressions of the conference overall, the sessions and the meetings I attended.

     First the score : poor, fair, good and excellent

     Sessions      : Fair

     Technical     : Fair

     Meetings      : Sad

     Accommodation : Excellent

     Overall       : Good (first meeting rating system)

I must say to start that I am very happy that RTI finally found it necessary to have a Users Conference. After the success of COGENT's meeting last year there was no way that RTI wouldn't get into the meeting business without relinquishing their control of User conferences.

In capsule form: I would go to another RTI Users Conference (by the way the next one is planned for Dallas, Texas and I plan to be there) BUT only if there are some real technical sessions. I always value the contacts (seeing and meeting people I have talked to on the phone and BBS since '84) but to be practical this is not enough to make the cost of flight, hotel and conference worth the meeting.

The Hotel (seemed like the size of Portland), the location and all facilities were excellent. Also, RTI had obviously spent a great deal of time getting this together. The General Jackson Riverboat was a great treat and the weather was perfect.

Since this was their first meeting I have to say that the overall response from others and myself was basically good BUT if they are going to have more meetings they must include some actual technical meetings. At COGENT's meeting last year there were rooms and rooms filled with workstations. Here you were lucky to see a computer.

All information was given by overhead and even though there was a 2 inch thick manual (copies of all overhead charts) given to the attendees there was basically no MEAT.

It seemed that some of the speakers had less knowledge of what REV and RTI was than a novice user. In fact the Keynote address on the first day was given by someone who probably didn't have the faintest knowledge of what REV was or how to spell it. Just someone on the speaking circuit who happened to stop by Tennessee.

The sessions given by Kurt Baker, Ron Phillips and Brad Anderson were very well received. Please note that this conference was a joint Rev and HR-1 conference and not having attended any HR-1 session I can't really comment on them.

First the Bad News:

     Before the best news here is a little bad news. In a couple of meetings
     it was suggested to several developers that if you are designing small
     systems (under 20k and/or small office stuff) then you should not be
     using Rev. Rev should only be used for "Down Sizing" (ahhhh a new buzz
     word meaning in 1 case taking work off of a Mini computer and have
     upwards of a hundred slave network stations doing the same work). Now
     since this came directly from the top I guess most of us should learn
     FOXPRO (editor's choice in PC Week) or PARADOX (editor's choice in PC

Better News:

     On day 3 of the conference David Feinberg gave a talk on a new set of
     tools being developed at RTI called "Developers Edge". These tools are
     basically a REV version of Version Control software. This allows the
     developers to track all levels and versions of their products semi
     automatically. These tools are a "In the Future" and "No Price Yet"
     kind of thing but if they are good enough (and priced right!) then they
     should turn out to be a good deal. I am not sure why they didn't just
     link in with Polytron/Sage since they are the recognised leaders in
     this field but...

The Best News:

     For myself the highlight of the meeting was Wednesday's session dealing
     with new trends at RTI. Ron Phillips and Brad Anderson explained that
     the Rev engine will have the front end modified so that any EXTERNAL
     applications will be able to access REV files etc much like the MFS/BFS
     allows REV to access EXTERNAL file structures. This API (application
     program interface) was demonstrated with Toolbook. Toolbook is a
     Windowed application development system. Here using DDE (dynamic data
     exchange...a feature of Windows) Toolbook was able to get a Rev record,
     display it and allow modification to the record. Since Toolbook is in
     Windows, the EMPLOYEE record worked on showed not only the data from
     REV but also a PICTURE of the Employee (well actually I don't think it
     was an employee of RTI but who knows.....).

     Even though RTI claims that they are working on a Window version of Rev
     using the API you can access the Rev engine from virtually any platform
     (if it is a major platform you will probably see support some time in
     the future) - allowing the developer to custom design a system for any
     user. If the user is always in Windows then use the API with Toolbook
     (or my favourite OMNIS 5) thus allowing the user to use the Rev design
     without learning a new interface. Bravo.

David Tod Sigafoos offers Revelation and Pick database solutions specialising in manufacturing, marketing, sales and field service. He is well known in the Rev/AREV community for his great experience and frequent excursions into authorship. His company, Sig Solutions can be contacted at PO Box 19730-16, Portland OR 97219. (503) 246 3347

(Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 10,11)
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