Advanced Revelation information request 
Author Message
 Advanced Revelation information request

I would appreciate any leads on sources of information about Advanced
Revelation. Mailing lists, code examples, reviews, etc. There was a
little flurry a while back about their latest upgrade, but very little
on-going discussion of the system. I'm involved with an organization
which is considering buying a membership program which uses ARev. Coding
practices of the original developers aside, we're concerned with ease of
maintenance and difficulty involved in further enhancements.

Thank you.

--
                  Tim Clinton, CITT Alberta CallBoard
      2500 University Drive, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 (403) 220-4905



Wed, 31 May 1995 23:21:28 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Quote:

>I would appreciate any leads on sources of information about Advanced
>Revelation. Mailing lists, code examples, reviews, etc. There was a
>little flurry a while back about their latest upgrade, but very little
>on-going discussion of the system. I'm involved with an organization
>which is considering buying a membership program which uses ARev. Coding
>practices of the original developers aside, we're concerned with ease of
>maintenance and difficulty involved in further enhancements.

Ask some specifics, and I'd be glad to answer. I've used Revelation in its
various incarnations since 1985. It is unsurpassed in flexibility and as a
powerful development environment in the PC world. (This is obviously a biased
opinion, so flames, as opposed to discussion > /dev/nul).

There are, however, (IMHO) management problems in the company which prevent the
product from becoming a mass market product.


Revelation Technologies, and may be able to provide more direct answers to
questions on an unofficial basis. Rev Tech itself does not have an Internet
address.

--
chad




Fri, 02 Jun 1995 22:59:47 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request
The flexibility of Advanced Revelation is excellent and there are
some fine development tools.  Ease of use (in terms of learning to
use all this power) is not so good.  Overall, I'm a very satisfied
user, because I know that sooner or later, I can get it do pretty
much what I want.

David M. Todd, Dept of Psychology, University of Massachusetts
Visiting the Dept. of Psychology, Massey University, New Zealand



Sun, 04 Jun 1995 04:01:09 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Quote:

> > Ask some specifics, and I'd be glad to answer.
>Thanks for the offer. First a bit of the scope of our situation...
>The Alpine Club of Canada is looking into "buying into" a database
>developed for the Seattle Mountaineers in Advanced Revelation.
>Naturally, our needs are not exactly the same, but from the talks we
>have had with the person who is actually using the database, it is very
>close to our needsd: Basic membership tracking, event scheduling, hut
>bookings, donor tracking, etc. But we will have to make modifications.
>Here's the questions...
>  Relational
>    How close does it get to Codd's 12 rules?

Fairly, but some rules are intentionally broken: ARev uses "multi-valued"
fields. In other words, a single row/column intersection could contain multiple
values rather than a single value as in a completely normalized database. This
is functionally and performance-wise, a strong advantage. It is fairly typical
for a primary table to have one or more fields which are 1:many relationaships.
ARev allows this 1:many to hold true, avoids deletion and insertion anomalies,
and allows the higher performance of a single table data entry screen or report
program.

I am of the opinion that Codd's rules are there for a starting point, and as
long as you can break the rule without incurring the penalty which the rule is
there to prevent (ie: normalization is to prevent deletion and insertion
anomalies among other things), and if by breaking the rule you gain substantial
advantages either in structure clarity or performance, or all of the above,
then you should break the rule.

Quote:
>    Does it support integrity rules in the dictionary?

Not directly, but you can create "symbolic" fields which are in effect programs
to ensure data integrity, and there are hooks into the data entry screens to
allow inclusion of these symbolic fields for data validation. In fact, if you
write the validation code before you create the screen, it is automatically
included.

Quote:
>    Does it cascade deletes?

No. see above.

Quote:
>  Query, Forms, Reports
>    Does it use SQL?

Yes

Quote:
> Something better or worse?

Yes. It has its own 4GL built-in

Quote:
>    Does it have an interactive command line for ad-hoc queries?

Yes, and you can store the ad-hoc queries and add them to a menu.

Quote:
>    Multi-table forms?

Yes

Quote:
>    How easy is it to build a form?

Simple forms: trivial - there is a "Quick Paint"
Complicated forms: up to you - the entire power of the built-in R/Basic
programming language is available.

Quote:
>    Data validation in forms?

Yes - see above - all the hooks are there to attach complete programs for pre-
and post- validation. There are extensive built-in validation features which
require no programming, including validation of keys in other tables.

Quote:
>    Reports to screen and printer?

Yes, Alt-P sends a screen report to the printer with no extra work on the
developer's part.

Quote:
>On-screen "drawing" of reports or procedural programming?

Sort of. Reports can be "painted" on the screen. If by procedural programming,
you mean something like the FP or small-talk languages, no.

Quote:
>  Programming
>    How 4GL is it?

Which part.. Some is (TCL, SQL, R/List query language), and some isn't: the
R/Basic programming language.

Quote:
>Does it encourage modular programming, and is someone else's
>                    code generally easy to understand?

Up to you. Separate compilation of subroutines (and functions) is available,
and after that, how diciplined is the programmer.

Quote:
>            Access to forms and reports from the programming language?
Yes
>    Access to operating system?

Within limits.

Quote:
> Documentation
>    How does it rate?

I can't really tell. To me its quite good, but after 7-8 years of reading it, I
understand their philosophy and I know where to look for things.

Quote:
>What's the availability of 3rd party books, etc.

None.

Quote:
>Anything else you'd like to comment on would be appreciated.

They have a habit (management induced, from what I can tell) of releaseing new
versions in advanced-beta condition, and then releasing fixes as .01 upgrades
or making the patches available on ComuServe (GO REVELATION).
For example: Revelation G2B was an incremental upgrade/fix, and was very stable
and full-featured for its time (1985-86). Advanced Revelation 1.0, the G2B
sucessor, was junk - missing features, bugs, ... ARev 2.0 and 2.1 acheived
stability and 2.12 is a truely excellent product with _very_ few bugs. I can
develop complete applications very quickly. The building of data-entry screens
and canned reports is extremely easy. Complex reports require the same time as
in any environment where you are actually writing a program from scratch.

         If you can
        make comparisons to Oracle on one end and R:base on the other...

Not sure I can. As to Oracle, I'm only a user under CMS. I'm not impressed with
what I've seen, and one of my Oracle-programming co-workers occasionally
wanders by when I'm working, and I've managed to impress him with quite a few
of the features of ARev 2.12

Quote:
>>  There are, however, (IMHO) management problems in the company which
>>  prevent the product from becoming a mass market product.
>I'm not one to feel that a mass market product is necessarily good. Look
>at Dbase.

Do I have to? I just had breakfast.

Quote:
>How much of a machine does it need?

The more the better.
Quote:
>RAM per user?

Per user? good question. On a single user machine (DOS - OS/2), it wants 640KB
Base plus 2-3 MB Expanded, There is an OS/2 version, but it lags far behind the
DOS version. There is a sort-of Windows version called Open Insight which I've
just acquired and begun testing. The win version provides pretty full access to
the Windoze API, but seems like it is missing all of the quick productivity
tools present on the DOS version . OI accesses mutiple types of DOS databases
in addition to the ARev base it is built on, including dBase and Lotus
spreadsheet files.

Quote:
>Disk space?

10MB Plus data

Quote:
>Is it strictly DOS?

No - I run both the DOS and Windoze versions under OS/2, which is what I run
both at work and at home. I'm very happy with it in the multi-tasking
environment.

Quote:
>Will it run on TCP/IP

Huh? TCP/IP is an internetowrking protocol, not an OS. if you have NFS mounted
drives, there should be no problem.

Quote:
>or Novell only?

It is aware of mutiple LAN protocols, and will do record locking etc in all of
them, so the LAN versions are effectively multi-user machines when installed on
the server and run from the local workstations.

Quote:
>What does a license cost?

Too much! list is >$1000, but it is available for less. I paid $250 as an
upgrade from G2B, some places like Telemart sell it for around $700. Run-times
are between $150 and $250, depending on where you get them. 5-user LAN bump
disks are around $495 (list) minus whatever discount you can find.

Quote:
>Do you have an address/phone number for the company so that I can
>request their promotional literature? You don't hear much about ARev in
>this neck of the woods.

Try Elf Software in Washington state, 1-800-422-2511. This is a small
distributorship which specializes in Arev products and sponsors a bi-monthly
newsletter devoted to ARev, GRev, and Open Insight.

Revelation Technologies is 1-800-262-4747; but this is strictly a sales
office on the east coast. I think the developers are still in the Seattle area
where the company started.

Hope this helps.

chad


--
chad




Sun, 04 Jun 1995 07:05:26 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request
I have little to add to Chad's detailed response (in fact I learned
some things from it).  One (possibly) minor point about disk space.
Revelation uses variable length fields.  In our application, which
involves substantial amounts of text of highly varying lengths, this
saves an incredible about of storage space.  As for machine
requirements, I think it will still run on just about anything, but
386 platform is needed to give a little memory breathing-room
(_essential_ if you are on a network) and for the speed.


Mon, 05 Jun 1995 05:12:25 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request
.... and my $.02....


Quote:

>>The Alpine Club of Canada is looking into "buying into" a database
>>developed for the Seattle Mountaineers in Advanced Revelation.
>>Naturally, our needs are not exactly the same, but from the talks we
>>have had with the person who is actually using the database, it is very
>>close to our needsd: Basic membership tracking, event scheduling, hut
>>bookings, donor tracking, etc. But we will have to make modifications.

>>Here's the questions...

>>  Relational
>>        How close does it get to Codd's 12 rules?

> Fairly, but some rules are intentionally broken: ARev uses "multi-valued"
> fields. In other words, a single row/column intersection could contain multiple
> values rather than a single value as in a completely normalized database. This
> is functionally and performance-wise, a strong advantage. It is fairly typical
> for a primary table to have one or more fields which are 1:many relationaships.
> ARev allows this 1:many to hold true, avoids deletion and insertion anomalies,> and allows the higher performance of a single table data entry screen or report
> program.

I agree... Codd's rules are important to providing a solid RDBMS platform, but
don't bypass products because they break some of the rules... and Chad's
example here is one very powerful feature that ARev supports...

Quote:
>>        Does it support integrity rules in the dictionary?
> Not directly, but you can create "symbolic" fields which are in effect programs
> to ensure data integrity, and there are hooks into the data entry screens to
> allow inclusion of these symbolic fields for data validation. In fact, if you
> write the validation code before you create the screen, it is automatically
> included.

Hmmmm.... actually, I would say ARev _does_ support integrity rules in the
dictionary... ARev data dictionaries contain 'Edit' constraints which can be
any of a wealth of 'canned' constraints [dates, numeric fields, pattern
matching, etc..] and can also contain custom constraints through "symbolics"...
once you define these edits, they are bound to the data element in any future
reference to that element - but this is limited to Paint... so a little caution
is prudent - you CAN bypass the edits...

Quote:
>>  Query, Forms, Reports

> .......It has its own 4GL built-in

[called R/List]...

Quote:
>>        Does it have an interactive command line for ad-hoc queries?
> Yes, and you can store the ad-hoc queries and add them to a menu

>>        How easy is it to build a form?
> Simple forms: trivial - there is a "Quick Paint"
> Complicated forms: up to you - the entire power of the built-in R/Basic
> programming language is available.

>>  Programming
>>        How 4GL is it?
> Which part.. Some is (TCL, SQL, R/List query language), and some isn't: the
> R/Basic programming language.

[I've pulled a few pieces of the original post together here]...

.... and one of the [IMHO] most powerful features available to the programmer
is the ability to build truly custom routines from R/List... R/List is a very
powerful query/report generator, and can be used in ad hoc or 'canned' modes..
and in those situations where it just can't quite do what you want, there is an
option to generate R/Basic source code - from the R/List query - and then
modify the source, compile, and you are off and running... it's wonderful - you
can build [and test interactively] all of the database access logic in an
R/List query, and then customize the source code for unique requirements... and
once you have it running, the new routine can be added to the vocabulary of the
end system as an extension...

Quote:
>> Documentation
>>        How does it rate?

> I can't really tell. To me its quite good, but after 7-8 years of reading it, I
> understand their philosophy and I know where to look for things.

...sigh... this is one of the areas where I've often run into problems... the
ARev docs are much better than G2B... but it still takes some time for folx who
are not familiar with the product... recognize that ARev [and G2B] are
extremely powerful and adaptable products... there is so much to know about
these platforms that it is difficult to present _everything_ in a simplistic
manner.  I find what I am looking for fairly quickly, but then again, I know
*where* to look... this is not always the case for beginners [and I've watched
four people go through the learning process recently.. initially there is a lot
of frustration with the docs, but after some exposure they do much better]

Quote:
>>         If you can
>>        make comparisons to Oracle on one end and R:base on the other...

hmmmm... *WARNING*... these are the ravings of a confirmed Revelation
fanatic... [grin]... I started using Rev products [1985-1986] because no other
product could support our requirements... and R:base was one of those... I
haven't seen it recently, so it wouldn't be fair to comment... but I've worked
with Oracle [too recently]... and quite frankly I am not impressed... the
product is cumbersome, resource intensive [you'll need a LOT of RAM and HD
space] and very expensive...

Quote:
>>Is it strictly DOS?
> No - I run both the DOS and Windoze versions under OS/2, which is what I run
> both at work and at home. I'm very happy with it in the multi-tasking
> environment.

... and the last time I talked with the folx at Hunter... their port to UNIX
was in process and should be avail sometime spring 93... oh boy oh boy!

Quote:
>>What does a license cost?
> Too much! list is >$1000, but it is available for less. I paid $250 as an
> upgrade from G2B, some places like Telemart sell it for around $700. Run-times
> are between $150 and $250, depending on where you get them. 5-user LAN bump
> disks are around $495 (list) minus whatever discount you can find.

Yup... Telemart advertises the single-user version for $707... and I just
ordered a server version for $606 and a 3-user add pack for $477... their
number is 1-800-821-2033

Hope this helps...

Rick Sorensen



Mon, 05 Jun 1995 23:04:03 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Quote:

>.... and my $.02....


>Hmmmm.... actually, I would say ARev _does_ support integrity rules in the
>dictionary... ARev data dictionaries contain 'Edit' constraints which can be
>any of a wealth of 'canned' constraints [dates, numeric fields, pattern
>matching, etc..] and can also contain custom constraints through "symbolics"...
>once you define these edits, they are bound to the data element in any future
>reference to that element - but this is limited to Paint... so a little caution
>is prudent - you CAN bypass the edits...

I guess we were using different assumptions about the meaning of the question.


use referential integrity rules; however, many of the people I have talked to
in the last year or so are requiring that a database engine _enforce_
"referential integrity". That is to say, not only must there be a data
dictionary which contains executable rules, but all data accesses must be
filtered through these rules through an Active data dictionary.

ARev, in all of its versions, has what I call a passive data dictionary. The
rules and data dictionary can be put in place, but the user must explicitly
choose to use them. In particular, as mentioned, you can completely by-pass the
referential integrity rules. In fact, you can edit any record, including data
dictionary records and compiled code, using the ARev text editor. This can be
an advantage if somehow a record is corrupted and won't even display using the
data entry screen. If you know what belongs there, you can edit it and patch it
into displayable form.

A minor semantic point, but important if you are looking for a rules enforcer!

--
chad




Tue, 06 Jun 1995 01:42:02 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Quote:
>A minor semantic point, but important if you are looking for a rules enforcer!

And, if you really need an application where the users must use the dictionary,
it is definitely possible to not let them use the editor and force the only
data accesses to be through the entry window, or the reporting functions,
thus using the dictionary rules.  If they need to use the editor for some
tasks, then it would still be possible to put in an MFS that checked all
writes to be sure they were from the desired places only.

(Note: MFS - Modified Filing System.  It is possible to put programs that
any call to the Base Filing System must go through that can do many tasks
that are related to the data structure and not the application, per se.
One such thing is a READ-ONLY MFS that only passes on read-type calls, none
of the write-type calls get passed down to the data level.)

Clif
--
 _________________________________________________________________________
/ Clifton R. Peterson    1108 Burnett           (515)232-5254             \
| B.S. Chem E            Ames IA  50010                                   |
\_______________"42"_is_one_hell_of_an_answer!!___________________________/



Tue, 06 Jun 1995 02:41:39 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

  CP> ARev, in all of its versions, has what I call a passive data diction-
  CP> ary. The rules and data dictionary can be put in place, but the user
  CP> must explicitly choose to use them. In particular, as mentioned, you
  CP> can completely by-pass the referential integrity rules. In fact, you
  CP> can edit any record, including data dictionary records and compiled
  CP> code, using the ARev text editor...

A very good point, which I would expand upon (possibly to the distress
of some :). Revelation (and the Pick Operating System, upon which its
data model is almost entirely based), can arguably be said not to be a
databases at all, because they impose no rules, constraints, or defini-
tions on the makeup or structure of data (records) in any particular
file - even after the application (database) is up and running.
In this sense, Pick (and Revelation) are only an extremely flexible and
efficient _file_managers_, from which applications which have normal
database-like functions can easily be built.

It is rather like the difference between being given a car versus being
given a machine shop with all the tools necessary to make a car.
Much more power, much more flexibility, much more room to be creative
and produce useful systems in very little time...but much more rope to
do *really* stupid things. (After thir{*filter*} years working with
Pick/Rev/ARev/Universe, I know of what I speak).

--



Tue, 06 Jun 1995 16:02:46 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Thought I'd add some more confusion on AREV validation/integrity options:

Quote:


>>>    Does it support integrity rules in the dictionary?
>> Not directly, but you can create "symbolic" fields which are in effect programs
>> to ensure data integrity, and there are hooks into the data entry screens to
>> allow inclusion of these symbolic fields for data validation. In fact, if you
>> write the validation code before you create the screen, it is automatically
>> included.
>Hmmmm.... actually, I would say ARev _does_ support integrity rules in the
>dictionary... ARev data dictionaries contain 'Edit' constraints which can be
>any of a wealth of 'canned' constraints [dates, numeric fields, pattern
>matching, etc..] and can also contain custom constraints through "symbolics"...
>once you define these edits, they are bound to the data element in any future
>reference to that element - but this is limited to Paint... so a little caution
>is prudent - you CAN bypass the edits...

There are actually several levels of integrity checking, which can
be combined:
   - field-level validation on screen input
   - screen-level validation on screen input
   - record read/write validation on *any* file operation

The first two can be any program you would like to write, and
frequently are very simple.  (Though for some things I do are
quite complex.)

The last one is done through layered filing systems.  You can
put your own subroutine in a stack of subroutines that gets called
to perform record reads/writes, and all other file accesses.
AREV calls this a "modified filing system".  In fact, this is
how indexing works -- AREV creates an MFS to perform index updates.
Through this methodology, you can insert whatever sort of validation,
encryption, or audit trails that you like.  It's perhaps not something
for everyone, but if you need it, you won't find it in any other
products.

Also, the "canned constraints" referred to above can also be
customized, through user-defined-conversion routines.  Throughout
AREV, there is the concept of 'conversion', which separates
the stored internal data format from the users' view of the
data.  For instance, dates are stored as an integer, but displayed
as a date (i.e. 12/21/92 or Dec 12, 1992).  You can write your
own conversion routines, which can also perform validation.

Eric Jacobsen

[Colorado Revelation User's Group]



Fri, 09 Jun 1995 23:56:16 GMT
 Advanced Revelation information request

Quote:

>Eric Jacobsen

>[Colorado Revelation User's Group]

                ^
                |

Some time ago CORUG used to have quite an archive of utilities and other GRev
and ARev programs. Does that still exist? and is it available through internet?
I joined CORUG to get these disks and there was some confusion in the mail (I
finally got them). I'd be interested in an index of CORUG current holdings and
the ability to download via internet.

--
chad




Sat, 10 Jun 1995 04:54:43 GMT
 
 [ 11 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Advanced Revelation Information Request

2. Advanced Revelation : Info request

3. Revelation/Advanced Revelation

4. Problems Using Version 7 from DOS Applications (specifically Advanced Revelation)

5. Advanced Revelation Datbases

6. US-ADVANCED REVELATIONS PROGRAMMER NEEDED-CONTRACT OR PERM

7. Advance Revelation in an Windows NT network

8. Advance Revelation / Open Insight Web site

9. ADVANCED REVELATION SKILLS NEEDED

10. Advanced Revelation and PICK, how much alike?

11. Advanced Revelation programmer CA - Recruiter (Randy Bartlett)

12. Advanced Revelation Programmer/Analyst-Mike Sigman


 
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