Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Registration for Southwest Fox now available

Registration for Southwest Fox (http://www.swfox.net/register.aspx) is now available. See http://www.swfox.net/speakers.aspx for a list of speakers and http://www.swfox.net/sessionsswfox.aspx for a list of sessions. Super-Saver Registration, which saves you $125, is available only through June 30th, so don't wait.
Putting on a conference is a risky endeavor. Conference centers require a guaranteed minimum income to block the dates of a conference; for a conference like Southwest Fox, that minimum is in the tens of thousands of dollars. We have to commit to the conference center by July 2nd and need your support by July 1st to make that commitment. We will not do "We need your help" appeals this year so please do not wait, get registered by June 30th! We know most of you like to wait until the last minute to avoid the credit card bill arriving too soon. We will not charge any attendee credit cards or cash any checks until sometime in the second half of July or early August (once we've committed to going forward), so this no longer is a reason to wait.

Rick, Tamar, and I look forward to seeing you in October!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ 2014 Speakers and Sessions Announced

Speakers and sessions for both conferences have been announced. Like we try to do every year, we have several new speakers this year: Matthew Olson and Phil Sherwood at SWFox and Peter Alderliesten and a to-be-named (but well-known to the community) speaker at SWXbase++.

We’re also glad to have back several speakers who haven’t presented at Southwest Fox in a few years: Bo Durban, Toni Feltman, Jim Nelson, and Kevin Ragsdale.

I’m really excited by the lineup of sessions this year. Some that I’m personally looking forward to are:

Registration opens soon; send an email to info@geekgatherings.com if you want us to email you when it’s ready. See you in October!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Stonefield Query Enterprise

Stonefield Software Inc. is excited to announce the release of Stonefield Query Enterprise, the newest version of our award-winning Stonefield Query product line.

Stonefield Query Enterprise is a complete rewrite from scratch using the C# language for the back-end engine components and ASP.NET MVC for the web front-end. The new version allows us to take advantage of the latest technologies.

Here are some of the features of this new product:

  • Web UI: the current version of Stonefield Query is a desktop application. While it works great for the over 200,000 people using Stonefield Query, many of you want reporting for your web applications. Stonefield Query Enterprise gives you that solution.
  • New reporting features: Stonefield Query Enterprise has many new features that are difficult or impossible to add to the current version. Some of these new features include:

    • Support for sub-reports
    • Displaying HTML and rich text with full formatting
    • Availability of other types of controls such as bar codes, QR codes, and check boxes
    • Sorting on group totals
    • Support for multiple column fields in cross-tab reports
    • Better localization of reports: headings appear in the language of the user running the report, not the one who created it
    • And many other great new features
  • Rich API: every aspect of Stonefield Query Enterprise is exposed through our API. This makes it dead simple to integrate with your own application. You can create and run reports programmatically, manage security, or dynamically update the data dictionary as necessary.
  • Extendible: you’ve always been able to extend and control the features of Stonefield Query through scripting. In Stonefield Query Enterprise, plugins take this to the next level. Because plugins have full access to the Stonefield Query object model, you can customize Stonefield Query Enterprise in ways you could only dream of before.
  • Support for multi-tenant applications: Stonefield Query Enterprise was designed to work in a multi-tenant environment. Whether you have one database with row-level security for all customers or one database per customer, Stonefield Query Enterprise has you covered. Users can only see the records and reports for their own company. Of course, it works just fine in a single customer environment too.
  • Updated Stonefield Query Studio: the developer part of Stonefield Query got a facelift too. It integrates with your custom plugins and functions so they’re available for expressions. Join trees give you fine control over how indirectly related tables are joined. You can now preview the contents of calculated fields and virtual tables and test joins between real and virtual tables. Value converters, either built-in or your own, change how the contents of a field appears in a report.
  • Source code: we provide the source code for the web UI, allowing you to customize it to suit your needs. Changes can be a simple as altering styles in CSS files for a different look to changing controllers and views for different workflow or implementing different security rules.

Of course, Stonefield Query Enterprise still has the features that made Stonefield Query one of the few true user reporting solutions available, including:

  • Ease-of-use: Your users don't have to know what a join is, let alone how to create a join for a particular set of tables. They don't have to know the names of tables and fields. They don't have to know how the data is stored. They simply tell Stonefield Query what they want and it figures out how to get the data they need. The simple “wizard” interface allows them to create reports in minutes, not hours.
  • Report scheduling: Create as many schedules to run as many reports at any time as you wish, making report deployment a snap.
  • Multi-database support: Stonefield Query can run reports on data stored in different databases, even if they use different engines. For example, you can create a report that shows customer information from a Microsoft SQL Server database and project information from an Oracle database. Create consolidation reports that pull, for example, invoices from different company databases onto a single report.
  • Configurable: Customize Stonefield Query for your application. The data dictionary describes what the databases Stonefield Query can access look like: the tables, fields, and relationships between the tables; captions for tables and fields; output formatting for fields; and so on. Customize the behavior of Stonefield Query by changing configuration settings, such as whether users can schedule reports.
  • Brandable: Easily create a private labeled or branded version of Stonefield Query. This allows you to distribute Stonefield Query as your own branded product, so your users won't know it's Stonefield Query from Stonefield Software; they'll think it's something you created just for them. This also allows you to sell your branded version for whatever price fits your business model.
  • Localizable: Stonefield Query is fully localizable. Every dialog caption and message displayed to the user in Stonefield Query is defined in resource files. You can easily create multi-lingual versions of Stonefield Query, with each user working in the language they're most comfortable with.

Check out Stonefield Query Enterprise today. If you want to try it with your own data, download the demo from http://stonefieldquery.com/ (choose “Web version” from the Download menu). If you’d rather try out the report designer without installing anything, click the “Try it now” button at http://stonefieldquery.com/ to run the demo on our web site against the famous Northwind sample database.

Updated Web Site

Stonefield Query isn’t a single product; rather, it’s a family of products. On one hand, we have customized versions for specific applications, such as Stonefield Query for Sage 300 and Stonefield Query for ACT!. On the other, we have the Stonefield Query SDK, which any developer or consultant can use to create a customized reporting solution for any application. (In fact, we used the SDK to create the customized versions.) Unfortunately, that made our web site a bit of a mixed bag: we had to make it useful to two different audiences, which led to some awkward navigation. As a result, we’ve split the site into two:

Links in the Solutions menu of both sites take you to the other one.

We also used this as an opportunity to revamp the site, making it more modern and responsive on mobile devices.

Check out the new sites and let us know what you think; your feedback is important to us and much appreciated.