Panorama X 10.2 (Preview Release)

To: Panorama Users
Date: December 18, 2020
Subject: Panorama X 10.2

After over two years in development, it's finally time to let Panorama users take a peek at the next major step forward -- Panorama X 10.2. This exciting new software is scheduled for final release in Spring 2021, but early adopters now have an opportunity to get started before the digital ink is dry. Starting in January 2021, ProVUE will be offering two parallel online courses that include early access to the software:

  • Course 1: Mastering Panorama X 10.2 (7-10 hours)
  • Course 2: Deploying Shared Databases with Panorama X Team Server (12-16 hours)

Both courses will be conducted on Zoom so that anyone can participate from anywhere in the world, and recordings will be available if you can't participate live. I look forward to seeing many of you online in just a few weeks!


Jim Rea
Founder, ProVUE Development

P.S. If you want to peek ahead, see How do I sign up for a course? Otherwise, keep reading for complete information about the new update and courses.

What's New in Panorama X 10.2?

Panorama X 10.2 introduces two blockbuster features: multi-user database sharing and first class relational database management. I've been hearing from many of you in organizations and groups that have been waiting on pins and needles for Panorama X Server so that you can unleash the power of Panorama X in your team's environment. Panorama X Server is designed from the ground up to coordinate database access across multiple simultaneous users. Whether you have two, five, or dozens of users, the server keeps everything organized so that users can modify data without interfering with each other, and everyone has the most up-to-date data at their fingertips when they need it. Panorama X Server is the key to unlocking the power of Panorama for multi-user teams of any size. If you've been using Panorama 6 Server you'll find that the new server is much smoother, faster, easier to use and much easier to deploy than ever before.

The 10.2 release also introduces a completely new approach to working with multiple interconnected databases. Instead of using obscure lookup formulas, you can now manage relationships with a comprehensive, flexible and easy to use visual dialog panel. Once a relationship has been established between two databases, you can use that relationship to quickly select data that corresponds to the current database, to display related information in a form or report, to accelerate data entry of related information (including cross-database Clairvoyance™), to post updated data to a related database, and to perform super fast full joins between two databases (including inner and outer joins).

The new server and relational features are just the tip of the iceberg. Panorama X 10.2 includes over 80 new features and over 100 bug fixes (and that's counting Panorama X Server as one feature!). For complete details on all of the exciting new changes, see the Version 10.2 Release Notes documentation page. As you'll see, the complete release notes is nearly 40 pages long!

General Questions (Expanded)

What remains unfinished in Panorama X 10.2?

Although Panorama X 10.2 is definitely super exciting, it's not quite ready for prime time yet. Mostly it lacks the latest up-to-date Mac technology bling like notarization, revisions for Big Sur, and native Apple Silicon code. We plan to have all the t's crossed and the i's dotted by the spring of 2021.

What are the hardware and software requirements for Panorama X 10.2?

Panorama X 10.2 will run on any Macintosh computer running macOS 10.12 or later.

Will Panorama X 10.2 run on Apple Silicon (M1) Computers?

The current preview release of Panorama X 10.2 includes only Intel native code, which runs well on computers with M1 processors using Apple's Rosetta technology (including Panorama X Server). See the forum post Panorama X Speed Tests on an M1 Mac (via Rosetta) for more information about performance on Apple Silicon machines. We plan to deliver the final release version as a universal binary for both Intel and Apple Silicon processors.

Pricing (Expanded)

How much will Panorama X 10.2 cost?

Pricing for the single user and client versions of Panorama remain unchanged (monthly pricing between $5-$15 per user). There will be no upgrade charge for Panorama X 10.2, upgrades are included in the monthly pricing. (Note: Students in the Mastering Panorama X 10.2 course will continue incurring the normal monthly charge for Panorama use during the preview period, in other words, you must keep your Panorama X account in good standing during the preview period.)

How much will Panorama X Server cost?

During the preview period (before the final release), students of the Deploying Shared Databases course will be able to use Panorama X Server at no additional charge. In other words, during the preview period there is no charge for using the server (however, normal monthly charges for the client software will apply).

Once the final version is released, there will be a monthly charge for Panorama X Server based on usage (similar to an electricity or water bill, or similar to Amazon AWS). The server software includes instrumentation to monitor usage levels to determine billing. This will make Panorama X Server an affordable option for organizations of all sizes. (Note: Only aggregate usage pattern information is monitored, no private user or database information is monitored or reported. Specificaly, the only information monitored is the number of active users, number of client requests, and amount of data transferred.)

We won't be able to determine exact pricing for server usage until we're able to analyze actual usage patterns for real world use. We'll be monitoring those patterns during the preview period. We're not trying to be coy about pricing, we simply do not have enough metrics to calculate reasonable pricing levels yet.

Online Classes and Documentation (Expanded)

How do I sign up for a course?

To sign up for one or both courses, fill out the Registration Form. Space may be limited, so get your application in early (applications will be processed in the order received).

                        --> THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER IS FRIDAY, JANUARY 15 <--

Note: To facilitate discussion about course topics and about Panorama X 10.2 in general, we've set up a private section of the Panorama Discussion Forum exclusively for course attendees. This private area will be the primary means of communication for course scheduling, news of new software updates, feedback and bug reports. If you're not already signed up for the discussion forum, please do so before registering for the course -- you'll need to enter your forum user name when you fill in the course Registration Form (we need the user name so that we can give you access to the private area on the forum). If you are a member of the forum but don't remember your user name, see How do I find my Panorama Discussion Forum user name?

How much do the courses cost?

The cost to attend the Mastering Panorama X 10.2 course is $95. Attendance at both courses is $295 (the Deploying Shared Databases course is not available separately).

What is the schedule for the courses?

The courses will be held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (California time), starting Tuesday, January 19. There are students signed up from Australia to France, so this time period was picked because it avoids the middle of the night for all students. Though the schedule may vary somewhat each week, generally there will be two sessions per day.

  • 12:15 PM California time -- Panorama X 10.2.
  • 2:00 PM California time -- Deploying Shared Databases with Panorama X Server

The course schedule may need to be adjusted over time, so the exact course schedule will be published in the Live Course Calendar window (accessible from the Help menu within Panorama itself). This calendar automatically adjusts to show the course schedule in your local time zone, and will be updated as the course progresses. (Note: The calendar window only shows upcoming live sessions for the courses you are registered for, you won't see sessions that you are not signed up for.)

When a course session is about to start, the Zoom link for the course will be displayed in the calendar window. Simply click on the link to join the class session. To learn more about using this window, see the Panorama Live Course Calendar help page.

Will course sessions be recorded for later viewing?

We plan to record the live sessions for later viewing in case you are not able to attend live, or if you want to review the session later. Once the video is processed and uploaded (this may take up to several days after the live event) it will be available in the Panorama Video Training window (accessible from the Help menu). (Note: The recorded videos are only available to registered students, and they can only be viewed from within the Panorama Video Training window – they cannot be viewed in a web browser or on other devices.)

What topics will be covered in the Mastering Panorama X 10.2 course?

Here is the preliminary syllabus for the Mastering Panorama X 10.2 course. The estimated course time is 7 to 10 hours. (Note that this course is intended to cover features that are new or different in version 10.2, it will not generally cover basic Panorama features, or features that were already in previous versions.)

  • Working with Related Databases
  • Debug Instrumentation
  • Automatic Form Construction
  • Data Input Validation
  • Searching Code & Forms
  • Deploying Panorama in an Organization
  • Preferences & Settings
  • Window ID Numbers
  • Preventing Endless Loops
  • Understanding the Run Loop
  • Timer Workshop
  • X-Callback-URL
  • Database Initialization
  • Banner Messages & Progress Reporting
  • Reordering Fields
  • Favorite Summaries & Crosstabs
  • New Statements & Functions

What topics will be covered in the Deploying Shared Databases course?

Here is the preliminary syllabus for the Deploying Shared Databases with Panorama X Team Server course. The estimated course time is 12 to 16 hours.

  • Panorama Server Quick Start
  • Introduction Panorama Database Sharing Concepts
  • Installing and Launching Panorama Server
  • Setting up a Computer as a Panorama X Client
  • Downloading Shared Databases to a Client Computer
  • Creating a Shared Database
  • Editing Shared Data (Record Locking)
  • Shared Database Synchronization
  • Changing the Design of a Shared Database
  • Temporarily Disconnecting a Shared Database from the Server
  • Manually Uploading a Quick Patch to the Server
  • Permanently Detaching a Shared Database from the Server
  • Permanently Deleting a Database from the Server
  • Automatic Record Numbering in a Shared Database
  • Using the Server Administration Wizard
  • Using an External Web Server
  • Restricting Server Access
  • Advanced Server Settings
  • Logging Server Activity
  • Record Locking in Procedure Code
  • Synchronizing in Procedure Code
  • Server Variables
  • Bulk Data Transformations on Shared Databases
  • Controlling and Monitoring the Server Connection
  • Looking up Data Directly from the Server
  • Web Publishing Quick Start

Are there any prerequisites for the courses?

These courses assume a basic familiarity with Panorama. Some topics will require basic Panorama programming skills (familiarity with procedures, variables, etc.)

What is needed to participate in the Zoom sessions?

Almost any modern computer or tablet can run Zoom. It will not be necessary to have a camera to participate in the Panorama X classes.

How do I find my Panorama Discussion Forum user name?

You need your user name for the Panorama Discussion Forum to register for the online courses. This is the user name you use to log on to the forum. If you keep yourself permanently logged on to the forum, you may have forgotten what the user name is! To find it, open the Panorama Discussion Forum, then click on the avatar in the top right (as shown in the illustration below). Next, click on the person icon, and finally, click on the Preferences option. This will display your user name (of course your name won't be admin, so please don't enter that!).

Once you find your user name you can use it to fill in the Registration Form.

Is Panorama X 10.2 documentation available?

Most new features and changes in Panorama X 10.2 are already fully documented in the Panorama Help included with the software. The updated documentation is also available on the web, see Panorama X 10.2 Release Notes.

Upgrade Questions (Expanded)

What are the major new features in Panorama X 10.2?

There's something for everyone in this new version, including:

  • Multi-user database sharing with Panorama X Team Server.
  • First class relational database management including cross database linking and posting, multi-field and partial field keys, case/accent insensitive keys (optional), auto-join, and super fast SQL style inner and outer joins. Panorama can now automatically open all related databases when a primary database is opened.
  • Greatly enhanced layout options for fast and easy automatic form construction, including the ability to control the position and style of field labels (including color and/or gradient backgrounds), more layout options including the ability to arrange multiple fields on the same row, the ability to “snap” objects into a grid for perfect alignment, custom background colors, the ability to display fields without making them editable, more control over spacing, padding and borders, and control over the editing behavior of form objects (insertion point, focus ring, pop-up editing, etc.).
  • Upgraded line item support, including the ability to automatically generate a line item form grid.
  • Greatly enhanced data input validation, including validation of numeric and date values, the ability to validate that values are not duplicate or not unique, and even the ability to write your own custom validation checks that are fully integrated into Panorama data entry.
  • New advanced Clairvoyance™ options for partial database searching, cross-database (relational) searching, and fully custom value lists. The ability to step up or down thru clairvoyance values with the keyboard has returned, and you now have the option for Clairvoyance™ to operate silently.
  • Expanded preference options, including user configurable deletion warnings, new search preferences, and the ability to easily deploy preference options and account credentials to multiple computers across an organization.
  • The new Debug Instrumentation feature turbo charges debugging of Panorama code. We implemented this feature to help us debug Panorama Server, and soon realized it was so great we had to make it available to all Panorama programmers. Instrumentation makes the dynamic internal operation of your code fully visible. With instrumentation, you'll often find that the solution to frustrating problems becomes instantly apparent. Without instrumentation we would still be tracking down stubborn problems in Panorama Server (by the way, instrumentation works both locally and in server code). Our only regret is that we didn't think of this idea sooner. If you are a Panorama programmer, this may be the most consequential new feature in Panorama X 10.2!
  • New View Search window for comprehensive searching of procedures and forms.
  • New Reorder Fields dialog makes it easier to rearrange the fields in databases with lots of fields, and works even if some fields are hidden.
  • You can now quickly pull up a favorite summary or crosstab table with a single click on the Summary tool in the toolbar of a data sheet or form, and the Summary Workshop and Crosstab Workshop now support exporting the analyzed data as tab delimited, comma delimited or JSON text files.
  • Panorama can now be configured to abort endless loops that cause the program to freeze.
  • Windows can now be referenced in code and formulas by a unique numeric id, eliminating possible ambiguities from duplicate or changing window names.
  • The new Timer Workshop window makes it easy to monitor running timers and to create and test timer configurations.
  • Panorama X now supports the x-callback-url protocol, which allows it to communicate with other applications that support this protocol, and allows Panorama procedures to respond to standard web links.
  • 125 new statements, 128 new functions, and over 100 bug fixes.

In total there are 295 new topics in the Panorama X help system, nearly a thousand pages of new material. See, the Panorama X 10.2 Release Notes for a detailed summary of everything new and changed.

Are my existing databases compatible with Panorama X 10.2?

Yes. All databases created with earlier versions of Panorama X are 100% compatible with Panorama X 10.2. There is no conversion required, databases simply open as usual with the new version. All of your current forms, formulas and procedure code will continue to work exactly the same. (Of course if you still have Panorama 6 databases, those can also be brought into Panorama X, but may require some adjustments to forms and code.)

What's the code name for Panorama X 10.2?

Apple gives a name to each version of macOS, so we've decided to follow suit. Instead of places in California, we are going to name Panorama versions after mountain peaks -- after all a mountain peak is the best place to view a panorama! Since Panorama X 10.2 is such a towering upgrade, we've decided to name it after the tallest peak in North America - Denali.

Server Questions (Expanded)

What is the purpose of Panorama Server?

Without a server, it's not possible for multiple users to simultaneously share a single database. Panorama Server makes it possible for multiple users to work together on a database as a team. The server coordinates access to the database so that everyone can work together. Whether you have two, five, or dozens of users, the server keeps everything organized so that users can modify data without interfering with each other, and everyone has the most up-to-date data at their fingertips when they need it. Panorama X Server is the key to unlocking the power of Panorama for multi-user teams of any size.

What are the differences between Panorama X Server and Panorama 6 Server?

If you’ve used Panorama 6 Enterprise Server, you’ll find that many aspects of Panorama X Team Server are very familiar, but there are some significant differences:

  • Panorama X Team Server is much simpler to install and configure. You’ll never have to worry about configuring Bonjour Threshold again. Shared database configuration and administration tools are now integrated into Panorama, instead of being stuck into a submenu of the Wizard menu.
  • Panorama X Team Server runs completely in the background, with no windows, menus or dock icon. Launching, shutting down, and configuration of the server is performed using the Preference dialog of a standard copy of Panorama running on the same computer (this copy of Panorama only needs to be open when actually configuring the server).
  • It’s no longer necessary to upload and then download an entire database just because a single procedure or form has been modified. The New Generation process, which used to work only for database field structure, now makes it easy and fast to distribute any kind of change to all shared users of the database.
  • Panorama X Team Server automatically compresses all large data transfers in .zip format (both up and downloads). Uploading a database, downloading, and synchronizing are much faster than before, especially with large databases. When uploading and downloading large amounts of data, Panorama X always shows a progress indicator in the toolbar – you are never left hanging wondering what is going on.
  • The current database sharing status is always shown in the toolbar.
  • Panorama X Team Server includes its own built in web server, but also can be used with external web servers. Industry standard TCP/IP is used for all client/server communication, even on the local network, the often troublesome AppleEvent protocol is not used. If you want to use the Apache web server built in to macOS, Panorama X now includes a panel to control Apache (since Apple no longer provides this), and Panorama X can automatically set up permissions and edit httpd.conf as needed to enable CGI (in the past this had to be done manually in a very technical process).
  • By default, Panorama X Team Server is locked to your account for increased security. If necessary access can be granted to specific alternate accounts (for example if you need to give access to a consultant), or security can be disabled.
  • Unlike Panorama 6, Panorama X Team Server does not support modification of shared databases when offline. You can always view any database, but you cannot edit a database unless you are connected to the server.
  • Panorama X Team Server can be run in conjunction with so that you can view console output from the server in real time, and Panorama X includes new tools for generating console output for debugging. This makes it much easier to debug web code on a live server.

For additional information about the new server, see Panorama X Server.

What's the difference between Panorama X Server and services like DropBox or Google Drive?

You might think a simple way to share a Panorama X database would be to use a file synchronization service like DropBox, iCloud, or Google Drive. However, these services do not allow multiple users to modify a database at the same time. These synchronization systems are designed to synchronize entire files, not individual records within files. Even if different users are modifying different records, the file synchronization system will not work. At best, some or all users's changes will be lost, at worst, the database will become corrupted and the entire database could be lost.

Panorama X Server is designed to coordinate database access across multiple simultaneous users. Whether you have two, five, or dozens of users, the server keeps everything organized so that users can modify data without interfering with each other, and everyone has the most up-to-date data at their fingertips when they need it. Panorama X Server is the key to unlocking the power of Panorama for multi-user teams of any size.

What type of computer is needed to run Panorama X Server?

Any computer that can run macOS 10.12 or later can be used. The most popular option is a Mac Mini. For light to moderate server use an older model is usually fine.

Is a separate computer required for Panorama X Server?

A separate computer is not strictly required for Panorama X Server. Panorama X Server runs completely in the background with no visible windows (and by default, not even a dock icon). If the server is being used for light usage (a handful of users), it's entirely possible to also use the computer for normal light usage (email, web browsing, etc.) at the same time.

Of course if the server will be heavily used, it's definitely better to have a separate dedicated computer for running just Panorama X Server. This is also true if you need to run intensive foreground tasks, which could slow down server response if run on the same computer.

Can Panorama X Server be hosted "on premise"?

Yes, you can easily host Panorama X Server on a computer on your local network. If all of the client computers are on the same network, setup only takes a couple of minutes.

If the server needs to be accessible off-site, on premise hosting is still possible but is more complicated to set up. You'll need static IP address from your internet provider (for a low traffic server, a dynamic DNS service may suffice). You'll also need a router configured to forward inbound port 80 traffic to your server computer. If all that sounds daunting, you may want to consider hosting your server in a colocation facility (see next question).

Can Panorama X Server be hosted in a colocation facility?

If you need your server to be accessible anywhere on the internet, you may want to consider using a remote server in a server farm, also referred to as colocation. There are a number of companies that will either rent or sell you a Mac Mini computer in their facility, or allow you to ship them a computer that they will operate in their location for a monthly fee. The fee generally includes 24/7 superfast monitored internet with a static IP address and UPS backed up power. For an additional fee you can also usually get 24/7 monitoring of your computer, and even service or replacement if your hardware fails. If you need to rely on your server being available 24/7, this can be an excellent option.

Can Panorama X databases be hosted in "the cloud" without a server?

Currently Panorama X databases cannot be hosted in the cloud. Since it requires a macOS based computer, it does not work with services like AWS or Azure. We are considering setting up a hosted service version of Panorama X Server that would allow you to share Panorama X databases without having to own or rent your own server, please contact us if you would be interested in such a service.

Can a Panorama 6 Server installation be converted to Panorama X?

Not directly, but the process only takes a few minutes. The first step is to convert the shared database to single user (this is done using Panorama 6). This single user database can then be converted to Panorama X format. The final step is to upload the database to your Panorama X server.

By the way, the process of uploading a database to the Panorama X server is much faster and more reliable than it was in Panorama 6. If you ever experienced the problem of a Panorama 6 upload stalling at the end of the process, you'll never see that again. To increase speeds, Panorama X now compresses all data before uploading or downloading it, which can result in a 10x speed improvement over Panorama 6. In addition Panorama X performs all uploads in the background, so you don't have to wait for the upload to finish before continuing with other tasks.

Is Panorama X Server difficult to install?

Installing a local Panorama X Server is as simple as opening the Preferences window, clicking on the Server panel, typing in a server name, then pressing the Start Panorama X Server button. That's it! (Installing a server accessible on the internet is a bit more complicated because you need to configure your router and IP configuration.)

Can Panorama X Server be used for database web publishing?

Panorama X Server includes the same web publishing code that was available in Panorama 6 Server. However, the web publishing feature is not yet documented, and is not officially supported at this time. If you have a Panorama 6 web based application, it should for the most part run without modification on the Panorama X Server (however, cookies are not yet supported). The Deploying Shared Databases course will include a short introduction to working with the Panorama X Server web server. This introduction will not be a comprehensive course in building web applications, it will only cover the basics of how to upload and debug web code and forms. Until this intro session is complete we won't be able to answer any questions about web publishing, and even after that there will only be very limited support.

In the long run, we are contemplating a complete overhaul of Panorama X Server's web rendering technology. The current web publishing feature was developed in 2006-7, which is quite ancient in terms of web technology. For example, Panorama's feature to automatically generate HTML code from a form generates fixed format, non-responsive HTML code, completely outmoded in today's mobile first web environment. Rather than performing the massive work of re-documenting the current old fashioned features, we may decide to put that investment into a more modern framework. However, development of such a modern framework may take a year or more, and may also be tied in with other changes to Panorama X.

That said, the low level HTTP engine in Panorama X Server is completely modern. If you've written your own custom code to generate HTML from scratch and aren't relying on Panorama's higher level web rendering code, you should be good to go right now (except for cookies, which are planned soon).

Does Panorama X Server work with other server software (Apache, Nginx, etc.)?

Panorama X Server includes a built in web server, and unlike Panorama 6 Server does not require any external server. However, there are some situations where you may want to use Panorama X Server with other server software:

  • When you are serving a full web site that includes non-Panorama generated pages.
  • When you need to use SSL for secure transactions (the web server built in to Panorama does not support SSL).
  • When you anticipate extra high traffic loads and need super fast performance (the built in server has good performance, but not as good as Apache, Nginx, etc.).

If you need to use an external server, this is much easier to set up than it was in Panorama 6, especially if you want to use the Apache server built into macOS. For standard configurations Panorama X does all the configuration for you, there's no need for you to manually edit configuration files. Panorama X also includes the controls for turning Apache on and off that Apple removed a few years ago. See Using an External Web Server for more detailed information.