BACKTRACK Version 7 – Changes and How They Will Affect You
Looks Can Be Deceiving
BACKTRACK version 7 is out! The GUI looks very similar to v6, but under the hood, there are some significant changes. Overall I like what I see but, as often with change, there may be some short term pain.
Below are the three most significant changes that I think most likely to affect our group.
New Report Writer
The old Advanced Report Writer was a nice feature in BACKTRACK. Most competitive applications don’t have such flexibility in reporting. But it was frustrating at times…it wasn’t always completely WYSIWYG and lining up and controlling the fields was painfully time consuming. I have not mastered the new Advanced Report Writer but I can already see the improvements with the work I have done.
One HUGE downside…for those upgrading, you will need to rewrite ALL your old reports. Yes…you read that correctly…ALL the reports need to be rewritten. For some that will be quite a task but I think most will find the sacrifice worth it in the long run. Think of it this way…you will be a master in the new Advanced Report Writer by the time you finish updating all your old reports!
For those under Support and Maintenance agreement with us, I could put together a quick training webinar. If you are interested, please respond to this blog so I can gauge the interest level.
More Efficient Use of SQL…FoxPro out!
When BACKTRACK starting supporting SQL in addition to FoxPro, many clients with large databases were disappointed to find the SQL preformed more SLOWLY than FoxPro. Since the application was rewritten from the ground up, BACKTRACK v7 appears to work much faster with SQL which is good news. For those who still like FoxPro, the news is not so good. FoxPro is no longer an option for us. TEKLYNX no longer allows FoxPro databases in v7. Since Microsoft will drop support for FoxPro in 2015, I guess the writing was on the wall.
For those still on FoxPro, the news is not all bad however. For most of us conversion from FoxPro to SQL should be easy. Just backup the FoxPro, install version 7, then restore back and presto! You’re back in business.
HOWEVER…a word of caution!!! We have experienced problems with some clients…especially the ones with the bigger databases, converting over from v6 to v7 recently. BE CAREFUL because if you upgrade on the same machine and find the restore fails, you may not be able to go back…especially if you are in an unsupported version of the software.
For those on Support and Maintenance with us, I highly recommend you send us a copy of your backup so we can test it in our test environment BEFORE you initiate the upgrade process. Also, let us know when you plan to do the upgrade so we can assist you.
Import/Export Choices Updated and Consolidated
From what I have seen, changes to the Export and Import features will not affect most clients EXCEPT those who exported to text files that DO NOT use the comma as a delimiter (e.g. ~, |, %, ^, *, :, ;, etc.)
TEKLYNX cleaned out most of the formats available for export (and added XML which is nice). I suspect many of these were not being used anyway (e.g. Excel 5.0…is ANYONE still using Excel v5???). However, the ability to insert your own delimiter is also gone. This can be a major inconvenience if you have integrated BACKTRACK with an application that is not setup to accept the CSV standard format.
For example, we have a client using TabQuik with BACKTRACK. The default delimiter is a tilde (~). Since version 7 of BACKTRASCK does not have the ability to send files in the default format (with the tilde) anymore to TabQuik we need to change the setting in TabQuick to work with BACKTRACK. Now this is not the end of world…TabQuik can change the default delimiter. But this is one more thing to deal with during the upgrade. I hope to see TEKLYNX bring this feature back but the other formats I don’t think will be missed.
No DOS PDT Support…and Where is the Simulator?
Many are surprised to know how many of those old proprietary DOS terminals are still out there. But think about it. These devices are rugged and they get the job done. Why not keep using them until they finally break? Well, for BACKTRACK users I don’t think that will be an option any more.
The release notes for v7 didn’t mention anything about dropping DOS PDT support nor was there anything said about the PDT simulator. But…both seem to have mysteriously disappeared!
For those who will miss the simulator, there is another option. Microsoft has a free Windows Mobile 6 SDK / Simulator. It takes a few minutes to setup but it works really well. Here is the download page:
As you can see in figure 5, the Microsoft emulator is much more realistic than the old BACKTRACK simulator. If you are interested but find the setup confusing, just comment on this blog. If I get enough interest, I will write up a set of simple instructions specifically for BACKTRACK.
The rewrite of BACKTRACK in v7 has improved the application and I am glad TEKLYNX put in the time and effort to complete it. For those who will need to invest the time to rewrite reports or change delimiters with other applications…hang in there! The extra time and effort will be worth it.