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Help Us Help You!

By Steve Ives, Posted on February 9, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Steve Ives

As many of you already know, after a little over twenty-two years working as a Senior Consultant in the Professional Services Group, I recently transitioned to a new role as Product Manager here at Synergex. I’m excited about this change because it means that not only will I will have a much more significant role in determining the future roadmap for Synergy/DE and related products, but I also get to continue working directly with our customers.

One of the primary driving factors for some of the recent role changes here at Synergex is our desire to become more market-driven when it comes to determining future product enhancements. In part, we will achieve this by continuing to pay close attention to what the industry as a whole is doing. But a large part of our strategy going forward is based on working more closely with our customers when building new feature lists and future product roadmaps.

Product management is an entirely new area of expertise for me, and it will take some time to become fully competent in my new role. To help me with this transition, I was asked to attend a two-day Product Management conference, which I must say was an interesting and informative experience. I learned a lot, not least of which was that I learned how much more I have to learn!

I don’t want to criticize the event that I attended, which was on the whole very well put together, so I’m not going to name the event, which was attended by product managers from some large organizations that everyone would immediately recognize. It wasn’t an unusually large event; I estimate there were perhaps 200 people in attendance.

In the spirit of honesty, here comes the sales pitch! I have been attending Synergex conferences since the early 1990s, first as a customer, then as a partner, and later as an employee. I can honestly say that nobody does it better when it comes to offering an environment with such abundant learning opportunities AND the chance to network with peers. The conference I just returned from cited peer networking as a benefit also, but in reality, it didn’t happen. For whatever reason, many delegates didn’t seem to want to interact, but also, the event schedule and venue didn’t promote that valuable interaction either.

The 2020 Synergex DevPartner conference is being held in Sacramento, CA this year, and we all hope to see you there. If you have attended one of our events in the past, then you already know what an excellent opportunity it is. If you haven’t joined us in the past, I encourage you to not miss out on this unique opportunity this year. For additional information check out the conference website.

As I settle into my new role, you’ll be seeing more blog posts introducing things we’re considering, and some of you will hear from me directly as I try to extend existing relationships and build new ones. My point of contact with your company will be with some specifically nominated person, but I want to hear from all of you! If your life is in any way touched by Synergy/DE, or by related products such as Harmony Core, and you have something to say, good or bad, I want to hear it.

One way for you to provide feedback is through our Ideas forum, but if you prefer to contact me individually, that’s OK too. I’m not going to post an email address here because I don’t want to deal with a thousand replies from BOTs, but try first name dot last name at synergex.com. That should put us in touch.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Highlights from the 2018 Synergy DevPartner Conference

By Heather Sula, Posted on January 14, 2019 at 3:26 pm

Heather Sula

As we head into 2019, we reflect back on one of our favorite events of the year: the 2018 Synergy DevPartner Conference in New Orleans.

Packed with sessions on topics ranging from modern and agile development practices to RESTful web services to QA and learning culture, not to mention an engaging and illuminating keynote presentation from Microsoft’s Donovan Brown, the conference offered a plethora of info, ideas, tips, tricks, and plans for the future. Case studies and customer demos provided insight into practical implementations of technical concepts, and we were jazzed to introduce our new open source RESTful web services project, Harmony Core. Bourbon Street wasn’t too bad either! The legendary food, music, and culture of one of America’s most historic cities provided a great backdrop to a fun and productive week.

Here are some key takeaways from the conference:

  • Improve your productivity and practices by adopting more efficient development methodologies.
  • Enhance years of Synergy data and code with new technologies, including enabling connectivity through RESTful web services.
  • Security and disaster recovery are important for compliance—stay up to date with Synergy SSL and operating system security patches.
  • Use traditional Synergy in Visual Studio (it’s not as hard as it seems!) to significantly boost productivity, lower the barrier to continuous code integration, and improve your processes and software quality.
  • Move to the cloud. Developing and running your Synergy application in the cloud is relatively easy and provides a convenient path to expand your infrastructure to meet demands.
  • Education in the workplace is important—create an onboarding program that includes presentations, videos, and discussion.

The Synergex team came back to the office energized and ready to implement big plans for Synergy in the new year. We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 conference!

You can check out videos and slides of conference sessions here.

(more…)


CodeGen 5.3.6 Released

By Steve Ives, Posted on September 23, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Steve Ives

Just a quick note to announce that CodeGen 5.3.6 has been released and is available for immediate use. This latest version represents the culmination of a series of recent releases which together have added significant new features across the entire product, including the ability to generate code based on metadata found in the xfServerPlus Synergy Method Catalog.

Many of the new features were added specifically to support code generation for the new Harmony Core RESTful web services framework that we are excited to be introducing at the upcoming DevPartner Conference in New Orleans next month.

If you are joining us for the post-conference Harmony Core workshop then you will need to have this new version of CodeGen installed on your development system; you can download it here. And even if you’re not intending to use the new Harmony Core framework, there are many new features that may be useful to all CodeGen users; we recommend this release for general use.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all in New Orleans between October 8th and 12th. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! You can still sign up here.


“D” is for Developer

By , Posted on September 20, 2017 at 6:55 am

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Development of your traditional Synergy code in Microsoft’s Visual Studio was introduced at the DevPartner conference back in 2016. Using an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio not only promotes better code development practices and team development but shows prospective new hires that your tooling is the latest and greatest.

The next release of Synergy—10.3.3d—includes all the capabilities now required to fully develop and build your traditional Synergy–based applications in Visual Studio. During a recent engagement I worked with a team of developers to migrate their existing Synergy Workbench development to Visual Studio with great results. Although there are a few steps to complete, the results of developing in Visual Studio more than outweigh the effort taken to get there. And if you think developing in Synergy Workbench is great and productive, just wait until you are using Visual Studio—there will be no turning back! Here are the high-level steps you can take to get your traditional Synergy development to Visual Studio.

First place to start is the Synergy Repository. We all have (or should have) one. Synergy now provides a Repository project that will allow you to build your repository files from one or multiple schema files. If you have multiple schema files you can use the new pre-build capability to run your existing command scripts to create the single, ordered schema file or load the repository your way—simple. So why have the Repository project? Because you can load all your individual schema files into it, and if any change, your repository will be rebuilt automatically.

Next create your library projects. These are either executable (recommended) or object libraries. Ensure you reference the Repository project using “Add Reference…”. You no longer define the Repository environment variables “RPSMFIL” and “RPSTFIL”. This step ensures that if your Repository project is rebuilt, any projects referencing it will be as well. Next add the source files for the routines that make up your library, and build. You may have a few build issues to resolve—the 10.3.3d compiler is a little stricter, and unresolved references will need to be resolved. Any environment variables required to build your software should be set in the project common properties page or if they are library specific in the project environment page.

Finally, your main line programs. Create the required project with single or multiple main line programs. The multiple main line project allows you to have all the programs in one place, and you can easily specify the program to run.

Now you can build and run your traditional Synergy code from Visual studio—and even better, you can debug through the code using the powerful Visual Studio debugger.

Using UI Toolkit? Keep a look out for a future blog post showing how to easily incorporate window script file builds into your development process.

Building for UNIX? Not a problem. A future post will show the simple steps to target the UNIX platform from within Visual Studio.

We are here to help! Synergex can help with every aspect of getting your traditional Synergy development environment inside Visual Studio. Just ask your account manager or contact me directly.


Developing in Visual Studio

By Steve Ives, Posted on June 30, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Steve Ives

Most Synergy developers would love to use the very latest and greatest development tools to develop and maintain their Synergy applications, but how do you get started? At the recent DevPartner conference in Atlanta product manager Marty Lewis not only discussed the concepts of how to get started, but actually demonstrated the entire process with a real Synergy application. Check out his presentation entitled Developing Synergy Code in Visual Studio:

By the way, this video is just one of many from the 2017 DevPartner Conference.


Build RESTful Web APIs at the DevPartner Conference

By Steve Ives, Posted on February 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Steve Ives

Today we published the agenda for the 2017 DevPartner Conference which will take place in Atlanta, GA the week of Monday May 8th; we hope you can join us. The main conference will be a three-day event from Tuesday May 9th through Thursday May 11th. And similar to other recent conferences we will be offering both pre- and post-conference workshops on Monday 8th and Friday 12th respectively. I will be hosting the pre-conference workshop entitled “Building RESTful Web Services with Synergy .NET and ASP.NET Web API”. My colleague Richard Morris will be presenting the post-conference seminar entitled “Building Platform-Independent Mobile Apps with Xamarin Forms”. Of course we hope you can join us for both workshops, but for the remainder of this article I will be focusing on providing information about the pre-conference RESTful web services workshop.

Building and implementing web service APIs isn’t exactly new, but there are definitely some new and exciting technologies in play that can make building, deploying and interacting with web services faster, easier and more powerful than ever. With the relentless increase in demand for mobile applications and solutions the requirement to expose web service APIs is greater than ever. Not that web service API’s are only used to support mobile applications, that is certainly is not the case. In fact almost any new application developed today is likely to either require the use of a web service API, or it will just make sense to architect the application that way for increased flexibility and future-proofing.

I’m developing the content for my workshop right now and I wanted to give you some information about the audience that I am targeting, which is very broad. To be honest, unless you are already implementing RESTful web service APIs then this workshop is for you! And even if you ARE already implementing RESTful web services APIs, but with some technology other than ASP.NET Web API, then this workshop is also for you! In my opinion it is really important that every developer have at least a good understanding of what a RESTful web service APIs are and how they can be used, and it sure doesn’t hurt to know how to build them either! This workshop will teach you all of those things, and more.

We will start with the basics and will not assume any previous knowledge of web services. After an introductory presentation there will be lots of code, so you will need to be comfortable with that. I don’t want to just show you how to build a RESTful web service API, I want you to really understand what it is and how it works. So as well as covering ASP.NET Web API we will also be talking about the basic principles of REST, as well as various underlying technologies like HTTP, JSON and XML. If it all works out as planned it should be an action packed and interesting day.

This year both of the full-day workshops will be lecture and demonstration based; there won’t be any hands-on component. Unfortunately the hardware and software requirements of the underlying technologies that we will be using, particularly in the post-conference workshop, make it virtually impossible for us to offer a hands-on experience this time around. But rest assured that you will have access to all of the code that is developed and demonstrated, and we’ll make sure that you know exactly what hardware and software you will need if you want to work with that code, or perform your own similar development projects.

Time is ticking away and DevPartner 2017 is only about 10 weeks away. We’re all looking forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time, and if you haven’t done so already then it’s time to register. See you there!


The stars have aligned—Microsoft’s plans now synchronize with Synergex’s founding principle of portability

By William Mooney, Posted on April 1, 2016 at 3:31 pm

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It was very exciting to learn at Build this week that Microsoft will now be offering Visual Studio (VS) as a development tool to build anything to deploy anywhere—from Linux to Apple to Android, you name it! As Steve Ives referenced in his recent blog post, all of the Xamarin tools that we’ve been leveraging are now included with VS.

The really cool thing about all of this is that Microsoft’s direction is in perfect alignment with ours. At our Summit meeting at the end of last year—a gathering of Synergex customers who provide input on Synergex’s technology roadmap—we received overwhelmingly positive feedback on our proposal to include the ability to use traditional Synergy within Visual Studio.

More and more of our customers are adopting Synergy .NET while still maintaining and developing in traditional Synergy, leading them to work with two separate development IDEs: Workbench for traditional Synergy and VS for Synergy .NET. We are happy to say that this will all change with the release of Synergy/DE 10.3.3, pegged for OUR conference in May. The 10.3.3 release will allow developers to use VS for both traditional and Synergy .NET—the post-conference workshop is even dedicated to this topic! I’m even thinking that this new functionality might inspire even more developers to play/experiment with Synergy .NET once they are using VS as their single IDE.

Synergex has always been committed to helping companies leverage their existing investments to stay competitive and current. This latest announcement from Microsoft really echoes that sentiment. After this week, reaching for the stars is now easier than ever!

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PDF API Enhancements

By Steve Ives, Posted on March 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Steve Ives

Last year I announced that we had created a new PDF API and made it available via the CodeExchange in the Synergy/DE Resource Center. Now I am pleased to announce that we have made some enhancements to the original API, namely by adding the ability to:

  • View existing PDF documents (Windows only).
  • Print existing PDF documents (Windows only).
  • Draw circles.
  • Draw pie charts.
  • Draw bar charts (with a single or multiple data series).

Here’s an example of a pie chart that was drawn with the new API:

PieChart

Here’s an example of a bar chart:

BarChart

And here’s an example of a multi-series bar chart:

MultiBarChart

It’s early days for the support of charts, and I plan to make several additional enhancements as time permits, but I wanted to make the work that has been done so far out into the wild, and hopefully get some feedback to help me decide what else needs to be done.

If you’re interested in learning how to use the PDF API then I’ll be presenting a session that will teach you all about it at our up-coming DevPartner conference in May. So if you haven’t already done so, head on over to http://conference.synergex.com to reserve your spot at the conference now.


Gearing up for another great SPC

By William Mooney, Posted on August 4, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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It’s been a while since I posted a blog, but the SPC always seems to propel me back into the blogosphere! SPC 2010 is unbelievably just around the corner, and we are once again gearing up for a conference that is not-to-be-missed.

A few years ago, a customer asked me to help him justify the conference to his team and upper management. I quickly jotted down the top reasons to attend the SPC and ended up sending the list to all of our customers. As the reasons haven’t changed much since then, I won’t bore you by repeating them all but think the main ones deserve a recap.

Here goes…

  • Continuing education. Imagine going to your heart doctor for a check up and learning that he or she has not been to an industry-related conference for several years. How has he/she kept up with all of the advances in the technology? Reading journals and surfing the net? Wouldn’t you prefer he/she had a more well-rounded education including hands-on instruction, networking with peers, and one-on-ones with industry experts? Likewise with your software—make sure your “application doctors” are getting the best education possible.
  • Break away from your day-to-day routine. One of our customers said about the SPC, “The SPC gives me a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of business and think strategically—I use it like a software development retreat.”  I have to agree. More often than not I solve problems or come up with new ideas when I’m away from the office on a business trip or seminar. And, your employees who attend will come back motivated and inspired by your confidence in sending them. I know this first-hand from the responses I get from my employees when I send them to conferences.
  • Learn about the future of Synergy/DE. Version 9.5 will offer native support for Microsoft’s .NET Framework, enabling you to interoperate with applications written in other .NET languages, such as C# or VB .NET; to take advantage of all .NET Framework classes; and to develop Synergy code in Visual Studio. At the SPC, you will learn the ins and outs of the new technology, and get the opportunity to try it out for yourself with hands-on exercises. (Note: The focus isn’t on getting to .NET. The focus is on modernizing your application – and .NET just happens to be the best way to do it. I’ll be blogging more about this shortly!)
  • Experience the latest functionality hands-on. It’s one thing to hear about all the new features we’ve added to our products over the years—it’s another to actually try them out with the knowledgeable PSG consultants standing by for questions. The popular Code Phantom is back, offering even bigger, better, and more enjoyable challenges to help you experience the latest functionality first-hand.
  • You want to make sure you are fully taking advantage of Synergy/DE 9.3. Synergy/DE 9.3 delivers a number of important features that enable you to improve security, performance, and productivity. The SPC will cover these features in detail so you can be sure you are making the most of them in your own applications.
  • Networking. SPC attendees often describe the networking opportunities as the most valuable aspect of the conference. Where else will you be among so many other Synergy/DE developers, who may be working on or may have completed projects just like those you are considering or may be struggling with? One of our customers who traveled from Europe told me he justified the entire conference just by one conversation he had with another customer at the welcome reception. The rest of the conference was just icing on the cake. And because this year’s conference is in Sacramento, the Synergex staff members who are developing and supporting your Synergy/DE products will be there to answer your questions.
  • Your business depends on it. I could go through several analogies ranging from maintaining your health, home, investment portfolios, etc., but the bottom line is that your business depends on your Synergy/DE solutions. With that in mind, how could you not take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to make sure you are taking advantage of all that is available to you—that you are working most efficiently, and that your products are as functional and powerful as the technology allows them to be?

You can find details about the conference at conference.synergex.com. I look forward to seeing you there.


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