Monday, September 24, 2012

@MDTnet #swgis webinar on 23 October

ASTEC will be hosting a webinar for their Magik Development Tools (MDT) on 23 October.

I have been an Emacs traditionalist when it comes to Magik development.  Recently, however, I have been working on other projects that use the Eclipse IDE for Java work.  I can tell you that based on the cool refactoring, debugging and code assist functionality available to Java in the IDE, I have reconsidered my Emacs traditionalism and would recommend that you learn more about MDT and how it can help you become more efficient in your Magik development.

You can find more details about the webinar here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

@iFactor Consulting Presents Money-Saving Solutions at #SWUC

This blog post's title "iFactor Consulting Presents Money-Saving Solutions at #SWUC" was meant to give the post an air of respectability. In reality, it should have been titled...

 When You Leave Two Magik Hacks In Charge of the @ifactor #swuc Booth, This is What You Get

The GE Energy Americas Smart Grid Software Summit (formerly known as Smallworld Americas User Conference) is starting on Monday and I wanted to write a bit about what my company (iFactor Consulting) will be doing there. Graham Garlick and I will be staffing the booth with a cameo appearance by Brad Sileo.

Come see us at the booth and talk to us about all your Smart Grid questions. We might even be able to talk about Smallworld while we are at it :)

Here are some of the cool things we want to share with you...

Dialog Designer (DD)
Dialog Designer is the best Magik GUI design tool in the world! No one, not even GE, offers a tool like this that allows you to create SWAF-based GUIs with drag-n-drop ease. Each year Graham Garlick adds new functionality and language support so if you have not seen the product recently, please ask for a demo and we can show you the latest and greatest. And did I mention that it's free, courtesy of iFactor Consulting?

You can find out more about Dialog Designer here. You can even download your free copy from that site.

Vector Rubber Sheeter (VRS)
When you are ready to conflate your data to match a more accurate landbase (see WMC below), you will need to start some kind of data conflation program. Come talk to Graham about how VRS can automate some of the tedious control point creation tasks you have to do using your current conflation tool. With VRS, your conflation work flow is also improved with support for merging conflated data in different alternatives. Graham's the man to see about your data conflation needs.

You can find out more about VRS here.

Version Viewer (VV)
If you are a Smallworld administrator or super user, you will often need to know what is different between alternatives and then based on that you might want to copy data between alternatives. Version Viewer (VV) is a great graphical tool that every Smallworld super user should have in her toolkit to take full advantage of Smallworld's powerful core difference stream functionality.

Use Version Viewer to:
  • find out exactly what database changes your batch scripts are making
  • review work done by users in an alternative
  • recover "lost" data that has been deleted in an alternative but still exists behind an older alternative or checkpoint.
You can find out more about Version Viewer here

Google Charts API Magik client
The Google Charts API is a rich web-based API that allows you to create professional-looking charts, tables and other visualizations. With our Google Charts API Magik product, you can now embed those charts directly in a Magik canvas. But this is not just a simple image copy/paste. These charts in Magik also have hotspots enabled that allow a user to click on the various chart components and drill down to other detailed charts. It is some very cool Magik and you should take the time to see it at our booth this year.

Web Maps Connector (WMC)
WMC presents web-based tile and static maps as graphics layers in Smallworld. Our list of supported formats and functionality is growing every year.
  • World Wide
    • Bing Maps
    • Google Maps
    • OpenStreetMap Mapnik rendered tiles
    • MapQuest Open data
    • WeatherBug Lightning Strikes
    • ESRI ArcGIS Data Appliance
      • if your organization has an ArcGIS Data Appliance server within the firewall, we can configure WMC to let you view that data in a Smallworld client.
  • South Korea
    • Naver Maps
  • Thailand
    • Longdo Maps
  • Japan
    • NTT Geospace Imagery and Road Tile
  • USA
    • Digital Map Products showing lot parcel data nation-wide
    • WeatherBug Doppler Radar with 3 hour history
We also recently embedded Google Street View in Smallworld to give users that view of the world. Come see a demo of this new functionality.

We have customers that use the aerial/satellite imagery to digitize buildings and other facilities into their database.
We have customers that have permanently turned off their legacy landbase datasets and are using WMC exclusively to provide their land basemap.
WMC is product-agnostic and works equally well in PowerOn, PNI, Electric/Gas Office and all manner of custom CST environments.

Let WMC get you out of the landbase maintenance business and let you focus on your company's core business.

You can find out more about Web Maps Connector here.

Linking Smallworld With a True "Killer App"
At this conference you will likely see more than a few applications that show Smallworld maps on mobile devices. I think that is very cool. But what we would like to show you is how you can integrate your Smallworld data and processes with two of the all-time killer apps already out there: voice and SMS. It doesn't sound nearly as exciting as mobile apps, but when you have finished our interactive demo, you will see these true "killer apps" in a new light.

Scenario#1. Your field technician wants to attach a picture or a voice recording to an existing work order or service point in Smallworld, we can show you how he can do it without having any special software on his phone. And the image and voice attachments are available to the back-office Smallworld users within seconds of the technician sending them from the field. All without any complex configurations on your part.

Scenario#2. You have a storm situation and many out-of-state crews have arrived to help you restore power. You cannot deploy mobile data terminals to these crews but still want some type of automated tracking of crew statuses. See our demo for how you can use some paper and SMS/Voice-based technologies coupled with Smallworld applications to get the visiting crews hooked into your automated work flow with minimal cost.

Scenario#3. Your utility hasn't introduced automated meter reading yet and you are looking for a way to reduce meter reading costs. See our demo that shows how you can engage your customers using SMS text messages and have them assist you with some of the meter reads. Bring your phone with you and be part of the SMS/Voice demo.

HTML Rendering and JavaScript Support in Magik
Magik does not support HTML rendering or JavaScript support... but iFactor does! Based on some crazy skunk works R&D we are doing at iFactor Consulting, we can now show you an early release of our yet-to-be-named HTML rendering and JavaScript engine framework for Magik. Many years from now you can tell your children that you saw it here first!

FME Server Lite
I put this in here to see if the FME folks would read this far in the article :) There is no FME Server Lite. But I have been starting to dabble with node.js and various queuing technologies and it seems to me that it could be coupled with an existing FME Desktop session to give you a kind of poor man's FME Server. Come by to talk about new technologies and how you can use them to improve your Smallworld experience.

OK, now that I've written this post, I realize we have a ton of stuff to show you. So come early to get the best seats. And if you spend the entire day at our booth, that's OK.

Remember to tag your conference-related tweets with #swuc. I think Mark at FCSI might be offering some incentives for the person with the most #swuc tweets. I'm thinking we can exceed the 10+ tweets that were generated at last year's conference :)