Sesame Associates of New England Users' Group
in association with the
We talk Q&A here too!
|Meeting dates for 2010 have been confirmed.|
|They will be Feb 6, May 1, August 7, and November 6.|
|Mark your calendars now.|
|The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday,
May 2, 2009.
at the Kelley Public Library in Salem NH.
We will have the meeting room from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
|Meetings were held in August and November 2008, and February 2009.
But I just did not make the time to fill in any information..
Sorry about that.
|The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday,
May 3, 2008.
at the Kelley Public Library in Salem NH.
We will have the meeting room from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
|Meetings were held in November 2007, and February 2008.
But I just did not make the time to fill in any information..
Sorry about that.
|The August 4 2007 meeting was held.
This was the first meeting since the availability of Sesame Version 2.0.
Four of us attended the National Conference, and others also now have copies of the latest version.
We got to discuss all of the new Version 2.0 functions.
Our May 2007 meeting was held and
we discussed different ways of using menus, making sub forms and
discussing some topics from the forum. It looks like about six of
us may be atending the National Users Conference in June.
Our February 2007 meeting was held on the day after our first snowstorm of this winter.
But we still had some users come from Connecticut despite the weather.
(We really only had about 3" here, nothing to be concerned about).
At the meeting this month we had solutions for everyone's problems.
We dealt with the best way to navigate between Parent records and Child records,
and the understanding of the focus with respect to the navigation record counters.
We showed how we can have multiple forms for the same database,
and discussed the issues of what records are in the Database Manager,
and which ones are in the Designer.
That included what happens to records when you reconcile and
when you make a designer from a database.
We looked at a database that included three Q&A databases that were
translated and merged into on Sesame application.
The problem now was how to modify the design so that many of the fields could be
converted into a new database to be a subform of one of the existing parent forms.
There was discussion about the ability to "prune" the
Sesame Menu Tree by hiding some branches with @HideTreeItem, and by
renaming some of them with @RelabelTreeItem commands.
Also mentioned was the undocumented technique to change fonts on each
tree branch, as demonstrated at the last National Users Group meeting.
We came up wth solutions for taking two different existing Q&A application
databases and the best way to translate that into Sesame applications,
taking pages 2-7 and making those data fields as fields in a database
that would be a subform of the database made from fields on page 1.
We concluded with a group lunch at a sub shop that was different from
the one we have usually gone to in the past. The consensus was that
this newer place had much better bread for their sandwiches,
and the tables were preferred to the booths at the older place.
So this will probably becoume our "regular" lunch stop.
We are also talked about the forum message that Sesame version 2.0
is planned for release "sometime in June" at the National Users Conference,
at some unknown location.
Someone had speculated that St. Louis would be the site,
but no one knows.
We think it's time for a New England location.
See you all again on May 5.
Our November 2006 meeting, had no fixed agenda,
but we did spend some time discussing various methods
of creating Key Word Reports.
These reports are not carried forward from Q&A.
Recent forum discussions brought that fact to the surface,
resulting in some solutions.
As usual, all topics are up for discussion, and the main purpose
will be to solve problems for Sesame users.
Sesame was recently listed on the download board for Cnet.
All users are encouraged to submit their own personal reviews.
Information is available at
Sesame Download from Cnet
A lot got accomplished at our August 2006 meeting.
In addition to the "regulars" we also had some new faces.
We looked at various methods of creating menus.
We were also able to solve some problems that were brought to the
meeting where everyone was able to make contributions.
And, as usual, we walked away with some more questions,
new tools in our arsenal, and more respect for the power of Sesame.
The November 5, 2005 meting was held the week after the 2nd Annual Sesame Users Conference held on October 28 and 29 in Las Vegas..
This gave us the opportunity for those who went to share their new knowledge with others who were unable to attend in Vegas.
We have no Internet access in this meeting room, but consideration is being given to try to create some type of Web Conference Meeting in the future. Stay tuned here for more information.
The August 6 2005 meeting has been canceled due to space not being available at the library. Hoped until the last moment that we could still meet, but had to accept it finally. See you again in November, right after the October National Users Conference.
Getting to the library is very simple. Take Route 93 to exit 2. Bear right off the exit ramp and head East on Main Street, Route 97. You will intersect with Route 28 at about .6 miles. Continue straight across and proceed another .7 miles. Just as you approach the traffic signal, the Kelley Library is on the right side. Use the right hand rear entrance on the lower level and you will be at the conference room. We have over 80 people on our invitation list.
We are now in SANE
November 6, 2004:
Held our quarterly meeting, our first meeting since the National Users Conference. We covered many items. The following items are some of the things we covered.
(11/14/04: Comments in BOLD RED are for subsequent feedback from Ray Yoxall of Lantica who provided some clarification for some of our issues). Thanks to Ray for reading this and providing the feedback.
1. First topic, agreed on by all, was the need to see 1.1 ASAP. Problems that are waiting to be resolved result in a response that "You can do that in 1.1", or "That doesn't happen in 1.1." But the words have not been a real solution. It seemed that a lot of development work is being put on hold, waiting for Version 1.1. Mention was made about loss of business because of delays in release of this new version.
2. We showed how subforms in a Table View can be created on Tabs. Discussed the differences between a subform in a Table View, and a Table View of the underlying database. Discussed the need to be able to apply names to TabPages vs. having them assigned a non-changeable name based on sequence they were created. We all agreed that using Tabs will eliminate the use of Scroll Bars, but to do that effectively we want to be able to reference the TabPages in programming statements, but need a more developer-friendly name reference.
3. We were all surprised with "strange" positioning and text when looking at a TableView of a subform. Then we realized that what we were looking at was StaticText fields that were showing up below the Table. So we determined that if you are planning on using a form in TableView, you may need to eliminate Static Text/Images. We understand that images on subforms can be made "Not Visible" in Version 1.1, so maybe that will be a work-around. In the meantime, it may require multiple forms with same duplication of elements to prevent Static types of elements from causing strange appearences. Ray: "That (using version 1.0.0) is likely to be the cause of it because I have tested it here in 1.0.4 and not seen any oddities like you mentioned". This problem was happening in an application that was still in version 1.0.0. Cannot duplicate the problem in Version 1.0.4. See item 5 below!
4. We spent some time trying to understand how Test Program can result with no errors, but can still result with the message "Part of program did not compile" when opening up the Application in the runtime Sesame Database Manager. Suspected functions included @Ditto(BadElementNames), "quoted" sections within XLU types of functions, GoTo BadElementNames. Final determination appeared to be use of GoTo BadElementName in conjunction with If/Else commands. Some final analysis of this is still to be done. Ray: "A GoTo statement with a improper element name will not compile with Test Program. Ghosted Elements, elements on the canvas, are going to be the major culprits of this error. Other culprits include GoTo statements that reference the Form name or the Name of a Subform element. If you type GoTo ElementThatDoesNotExist in the program editor and go to test the program, you will get an error". Subsequent tests suggest that the DB file may not have been reconciled after the BadElementNames were changed to GoodElementNames. Have been unable to duplicate the problem we saw.
5. We also found that looking at problems using Version 1.0.0 was probably not a good use of time. Agreed that we should all be using current Version 1.0.4 before we decided that a real problem existed. See item 3 above!
6. We went through a process of determining the meaning of a message like "A reserved word has been used on a form". What does that mean, how do we determine where the problem is, and how to make a permanent fix. We ultimately learned that the term "Time Element" is a 'Reserved Word". Ray: " 'Time Element' is a reserved keyword because it starts with the word Time which is a reserved keyword. The list of reserved keywords can be found on pages 245-247 of the Sesame Programming Guide. Most of them are named that way for backwards compatibility with Q&A". Important to read the list of reserved words.
7. There was broad agreement that starting from scratch in Sesame was frequently more productive than doing a translation. That cannot be construed as a firm rule, but should be given heavy consideration when deciding how to convert a Q&A database.
8. Found that multi-page Q&A databases that are translated result in form sizes that can be increased in size, but cannot be reduced in size. This appears to be true even if elements are removed from the lower section. Changing the values of Width, Height in the Element Editor only reacts to larger dimensions, not smaller. Ray: "The form can be made smaller but first the Q&A Drawing characters must be removed from the form. More than likely the database has Q&A drawing characters even if none show up or appear overly obvious. I have seen this multiple times with customer databases, and it has always been either the drawing characters or a element on the edge of the form. If you right-click on the form in Sesame and the choice to delete Q&A drawing characters appears, than there are some". Subsequent test on original database did confirm Ray's input.
9. There were discussions about many "Lantica business" items. Should we be making long term commitments to Sesame? How many installations exist? How solvent is Lantica? What is their business model for future revenue stream? Risks of limited number of experienced SBasic developers at Lantica. Tradeoff of effort to learn SBasic vs. learning Visual Basic instead. Future movements of business operating systems to Linux vs. Windows. Inability of Sesame to run on Novell Servers. Would like to see Sesame use ODBC to link to data in other database applications, making Sesame the primary working database vs. having other applications link to Sesame. When will Sesame be targeted to non-Q&A Users - if not mature enough for them, why is is considered mature enough for Q&A users? When will general public be reading reviews of Sesame in common trade publications like PC Magazine? What will future Training Sessions cost - what format? -Regional locations, One central location, Web Casts? Ray: "From Marketing: Sesame is being targeted to Non-Q&A users. We make sure the documentation does not contain references that only Q&A users would understand. We run Google ads that are targeted at general database product users. We issue press releases that are targeted towards Small Office or Home Office users not just old Q&A users".
We took no break for lunch at noon. Instead we just continued non-stop and finally shut down sometime after 2pm. Then we went out to finish our discussions at a local sub shop before heading home.
November 1, 2004:
Waiting for Release 1.1, formerly known as 1.0.5
Notes from the Sesame Users Conference, held in Baltimore 9/30/04-10/3/04:
The following information is a copy of summaries that were provided by Bob Scott. Thanks to him for these great write-ups.
October 2, 2004:
A few forum users E-mailed me and asked what was going on at the conference so here is my biased editorial and update to those forum users not fortunate enough to be at the conference.
Cliff Sobin started us off with a welcome and a little history on the journey of Sesame. He also did a great job of keeping us on schedule throughout the day. Cliff (being a Lawyer) should be easy to dislike, however he is actually a charming and very disarming fellow. (Ahh so that's how those lawyers do it)
We got to see a number of terrific presentations. Gordon Meigs did a fine job covering Translating a QA databases, He pointed out numerous things to do to make a smoother translation.
John Mclaughlin gave 2 wonderful presentations the first covering form design the second on basic report design. As much as I have used sesame he was still able to teach me something new!
Alec Mulvey from England gave an informative, witty and very enjoyable 2 part presentation on using your Sesame Application. Alec shared with us many useful ideas and covered data retrieval tips and techniques in detail.
Erika Yoxall introduced basic Sesame programming techniques using a Sesame application designed specifically for a carpet business. Erika has the unique ability to be informative while also making it fun. There is nothing better then learning great programming techniques and feeling like you had fun doing it. This Gal knows her stuff and shares her knowledge freely.
The day ended with Bill Halpern giving a quick demonstration of a working invoicing application that was complete with monthly reports and the ability to generate (print) a multi page invoice (if needed) with a colored logo. This application was designed by Ray Yoxall (Ray the Reaper to us forum users) He did a magnificent job. This app is something to see! Bill gave out a CD with a beta version of Sesame 1.05, Rays application (Named Sesame Seasons) and files relating to the days presentations.
Version 1.05 has many improvements and new features (too many to list now) and performed flawlessly throughout all the presentations today. There are others Like Tom (Inside Sesame) Ray (Sesame Tech Support) and Jay (Sesame Sales) that were handling the necessary logistical matters.
Thanks to all (and anyone I might have left out) for making Day 1 a great day.
October 4, 2004:
I just wanted to say how nice it was to meet so many other Sesame users. I enjoyed meeting, talking, sharing ideas and learning from them. It was really interesting to see the many different ways that Sesame is being implemented.
I saw demonstrations that showed me that I could use Sesame many different ways to accomplish my desired tasks. I the user-developer can choose the level of complexity that is correct for me. I can start using many QA like features with a small amount of effort or I can use the powerful programming language that is built into Sesame to create applications that are made up of my wildest dreams and expectations.
On the final day Sunday (with brain overload from all the incredible knowledge from the previous 2 days) I was wowed once more.
Tom Marcellus (of Inside Sesame) gave us almost 3hrs of advanced printing techniques. Every time you thought you had seen every possible way you can print from Sesame Tom showed us 1 more.
Bill Halpern demonstrated creating an entirely custom menu system with the use of just a few commands. It is interesting to see how Bill gets Sesame to do lots of things quickly with the use of the standard features found in Sesame. His techniques are a perfect example of how powerful applications can be created for the user-developer designing applications for there own use with little to no experience. He chooses to use the minimal amount of advanced program techniques to achieve his goals.
And to finish the day Erika Yoxall taught us how to create advanced reports. The funny thing is I had the least desire of everything shown this weekend to see this section. I constantly heard (and unfortunately probably echoed) that Reports are the weakest part of Sesame, Talk about being 360 degrees off. As it turns out Reports is super powerful. Erika showed us how we can create reports easily that can have multiple reports on 1 page. She showed us how we can immediately E-mail the report to others and how that same report can be instantly brought into excel for any accounting need (now those strange requests from the accounting department can be handled by the accounting people themselves) Erika showed us how we can add pop-up calendars to our reports for user date selections, how to have drill down features within our reports and most importantly how to have a report interact with the user. She showed us so many incredible things it would take an entire issue of Inside Sesame to even scratch the surface. The bottom line is we can choose to use basic reporting features or we can choose to use the Sbasic language we use in Sesame to program a report as sophisticated as we would like it to be.
What I am trying to say is that Sesame reporting mechanism is robust and powerful and after seeing how valuable the use of the HTML code that the reports are generated in is I need to open my mind a little and try using it more instead of just comparing it to the report mechanisms I know.
There was also the question asked from Lantica:
If they were to offer a classroom style (not demonstrations, actual training sessions) teaching of Sesame or Sbasic would we be interested in something like this.
The biggest question I heard from other users all weekend at the conference was were can I learn Sesame or Sbasic is there a book on Sesame or Sbasic. These classes would fill that void so e-mail or call Lantica and let them know how you feel. If enough of us show interest maybe we will get what we wish for.
Finally I want to just say thanks to the entire Lantica team and all the other users that helped to make this a great and informative weekend for me.
P.S. A big thanks to Mark Lasersohn (The Cow) We know that he likes to keep a low profile and stay out of the spotlight but we also know that none of the presentations we saw would have been possible without the little magical features he has and continues to make available to us under the hood (or bonnet ) of Sesame.
August 19, 2004:
We spent the whole day inSANE just covering the first two items:
1. Should I translate my Q&A database, just build in Sesame directly?
2. If I do translate, what steps do I need to take?
Probably did them in reverse order. We covered the steps to take in Q&A before opening Sesame to translate. Then used that information as a basis to determine if translating or building was the best option.
Some issues that came up that might be of interest.
1. Users with Demo version of Sesame were unable to open the applications that were created over 30 days ago. That has been brought up and discussed in the forum on this past Monday after return from the sane meeting. Since some users could not use the apps we were looking at, then we had to crowd around fewer systems when we all wanted look/try the same thing as a group.
2. We discussed naming conventions, and the benefits to come up with a convention first, rename your Q&A databases, and your fields in Q&A before proceeding. Let Q&A do all the renaming needed in the programming vs. needing to go through modules in Sesame Programming Editor.
3. Included in the naming convention discussions was the benefit to name all databases with tbl prefix and to use frm as prefix for forms. This provides for some nice advantages when reviewing syntax, especially in XLU types of commands. That allowed for some common naming conventions to be carried into other applications that might link to Sesame, like Access. (Depends on your own naming conventions). And even though field names are not referenced in Sesame, we saw benefits to using prefixes on fields also. When data is exported to other programs, having the field name included can be helpful in determining intended field type. So we discusses using str, num, dat, tim, bn for strings, numbers(made no distinction for single, double, integers), date, time, boolean, etc. We recognize that this is a personal subject and a standard will never exist.
4. We went through about 75 lines of steps to take in Q&A before starting Sesame translate.
5. Then we went through another 75 lines of things to do within Sesame after the translation.
6. Without exception, everyone gets confused trying to do the Translation in the Designer. After digging around for half hour, finally remember it can't be done there. Need to do in Database Mananger. All feel it was counter-intuitive.
7. Concerns about losing Saved Specs between current database, and Designer database during reconcile and timing needed to control that. (Discussed in earlier forum subjects).
8. Some time was spent where I demonstrated the use of a third party utility program I am working to create. This functions as Sesame editor with syntax highlighting, Search/Replace (using Regular Expressions as an option), a point/select/click insertion of Sesame commands with user friendly syntax already embedded, entire blocks of code can be here from a library Sesame Code that the user can create, the ability to replace new names of field elements in all program modules of the application at once (no need to open up each section in Sesame and Search/Replace one at a time)Has no ability to check syntax errors at this time, will need to do that in Sesame.
9. Discussed the frustration of using correct terms for application, databases, fields, layout elements, etc. It is constantly misused on the forum, in Inside Sesame, in various documentation sections. Really need to work hard trying to force one another to use the correct terms. Especially a problem when talking with each other!
Translate/Build from scratch? It will always be a personal, individual call. But we seemed to conclude that it might be easiest to created the database and form designs from scratch with predefined naming conventions that match the names that are changed in Q&A. Then import the data, maybe multiple groups due to new structures of databases, then import/cut/paste the programming into the program editor after exporting it out of Q&A into some type of text editor.
We wanted to test importing programming but ran out of time. We never got to discuss the other items on the proposed agenda either:
3. Potential problems when doing Reconicle from Designer to Database
4. Can menus be made to replace the "Tree"s on the left?
5. Relational vs. "Natural" (hierarchal) designs choices.
We traded copies of applications and various documentation, hints/help that had been collected from various sources. Copied all the files onto one CD and passed it around to load on laptops that some people brought with them. (Everyone swore they were virus free, heh, heh). That included many of the technical web pages on Lantica site and a translation of Q&Answerman that I had done into Sesame.
At least three of us will be attending Users Conference in Baltimore. I hope to have a version of my Sesame Editor alternative available at that time. Got good feedback from sane meeting last week.
Feel free to join us at our next SANE meeting on November 6, just one month after the Users Conference.
June 8, 2004: Sesame release 1.04 is now available for download. May 15, 2004:
We had our quarterly meeting and had our really first session where people had actually had some hands on experiences. There is still a lot of adjustment that we are all going through because we keep comparing Sesame to Q&A. But I think we are now getting better at using the correct terminology and have a better understanding of how the new features and tools work.
Some sample applications were reviewed, critiqued, and applauded. We are hoping that the meeting in August will provide some more new Sesame work that we can all learn from. It may be possible that this site may contain some downloadable Sesame applications and tools in the future.
April 7, 2004: Sesame release 1.03 is now available for download. March 19, 2004: Sesame release 1.02 is now available for download. January 31, 2004:
We had our quarterly meeting and created a new group, SANE.
Sesame Associates of New England is proud to announce that we are the first local Users' Group for Sesame.. Thanks to all who submitted suggestions, but the final name that was chosen was suggested by Alec Mulvey.
We started at 9:30, and got thrown out at 4:30. We were so engrossed that we never broke for lunch, never took a break, never noticed the clock. But we were having fun and we learned a lot!
Watch this space for more details about our first meeting and and our group experiences using Sesame.
January 26, 2004: Sesame release 1.01 is now available for download. December 16, 2003:
Sesame has been released!
See details at: http://www.lantica.com
Free Demo download is available at: http://www.lantica.com/Support/Downloads.html
See you in January with finished applications, right?
April 24, 2003:
Beta testing continues on Sesame. I have just received the third version of the Beta software. Each version has been adding new capabilities and responding to inputs from earlier versions. It is greatly improved from the first version. we can now convert existing Q&A databases. We can do Mass Updates, Import and Export, Save Specs. The number of new functions is too many to try to list. These may sound basic, but were not available with the first version.
Again, I am hoping that a number of other beta testers will show up at our next meeting and we can share some of our experiences that will not break any confidences.
November 2, 2002:
I have had the opportunity to be participating in the beta testing of Sesame since last July. Because of a confidentiality agreement, it is not possible to discuss any details, but I can state that the process is being done very methodically. Individual modules are being tested independently to maximize the focus on quality and ease or use.
I have participated in beta testing on a number of other programs, and I am pleased with the interface and response and follow-up that has been happening.
I am hoping that a number of other beta testers may show up at our next meeting and we can share some of our experiences that will not break any confidences.
The following section is a write up that I submitted to the delphi Lantica Forum on Dec 10, 2001. I have seen it, and am willing to be patient.
Sesame looks great! Do not think it is vaporware!
On November 3, 2001, the members of the Q&A New England Regional Users Group (QANERUG) were treated to a real time demo of the Sesame product. And we were not disappointed with what we saw.
We have to thank Bill, Erika, Mark, and Alec who all came to New Hampshire to share this with us. Alec was up bright and cheery as usual after a 12 hour, 650 mile drive. We had a room with about 16 people crowded around two laptops, two pc monitors, and a TV monitor connected with some creative uses of pcAnyWhere and PC-to-TV connections.
At no time during the 5 hour demo did we see any failures of the software. We did not hear "we're still working on that", or "this doesn't work yet". We saw working modules that still needed integration. I understand that integrating can be the toughest portion for testing, but I am happy to see where they are.
It has been a long wait, but we were all extremely happy with what we saw. We saw too much to remember and list, but I will try to point out some of those most memorable. I will try to reference comparisons to Q&A and to Access equivalents:
1. Real time conversion from a Q&A database into the Sesame product in 10 seconds! Highlight Q&A source, Click, and start using Sesame. The individual Q&A databases are combined into tree branches (similar to Access tables) in a single container (Access database).
2. Designing a form takes the best from Q&A and the best from Access. You can place objects on your form directly, resizing, formatting, etc. like you can in Access, but as you do this, the object or field is created immediately like it is in Q&A. You do not need to create the object before adding it to the form.
3. One to Many relations are created automatically by using a Hierarchy Tree vs. a flat file (Q&A) or a relational (Access). This simplifies the whole process of doing lookups to other databases (Q&A) or tables (Access).
4. The Lookup Tables in Q&A were extracted and made into separate branches and no programming was needed to make the linkages to the Lookup Tables data, happened automatically.
5. Unlimited views of the data are possible.
6. Many views, Retrieve Specs, Sort Specs, etc. can be unique for each user of the same database. Mary and Bill can appear to have totally different applications and tools, but are really working with the same data source.
7. Retrieving records with complicated conditions is simplified by the use of subsets that allow additional retrievals. This simplifies the Q&A process of using CTL-F7 (Do/DoNOt...All/Any), and overcomes the Access/SQL process of impossible and/or sequential "join"s.
8. Easy manipulation of fonts, formats, and colors on the forms. Ability to do multiple tagging of objects vs. line-by-line.
9. All of the old Q&A formulas, retrieve specs, etc. have not changed. There is no need to learn a new language. You can even have it look like Q&A if you don't want to use any of the newer features.
10. The only drawback that I saw missing is good macro tools to help in the automation of routines. I understand that this may not be available in the first product release.
I think that biggest obstacle that we will be up against is the data model. Q&A users are used to the flat file model and lookups. Access users are used to the relational model and keyword links. Sesame uses the Hierarchal Tree model that is gaining popularity. But for most users, this should not be a problem, because the majority of designs use a One-To-Many and One-To-One structures that the Tree model creates automatically. For more complex needs, users may still need some developers to help create the right model to support Many-To-One and Many-To-Many structures. The nice thing is that Sesame provides the capability to do more complex work where needed, but eliminates a lot of work for the most common needs.
At this point, we could see that most of the modules of Sesame were working. It appears that the current stage of the project is at the integration of the modules. Development was happening the same days we were getting the demo, Erika and Mark were using every available moment to work toward the completion of the product.
Although it is still not ready for any distribution, we were happy to see that the philosophy is to release a product that is as close to "bug-free" that any product can be. I for one, do not want to see another release like Q&A for Windows.
So I am looking forward to Sesame, and will be working with my clients to continue to be patient. And again, I would like to thank Bill, Erika, Mark, and Eric for making a presentation to QANERUG. We are wishing them success so we can ride on their coattails. This presentation is incentive for us to keep holding our quarterly meetings.
Hang in there, you won't be disappointed.
More information about "SESAME" can be obtained by going to the information pages on the Lantica web page.
Also visit the forum discussions that are taking place at on the Sesame Forum web page.
A link is provided here to assist with Q&A to Sesame Export Conversion process.
For more information
Bob Hansen at
SENSIBLE SOLUTIONS INC.
215 South Broadway, Unit #308
Salem, NH 03079