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The Future of Optigold ISP

Discussion in 'Optigold ISP' started by digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. #1
    The Optigold ISP product is going to be redeveloped from scratch, while I'm not particularly looking forward to it, it will let me drop a lot of the legacy stuff, and have better support for things that were not as prevalent when Optigold was first released (broadband, web hosting, usage based billing, etc.)

    So what I'm looking for is some input from Optigold users on the general direction of it.

    Here are a couple options at this point:

    FileMaker Pro 7

    It's out now, and does some really nice things. The web server is built into FileMaker Server and the web server is truly multi-threaded. Another nice thing about it is 100% of the Optigold ISP client can be web-enabled without needing to redo anything (basically you can move through Optigold on the web, and it looks exactly like it does in the client). SQL, XML, etc. is also handles by the database server (as it should). It's MUCH faster than FileMaker 5.x/6.0. Allows you to do some other things I always wished FileMaker could do (for example, multiple windows with a unique found set per window... you could have have multiple windows on the Customer Info screen, each with a unique found set).

    MySQL + PHP

    This is another option I'm looking at. There really is nothing faster than MySQL for a database engine (think about generating 100,000 invoices in a minute). It's also free, and runs on any platform. The drawback to it is it would be 100% web based, so there may be a couple minor things that are not longer possible.

    Anyway, let me know what anyone thinks...
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  2. Hein

    Hein Active Member

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    #2
    My vote is for the PHP / MySQL option.
    This is, as clients go, the most platform independent solution to my knowledge.
    Filemaker is great, but too many times we heard that Filemaker was the limiting factor.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the product, but I think it could go much further in that direction.

    Kind regards

    Hein
     
    Hein, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  3. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #3
    Also, I should point out that if it does go MySQL+PHP, the PHP source code still will not be included (otherwise we have no control of the licensing).
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  4. l0cke

    l0cke Active Member

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    #4
    I am all for a php/mysql based solution. It would be so much easier to intergrate into our surround systems. Having to pull data from Filemaker into Oracle is not my idea of fun. With the direction our company is heading I would basically have to pull 3/4's of the data from OG to Oracle for accounting/reporting/leasing/etc. It would be so much easier to have access via ODBC. I understand FileMaker has made improvments in this area but it will never be as fast as a sql database.
     
    l0cke, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  5. Hein

    Hein Active Member

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    #5
    That seems logical :)
    But things like lay-out's of invoice, etc. could be done by the by the end-user, as wished, no?
    It's the fact that you could give us some freedom that would be the best part of it, I think.

    Regards

    Hein
     
    Hein, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  6. l0cke

    l0cke Active Member

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    #6
    How would you accomplish this?
     
    l0cke, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  7. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #7
    Yes... some things like invoice layouts, reports, etc. would have source code available. But the core functionality and licensing would not have source code.


    Magic. :) Actually with something like:

    http://www.zend.com/store/products/zend-encoder.php
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  8. rocky

    rocky Guest

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    #8
    I think php is best.
     
    rocky, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  9. l0cke

    l0cke Active Member

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    #9
    Ok, cool. I'm a database guy so as long as I can get at the data I'm happy :)
     
    l0cke, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  10. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #10
    Yeah... tables would be open (of course).
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  11. nanoburn

    nanoburn Peon

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    #11
    If you switched to MySQL+PHP you'd you've this overweight sysadmin doin backflips and praising you....plain and simple
     
    nanoburn, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  12. donet

    donet Peon

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    #12
    We are all for the mySQL/PHP option! However, I am concerned about a few things...

    1) How much will the update cost?
    2) Will ALL data in the existing FMP database be imported (historical billing for the past 5 years, and will canceled accounts count against our license??)
    3) What happens to existing PC / Web Authorize Credit Card processing
    4) Customer 'web interface' setup... A) Can you have a documented template process so we can easily brand the web interface? (For example, you have a stock header.php and footer.php which is enabled by default, but your ‘code’ is put inside a table which we can easily wrap around or B) give us access to the customer, reseller and tech web interface source code so we can modify as we need in order to grow our business?
    5) Will the existing ‘picture’ of the database relationship’s be updated so we can ensure that we do not corrupt the new mySQL databases?
    6) Will you enable easier sharing of ‘open source’ plug in’s? For example, if we develop something using the PDFlib extensions (available within PHP) will we be able to easily plug it in so that we can have nice looking invoices and service records that could be automatically generated using the PDF libraries and e-mailed to the customers.
    7) Will there be plug-in’s for expanding the ticket tracking system, maybe have the customer’s be able to access this data so they can resolve their own issues REPEATE questions?
    8) (More of a feature request.. but if it is going to be done from scratch then….)I'd like a way to tag billing items with the date created and the user name of the person who added them and also the date deleted and name of user who deleted them so we could create better sales reports.

    Last but not least… do not make it has convoluted as Rodopi … It will have to stay as easy to use as it is now, while still advancing our abilities to customize as much as needed.

    We would be more than happy to assist with some beta testing, heck, even alpha testing. You know me… I can give lot’s of feedback ;)
     
    donet, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  13. donet

    donet Peon

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    #13
    Options for OpenSource…

    Shawn, I know and can fully understand wanting to maintain licensing. However, I would bet that the majority of your OptiGold ISP customers have dedicated internet access. I would further wager that many of them have the ability to monitor packets on their network. Given these factors, I would even further wager, that we would not be opposed to a ‘call home’ licensing mode that would allow us to have access to the code. Call it an Enterprise License, partner agreement or whatever legal terms will work for you. But PLEASE, PLEASE think about a way to open your source for others to be able to expand our business. Heck, if you have a Partner type agreement, then we, or Mike (OptiSkins) or whoever would be able to make additional items (at no expense to you) to make your product even better, which would in turn allow you to sell more :) It has the potential to be a win win, however, you do have to release some control and trust (both of which could be handled through legal maneuvers). I am sure over the past few years, you know who the customers are that you can trust. If we could work something out, I am positive we would have no plans on leaving and could even sign a long term agreement on the licensing of the source.. think about the re-occurring income ;) All of the major software vendors have some sort of plan like this…. If they don’t there is most likely an open source version that is catching on…

    What does everyone else think? Am I off base?
     
    donet, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  14. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #14
    Updates are free for life for all Optigold customers.



    Of course.



    Not sure to be honest. It may be possible to have support for it by building a PHP "plug-in" for it.



    Yep... and yes, as much source code will be given as possible.



    Yes, such a redevelopment (wether it be FileMaker 7 or MySQL) will have a completely different table structure.



    Well, not sure there would be a universal plug-in architecture (since PHP scripts/functions do not have a central architecture). But if it goes that route, we will make heavy use of PDF imaging already.



    Not sure about a plug-in system, but it would allow additional functionality.



    Noted.



    That's the plan... keep it simple to use, but still have functional complexity on the backend.
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  15. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #15
    Well considering this is all just theory at this point, it's a bit premature. But yes, I too would like to open source as much as possible. In fact, I would like it to be 100% open source. But from a business standpoint, loosing control of licensing doesn't work. So licensing will not be open source, and probably key underlying functions will be closed source as well (since they would depend on licensing to function).
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  16. ColinR

    ColinR Guest

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    #16
    :confused:
    For small shops starting out under the 100 customer limits are they left behind?

    Thanks.
     
    ColinR, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  17. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #17
    No, there still would be trial versions.
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  18. ColinR

    ColinR Guest

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    #18
    Fully functional like current version up to 100 licenses right? :)
    Here's hoping small shops building their business get the opportuntiy to get at the much needed revenue to grow their business to upgrade. The idea of a fully functional trial version up to 100 is appealing to me and I'm sure countless others who are stumbling onto Digtial and its forums etc.

    Great work.

    Thanks.
     
    ColinR, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  19. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #19
    Yes... it would be the same (free for up to 100 customers).
     
    digitalpoint, Jun 3, 2004 IP
  20. wmol

    wmol Peon

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    #20
    Shawn, my vote goes for the mySQL/PHP route.
     
    wmol, Jun 3, 2004 IP