Panorama X Frequently Asked Questions


         1. What were the goals of the Panorama X project? Why rewrite from scratch?
         2. What's the best way to get Panorama X news?
         3. What is the minimum operating system version required for Panorama X?
         4. Will Panorama X be available for iOS, Windows, or Android?
         5. Can Panorama X open my Panorama 6 databases?
         6. Can Panorama 6 open a Panorama X database?
         7. Will the forms and programs I created in Panorama 6 still work?
         8. Can I use Panorama 6 and Panorama X on the same computer?
         9. Can Panorama X clients work with a Panorama 6 server? or the reverse?
         10. Is Panorama X easy to install?
         11. I'm used to Panorama 6. Will Panorama X be easy to learn?
         12. Can I still use "Classic" menus and dialogs?
         13. When will the final version be ready?
         14. Can I get Panorama X now?
         15. Is Panorama X faster than Panorama 6?
         16. What does Unicode support mean?
         17. Why won't Panorama X run on OS X 10.6?
         18. Why wasn't Panorama X written in Swift?
         19. How much does Panorama X cost?
         20. How much will future upgrades cost?
         21. Do the Zip+Spell and Enhanced Image Pack still need to be purchased separately?
         22. Are we talking about a subscription?
         23. What is a Panorama X Account?
         24. Do I still need a special license to use Panorama on multiple computers?
         25. Can I lock databases to my account?
         26. Can different users on my account have different privileges?
         27. What if a computer is lost or stolen?
         28. Do I need to contact ProVUE to make changes to my account?
         29. Can I use Panorama X without an Internet connection?
         30. What are ProVUE's privacy policies?
         31. Can I be locked out of my databases if I haven't made a payment?
         32. Will Panorama X warn me in advance that a payment will be due?
         33. How much is Panorama X Server?
         34. How much is Panorama X Direct?
         35. Can I build a standalone application based on Panorama?
         36. How much are upgrades from earlier versions of Panorama?
         37. Do I keep the same serial number from Panorama 6?

  • 1. What were the goals of the Panorama X project? Why rewrite from scratch?
    For the past 28 years ProVUE has upgraded Panorama ten times, but all of those updates have been incremental, built on the same original technology. When we started in 1986, Mac's were 24 bit, black and white, and used ASCII text. We've managed to bend that technology a very very long way, but there is only so far that can be bent. Panorama 6 doesn't look or operate like a modern application, limiting its popularity. Even more alarming, compiling Panorama 6 produces several thousand warnings about using deprecated API's. Every June we've held our breath to see if Panorama will still run on the latest version of OS X. So far, so good, but that run can't last forever.

    So we set ourselves a goal: to take all the great parts of Panorama, the RAM based speed, the flexibility and programmability — everything you love — and re-implement them using the latest technology and a modern user interface design. Since Panorama 6 contains about a half million lines of source code, this was a daunting task. Still, we hoped that with modern tools it could be done in less than four years. At just over 4 years, we're over 90% there, so our estimate was pretty close. (Honestly, we were hoping for 3 years, but that just wasn't realistic.)

    Panorama X jettisons all of the old technology in Panorama 6. The compile is completely clean — no errors, no warnings. We're more than ready for macOS Sierra, and whatever comes beyond (ARM processors?). It's been a huge investment for ProVUE, an investment that covers your investment in the databases that have been running your business for years and decades. Now you can be confident that Panorama will continue to get the job done for you for decades to come.

    James Rea
    President, ProVUE Development

    Back to top

  • 2. What's the best way to get Panorama X news?
    Visit the Panorama Discussion Forum. No signup is needed to read, and if you'd like to post your own questions, signup is free and painless.

    Back to top

  • 3. What is the minimum operating system version required for Panorama X?
    Panorama X requires OS X 10.9 or later (and runs fine on macOS Sierra).

    Back to top

  • 4. Will Panorama X be available for iOS, Windows, or Android?
    Since Panorama X is written in Objective-C, the foundation is in place to make it available on iOS, and we plan to do that once the OS X version is complete.

    Objective-C is not currently available on Windows. In recent years, sales to Windows customers have been less than 5% of total Panorama sales, so we have decided to concentrate on making a kick-ass Macintosh product rather than diluting our resources and/or making a compromised cross-platform product. Microsoft has announced that Objective-C will be included in Windows 10, so depending on demand and technology considerations we may revisit this decision in the future, but at this time we are concentrating on Apple devices.

    For technical and marketing reasons, we are not planning support for Android devices.

    Back to top

  • 5. Can Panorama X open my Panorama 6 databases?
    Absolutely. Panorama X can open any database saved with Panorama 6 on an Intel platform (Mac or Windows). Databases from Panorama for Mac 5.5 or earlier, or from a PowerPC computer, must be opened and saved using Panorama 6.0 on an Intel based computer before they can be opened with Panorama X.

    Note: When Panorama X imports a Panorama 6 database, it makes a copy (the copy will have the extension .pandb). The original Panorama 6 database is never touched.

    Back to top

  • 6. Can Panorama 6 open a Panorama X database?
    Sorry, but no. Panorama has used the same file format for 28 years, but that format (designed in 1986) was tied to old technology. To support newer technologies like Unicode, 64 bit, and encryption, a new file format was required. The new format is very flexible, based on Apple's object technology, so we expect to be able to use it for decades into the future.

    Back to top

  • 7. Will the forms and programs I created in Panorama 6 still work?
    Mostly, but if you've used some advanced features of Panorama 6, you may have to do some rework. Based on the technical support questions we get, we think that 80% of all Panorama 6 databases will work perfectly out of the box. About 15% will require minor adjustments, while the remaining 5% will require more major work.

    Back to top

  • 8. Can I use Panorama 6 and Panorama X on the same computer?
    Yes, and you can have both 6 and X running at the same time -- they won't interfere with each other. So if you have one or more databases that need extra work to transition to Panorama X, you can continue to use them on Panorama 6 while working on any necessary reprogramming.

    Back to top

  • 9. Can Panorama X clients work with a Panorama 6 server? or the reverse?
    Because Panorama X uses a different file format, Panorama 6/Panorama X clients and servers cannot be mixed. When you upgrade your server to Panorama X, all clients must be upgraded at the same time.

    Back to top

  • 10. Is Panorama X easy to install?
    Very easy. Unlike Panorama 6, there is no installer — you just download and then drag Panorama X into the Application folder.

    Back to top

  • 11. I'm used to Panorama 6. Will Panorama X be easy to learn?
    We certainly hope so! Many operations are simpler — but that also means different, and something new to learn. For example, in Panorama X the Design Sheet has been eliminated, and changes to field properties are done right in the Data Sheet with an inspector panel. In fact, virtually all modal dialogs have been eliminated and replaced with inspector panels. You'll find that all the concepts are familiar — data sheet, forms, procedures, selection, summary records, report tiles, etc., but with modern, streamlined interfaces. You'll also find old faces in new places — for example programming code can now be placed directly in any field or form object, without needing a separate procedure. Bottom line — don't expect Panorama X to work just like Panorama 6, but it is easy to learn.

    By the way, you can visit the Panorama X Vimeo On Demand page right now to watch hours of instructional video about Panorama X!

    Back to top

  • 12. Can I still use "Classic" menus and dialogs?
    Panorama 6 offered a preference option that allowed you to continue to use Panorama's "classic" menu and dialog arrangements that many of you were used to from Panorama 3, 4, and 5. In Panorama 6 this was pretty easy to do because all of the Panorama 5.5 guts were still there — we just had to give you a switch to turn them back on. Since Panorama X is all new, it doesn't have those old guts inside, and the "classic" option is no longer available. With Panorama X's great new user interface we don't think you'll miss it (and we did bring back some of the "classic" elements that people missed the most.)

    Back to top

  • 13. When will the final version be ready?
    Panorama X is a huge project. It is very difficult to estimate the delivery schedule of a project of this complexity, but we are hoping for an official public release in late fall or winter 2016.

    Back to top

  • 14. Can I get Panorama X now?
    Panorama X is not yet available to the public, but it is available by private invitation. To learn more, see Panorama X Early Access FAQ.

    Back to top

  • 15. Is Panorama X faster than Panorama 6?
    In general, no. We haven't conducted definitive benchmarking yet, but it does appear that in many situations Panorama X is somewhat slower than Panorama 6 on the same machine. We think a lot of this is due to the overhead of working with Unicode text instead of simple ASCII. That said, if you didn't have Panorama 6 to compare it to, Panorama X would be the fastest kid on the block — and, we haven't even started optimizing Panorama X for performance yet. So the jury is still out, but unless there is a big surprise when we start optimizing we aren't expecting to promote Panorama X as a huge performance upgrade.

    Back to top

  • 16. What does Unicode support mean?
    The original Mac used 8-bit ASCII text, meaning that only 256 characters were available (in fact the practical limit was about 220). Panorama 6 retains this restriction to this day.

    OS X uses Unicode text, a system that allows tens of thousands of characters. This is important for many foreign languages, especially Chinese and Japanese, but also Greek, Cyrllic, Hebrew, etc. In Panorama X, all text is stored using Unicode, so Panorama X is world ready. Even if you are strictly US based this is important because the Internet is pretty much all based on Unicode now. Panorama databases also can now include special characters like math symbols, emoji, etc.

    Back to top

  • 17. Why won't Panorama X run on OS X 10.6?
    Some of you are reluctant to upgrade from 10.6 because you still need to use old PowerPC software. We know that this can be a significant barrier to upgrading to a newer version of the OS, so we didn't take dropping 10.6 support lightly (10.7 and 10.8 don't have a similar barrier).

    From a developers point of view, however, there is a gigantic upside to not supporting 10.6. 10.6 was the last version of OS X that required the use of manual reference counting (MRC). Starting with 10.7 automatic reference counting (ARC) became available. Why should you, as a user, care about this? In the past, errors in manual reference counting were by far the largest source of bugs in Objective-C programs, especially crashes. ARC almost completely eliminates this class of error. Using ARC also greatly simplifies code, in our experience reducing programming time by 20% to 40%. Because of these benefits, we decided from the start that Panorama X would not include support for 10.6, which is now 6 years old. With Panorama X, we're looking toward the future.

    Back to top

  • 18. Why wasn't Panorama X written in Swift?
    If you are aware that Swift is the latest and greatest programming language from Apple, you may wonder why we didn't use it. Well, for one thing we had already been working on Panorama X for over 2 years when Swift was announced! Beyond that, it's clear that Swift is not yet ready to tackle a project of the size and complexity of Panorama. We're very impressed with the rapid progress Apple is making with Swift, and it's quite possible that we may eventually include Swift code in Panorama, but for now, Objective-C is still the workhorse of the Apple universe.

    Back to top

  • 19. How much does Panorama X cost?
    Instead of requiring a large up-front payment, Panorama X takes a pay-as-you go approach — approximately $5 to $8 per month of active use. The price varies depending on how many months you purchase in advance — you get the best price if you purchase a block of 60 months (5 years).

    Back to top

  • 20. How much will future upgrades cost?
    Nada. Zip. Zilch. All upgrades are included with your active account, and Panorama X can automatically update itself when new versions are available (either automatically or after your approval).

    Back to top

  • 21. Do the Zip+Spell and Enhanced Image Pack still need to be purchased separately?
    No. Everything is included for one price.

    Back to top

  • 22. Are we talking about a subscription?
    No. You are only billed for months where you use the software for one or more hours. Your Panorama X account does not drain simply from the passage of time. If you only use Panorama X occasionally, your costs will be very low. There is no fixed time period, and no automatic renewals. You are in control at all times.

    Back to top

  • 23. What is a Panorama X Account?
    When you start using Panorama X, you set up an account with an e-mail address and password. There is no serial number or activation code, you simply purchase a block of months for your account and then log in with your e-mail address to unlock Panorama.

    Back to top

  • 24. Do I still need a special license to use Panorama on multiple computers?
    No. A Panorama account can be associated with one computer or a hundred. All you have to do to start using a computer is log on with the e-mail address and password.

    Back to top

  • 25. Can I lock databases to my account?
    Yes. You can restrict a database so that only someone logged on with your account can open it. Imagine the peace of mind of knowing that even if someone gets their hands on your sensitive database, they won't be able to open it. Alternately, you can allow others to open the database, but restrict what they can do (for example prevent them from looking at or modifying your programs).

    Back to top

  • 26. Can different users on my account have different privileges?
    Yes. You can set up three different roles for people using your account: Administrator, Developer, and User. Each role has a different password (all use the same account e-mail address). You can assign custom privileges for each role on a database-by-database basis.

    Back to top

  • 27. What if a computer is lost or stolen?
    The account Administrator can view a list of all computers currently logged in to an account. If necessary, the account Administrator can remotely log off any computer that is logged on to the account. (If Panorama is actually running, the log off will happen within 24 hours, otherwise it will happen the next time Panorama is launched on that computer (assuming, of course, that the computer is connected to the internet.)) Note: You will probably want to change the passwords if you have to remotely log off a computer.

    Back to top

  • 28. Do I need to contact ProVUE to make changes to my account?
    No. The account Administrator can make payments, view payment and usage history, change passwords, and even change the e-mail address of the account or reset the password.

    Back to top

  • 29. Can I use Panorama X without an Internet connection?
    Yes, but not indefinitely. Panorama X needs to periodically contact the ProVUE server to monitor usage and maintain account security. If it can't connect for a while, it won't complain. Eventually, however, Panorama X will politely request that you connect to the Internet. If you decline, it will keep asking periodically until the connection is made. You can continue working between requests. How long is "eventually"? Currently this is set to 16 hours of active use. So if you use Panorama 3 hours a day, you could go 5 days without a connection. If you use Panorama 8 hours a day you would only be able to go 2 days without a connection. Note: This duration is subject to change.

    Back to top

  • 30. What are ProVUE's privacy policies?
    Panorama X doesn't collect any information beyond what is needed to manage your account. No database information is ever transmitted to ProVUE. ProVUE will never sell or rent your personal information to third parties for their use without your consent.

    Back to top

  • 31. Can I be locked out of my databases if I haven't made a payment?
    No. ProVUE will never hold your data hostage. If a payment is due, Panorama X will politely request that you either make the payment if you are the Administrator, or contact the Administrator to make payment. If you decline, it will keep asking periodically until the payment is made. You can continue working between requests. If you no longer wish to use Panorama X this will give you an opportunity to export your data.

    Back to top

  • 32. Will Panorama X warn me in advance that a payment will be due?
    Yes, Panorama does warn you when the account balance is low, and it also allows the administrator to view the account status and history at any time.

    Back to top

  • 33. How much is Panorama X Server?
    Pricing for Panorama X Server has not been determined yet, but it will use the same account system.

    Back to top

  • 34. How much is Panorama X Direct?
    There is no Panorama X Direct.

    Back to top

  • 35. Can I build a standalone application based on Panorama?
    Not yet, but that is one option we are looking into.

    Back to top

  • 36. How much are upgrades from earlier versions of Panorama?
    Because Panorama X uses a completely different pricing scheme, there is no upgrade pricing.

    Back to top

  • 37. Do I keep the same serial number from Panorama 6?
    No. Panorama X does not use serial numbers at all.

    Back to top


ProVUE Development • 18685-A Main Street PMB 356 • Huntington Beach, CA 92648