I’m doing some research for my presentation at the Colorado REALbasic Summit at the end of September. One of the Reporting tools that I’m excited to take a look at is Valentina Reports. Valentina has been around for a long time in the REALbasic community and I’ve used them in the past for several projects and I’ve more or less kept up-to-date on updates but recently stopped because I hadn’t used it for a long time.
There are a number of things to really like about the Valentina database. It’s fast – there’s no doubt about it. Valentina is truly a relational database (you cannot say that about SQLite or REAL Server) and it comes with a file (single connection) version as well as a server (multiple connections) version. It’s been around a long time in REALbasic and you can use Valentina in a variety of ways including a class-way that is very object oriented. It is also strongly type-cast meaning it won’t let you put a string into an integer field and so on (again SQLite and REAL Server are NOT like this).
There are a number of reasons why I stopped using Valentina but the biggest was bugs. In one of my projects I got caught in a transition between db formats and because of my project deadline I was forced to use beta versions. Which meant, of course, that they’d fix one bug and create another. It was an ugly couple of months and it’s (obviously) left a bad taste in my mouth. And yet I keep coming back for more….
It’s been a few years and I was really hoping that it was a nice stable environment. Alas, I can’t say that it is. I downloaded Valentina Studio 4.2 (their general admin tool) and decided to import my standard SQLite demo database for reporting tool comparisons. Everything started off fine but when using their import wizard and hitting Finish it just goes *poof* (hard crashes) and a standard Apple error dialog comes up.
I suddenly remember why my eye tick comes back when I start working with Valentina. Hard crashes were a common occurrence when I last used Valentina and is still obviously an issue (at least in Studio). When you can’t perform a simple data import using a standard text file it makes you wonder what’s going to happen with your database.
It’s a trust issue, really, because the first experience with the product is the admin tool. Instability in the showcase application (in my opinion), hints at deeper problems in the entire database. Hard crashes are evil, bad things because it means the app quit in an uncontrolled fashion. What happened to your database write just then? Is the data good, bad or in some unknown state? Either way I have a hard time telling a client that things will be okay if it happens to them.
If you are a Valentina and REALbasic user I’d like your opinion. Am I just having a bad day or do you have these same frustrations as well? Have you used the new reporting system? Do you like it or not?