The first day of the Progress User Conference 2009 is behind me, and there were some interesting, some not so interesting sessions I attended.

The Opening Session went largely past me: I had to switch around windows a bit which caused me to restart the session a few times, and then a production issue took me away from my desk for a while. I intend to go back and look at it some time next week.

The first break-out session looked interesting: “Transparent Data Encryption”. This session described an add-on product to encrypt the whole or parts of the database. I can see some problems with the implementation, mainly that data is stored in memory unencrypted, which was a recent security issue I heard (can’t remember what the product was - I think it was Acrobat?). For the rest it looks interesting, albeit not very flashy.

After that came “Introducing OpenEdge Explorer”. It allows the same functionalities as Progress Explorer, but can be run from a web browser - thereby allowing multiple platforms. Similar to Progress Explorer, OpenEdge Explorer allows you to manage multiple machines and multiple products from one interface. OpenEdge explorer adds a few extras, like a log file viewer in the browser. The interface is similar to OpenEdge Management.

The last session before the break I followed was “Optimizing OpenEdge Performance in VMware ESX”. John Harlow from BravePoint described what VMWare is, and in what situations OpenEdge could be virtualized. He went into some detail on what memory settings are best, what are the adventages and disadvantages of more memory and CPUs, and what disk system should be used. Very informative.

After the break I switched channels and went to the UI flexibility track. “Serializing ProDataSets to JSON” describes the new features in OpenEdge 10.2B to convert to and from JSON objects with one or two statements. This makes Progress a more flexible server for WebServices.

“RIA in Perspective” describes the various Rich Internet Application interfaces, and which interface is most appropriate in what situations. Distinctions made are in user knowledge level, user interface and footprint. The options are combined in a RIA User Interface Decision Tree, available in the Progress Community website.

The last session for the day was “Implementing RIA and OpenEdge”. Dustin Grau from BravePoint describes what tools he uses to create RIAs, and showed several components. Unfortunately at that point I had the presentation slide maximized (the interface for the online conference contains a video screen which most of the time shows the presenter’s face, and a second area that displays the slide show), and missed most of the live demo. Another one on the list of presentations to view later.

All in all an interesting day, with some research subjects. I want to go back to two sessions to see them in their entirety, and two sessions I wasn’t able to attend (“Introducing OpenEdge GUI for .NET” and “Tales from The Trenches: Using the OpenEdge GUI for .NET”). I’m looking forward to Day 2, where I’ll be attending some sessions on productive development and distributed development.