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March 07, 2011

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Mobility is really matter and give a big role in business.In Helsinki Finland many are asking what is mobility mean for your business and many are saying that it has a lot of mean and matter which now a days very popular.In fact there are some services in Helsinki that focusing on consulting and design of mobile application which many of people seen really good.

There are many commercial applications built on the Clarion language and compiler. In fact the legal industry has several applications developed in Clarion. TopSpeed corporation (the purveyor of Clarion) was founded on a merger of the former Borland Turbo (turbo pascal, etc) team (from the UK) and Clarion Software (from Pompano Beach FL).

Most software architects develop in many languages; choosing a language or compiler is like choosing a tool for a job. The same holds true for Time Matters which was built on a variety of languages, not just Clarion.

Keep in mind, Time Matters has been around over twenty years (since the late 1980's). Arguing over the programming language and compiler is a moot point. It's like Frank said, this is not about a "compiler", it's about an aging software architecture.

--steve

Mark,

Clarion goes back to before vb.net and delphi, way-way back. Those marketing statements are the same they just changed the competing product names over the years. Clarion is a remarkable tool but has also fallen behind the times do to poor marketing on TopSpeeds part.

If you are using TM's performance as a basis for your comparison then you would surely loose the bet Mark. ;) any produt's performance issues, bugs, crashes etc can be directly attributed to its database deign and lack of a well implemented databus. Clarion isn't to blame here.

Clarion. In case you are wondering, "Why Clarion", here is the Topspeed answer to that question.

http://www.clariondeveloper.com/why.pdf

My issue is that they make claims that are not backed up in any way at all other than to say, "it is better because we say it is."

Specifically, how about this paragraph?

"Clarion developers love the Clarion language. It is easy to learn, easy to write, and easy to read.
Concise but clear, simple yet powerful. The Clarion language was designed specifically for writing
Windows business programs. Surprisingly, that makes it unique.
Clarion is the only Windows language with built-in support for database access. It is the only Windows
language with built-in support for printing reports. As amazing as this sounds, Clarion is the only
Windows language with accurate business math. In fact, Clarion arithmetic produces perfect results of
up to 31 decimal digits without introducing rounding errors.
In contrast, Delphi, Visual Basic, and PowerBuilder have no database access commands. None of them
support programmable reports, and all three use floating point arithmetic, which is notorious for lost
arithmetic significance and precision. No wonder Clarion developers would rather fight than switch."

Are you kidding me? Delphi is incredibly fast and I would challenge any Clarion application to beat Delphi in database access speeds, memory management or the tools associated with the effort. There, the gauntlet is thrown, and I'll even challenge Clarion to a VB.NET data access challenge.

Better, because they say it is better?

I say it isn't. Because I said it and because I can prove it.

Mark Deal
Document & Data Solutions, LLC

As a matter of interest since we seem to have the original Time Matters development team on this thread, What Programming Language is Time Matters written in ?

I don't see any value in either Mobile TM or Time Matters Mobility. My contacts, events and to do's are already on my Palm Pre via synch to Outlook Express and then to Palm Pre via Chapura Pocket Mirror. I don't need "realy time" synching via Exchange since I only have one user.

TM10 still suffers two major flaws in my day to day usage. First, it hangs, sometimes for 1 minute or longer, sending or receiving email and sometimes performing other tasks, or outright crashes (or at least I get tired of waiting after a few minutes and kill the process). Secondly, it is too slow to open populated related tabs and bills, search through emails on the email list, etc. Too slow to mean means takes more than a few seconds. My system is very fast and there is no network so that is not it. The code needs to be better optimized.

TM needs to fix these problems. For now, I'm not jumping to the "cloud" applications because 1) they are even slower and 2) no internet, no access.

I'm a long-time Time Matters user and advocate. I am also the progenitor and host of an unofficial Time Matters listserver hosted at http://www.lists.elder-law.com/read/?forum=timematters . I mention all of that just to demonstrate my bona fides and to disclose any real or reasonably imaginable conflicts.

I would chart a middle course between Steve Stockstill and Mark Deal. I watched the webinar, and thought "huh -- that might be useful one day." Why is it not immediately useful? Precisely because I already have my TM calendar and contacts available on my 'droid phone, my iPad and my desktop at home using Microsoft Exchange Server.

What do I want to see in a mobile application in addition to that? Two things: I want the ability to actually bill (not for things I do on the road, but to catch up on the things I didn't get billed completely while sitting at my desk -- and that requires me to have complete access to the billing slips). I also want the ability to manage my Messenger messages (I have hundreds of them, and never have the time to clear out the ones dating back to mid-2008 -- and I could find out about incoming messages on the road and respond to them if I had an interactive Messenger app).

I am not interested in yet another synchronization process to look at Matters or do rudimentary Billing. Nor am I interested in a standalone program to let me look at (but not change) some (but not all) TM records -- just having Contacts and Events on my 'droid is better than that already. But I am interested in where the whole thing is going. So my plan is to watch the players and the developments, and maybe someone will do what I actually want them to do sometime soon.

Meanwhile, Time Matters still makes it possible for me to get work done every day. I'm annoyed that the last three versions have been service releases gussied up to look like more, and that L/N hasn't made the changes/improvements I told them I thought were essential three or four years ago. But the program still helps me and my staff get work out the door.

Robert Fleming
Fleming & Curti, PLC
Tucson, Arizona

As the presenter of the webinar that Steve mentions in his post, I was disappointed to read his review of Time Matters Mobility. As a former LexisNexis employee and current Chief Technology Officer of Advologix—a known competitor of Time Matters—Steve’s viewpoint on the Time Matter’s product is a direct conflict of interest and is highly biased.

In addition, Steve’s company, DataEquity, is the developer of MobileTM, a self-described “SmartPhone portal to your Time Matters data.” I have installed MobileTM on some of our client’s sites and it is a very impressive application, but it is not a mobile application and cannot accomplish many of the things that Time Matters Mobility is destined to provide. MobileTM also does not solve several of the things criticized in Steve’s review of Time Matters Mobility. Steve’s criticism of LexisNexis failure to provide a “courtesy notification” to the CTO of one of their direct competitors seems odd to me as I would be surprised if they made a phone call to Gavel and Gown with the announcement of their product intentions either.

As much as I like HoudiniESQ (and even recommended it last week to a firm), Frank is also a member of the old development team for Time Matters and now produces a competing product as well.

I am a partner in TMTools, LLC which produces a product we developed to solve a problem that LexisNexis development had not yet addressed. Eventually, the issue was addressed but, in my opinion, their solution is not as elegant as the one we produce and we continue to sell copies of TMTools because the tool is better than the one built into Time Matters. When we started the company, my partner and I assumed that we would have a one version opportunity before LexisNexis improved their tool based on their own customer feedback. It turns out that this has not been the case, that LexisNexis has not improved on their solution, and we continue to sell TMTools to solve a problem. We built a better mousetrap.

Wouldn't it be better for all concerned to dance with our wives instead of cutting in on our ex-girlfriends?

MobileTM is a portal, a view, into your Time Matters data. This is entirely different than an interactive web application like Time Matters Mobility and I am positive that Steve is aware of the not so apparent complexities involved in creating an interactive experience to a complex application on a cell phone.

For example, Time Matters is a powerful and flexible fat-client application and was not developed using a web-based technology. It allows users of the application to create triggers which can, for example, fire off chains of events which can create notes, produce documents and add records to other user’s to do lists.

How should LexisNexis reproduce that robust environment on a cell phone? The honest answer is that I believe that LexisNexis has taken the first steps into this process by employing some truly cutting edge technology that will eventually allow this functionality to emerge by utilizing the Microsoft Azure platform. Will this happen overnight? Of course not, but this is the first step of a longer journey.

So let me address some of Steve’s specific points:

• The “kill switch” in Time Matters: Let’s put this into perspective. I would imagine if one of Data Equity’s customers stopped paying for the MobileTM service, they also would not be allowed to continue using the product. Steve’s existing employer, Advologix, and his own company, Data Equity, LLC, are essentially using the same business model LexisNexis is using: You pay to play.

• No Calendaring: This has been a universal complaint from the CIC community and many of our clients. After meeting with several of the product managers at LexisNexis last month, I am convinced that this is not as important to me or our clients for several reasons:

1. Almost all of our clients utilize Microsoft Exchange Server and already synchronize contacts and calendars to their mobile device through the free Time Matters Exchange service. With that said, my biggest complaint is that LexisNexis will not support Exchange Server 2010 until later this year.
2. If our clients are not utilizing Exchange Server then we encourage them to subscribe to MobileTM.
3. Calendaring is scheduled to become available with Time Matters 11 Service Release 1 and is, according to LexisNexis, “coming soon.”
4. If you currently do not have any of these solutions in place, then what are you missing by the addition of contact, matter and billing entries on your mobile device? The answer is that you are gaining some very important data and that the interactive calendar will be available shortly. This is not stagnation, it is a vision toward the future.

• Only 3 record types available: I can see where phone and Time Matters Messenger records would be quite useful as additions to mobility. I’m not quite convinced that outline, mail, web or custom DataTXT records will add very much to the solution. I would expect that we will see many other record types added in the near future.

• Billing Records have to be edited back at the office: In every firm I have ever worked for or consulted with, the monthly billing process is the same: Print pre-bills, review the time and expense entries, edit them where necessary, look for “missing” time and expenses and then print and finalize the bills. In our office, I frequently travel and then have to spend hours of my time at the end of the month reviewing my calendar and email to find those “missing” entries. Mobility is designed to help you capture your time as it occurs, to add the appropriate time and expense entries while sitting in the airport or on a train or in your hotel lobby waiting for a taxi. It is not designed to replace Billing Matters or PCLaw or Tabs or Timeslips and I cannot imagine trying to navigate such an interface on my mobile device.

• Data lists and forms are hard coded without customizations: This is not entirely true and I demonstrated this fact in my presentation. Contact records already have some field matching and include the ability to see all of the relevant information you would expect on a mobile device; contact names, phone numbers, email addresses, physical address etc. I would imagine that we will see the ability to map fields in a similar way in the future as well, but I’m not sure that the idea behind Mobility is to give you Time Matters on a cell phone. We get back to the issue of triggers and customized choices for drop down lists in exchange for the speed of the mobile solution.

In conclusion, I do want to say that I believe that as the technology advances and customer feedback is analyzed we will see a lot more functionality added to the Mobility solution. What has not yet been mentioned publicly is that Mobility utilizes a common API (application programing interface) that will be utilized across many LexisNexis applications, including PCLaw. I, for one, would like to see LexisNexis open up the API to outside developers like myself and Data Equity.

The foundation has been created, and it is built on Microsoft technology. Microsoft has been heavily involved in this solution in order to build a secure and solid foundation which is incredibly scalable and secure. Is it going to be everything to everybody when it is released soon? Of course not, but to suggest that Time Matters is dead because Mobility does not allow you do display 150 fields with drop down lists, triggers, event chains and all of your documents is a little short sighted.

Mark Deal
Director of System Development
Document & Data Solutions, LLC
TMTools, LLC

After lots of hand-wringing, I left Time Matters around v. 9, after being with it since v. 3. It was once great software (Billing Matters not so good) when Bob Butler and the great Data.Txt crew ran things. As I expected, an arrogant and unresponsive Lexis messed it up - even phasing out the pioneering video guides on the website. And killing the World server? Stupid. No worthy mobility platform in the age of the App Store? Foolish. I hear a lot of good people abandoned ship. Oh well. The wages of arrogance.

I can attest to the fact that you were absolutely one of the most passionate and talented developers at Time Matters. This is not conjecture. Any of us that have worked with you at Time Matters would all say the same. Your post has nothing to do with sour grapes. Everyone that worked on Time Matters worked real hard to make it the award winning product it once was.

The ship is listed on its side. Will the new inexperienced crew save her or go down with the ship? The new captain(s) were last seen two years ago on a dinghy rowing for shore.

Frank Rivera CEO
HoudiniESQ

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