Visual Basic / ODBC vs. PROVision

Just a note, for anyone looking at a READ ONLY way to custom program their
reports, data exports, etc., and spend considerably less than the $3980 that
Provision costs, plus the $597 annual maintenance fee, and don't want to
deal with database write issues, you may want to consider Visual Basic /

You can purchase a Visual Basic Upgrade if you have Microsoft Office, and it
only costs $250. For the difference between the cost of Progress Provision
and Microsoft Visual Basic, you would have $3500+ to spend on Visual Basic
classes. The MCSD, microsoft certified solutions developer Certification
can be obtained with less than 2500 worth of tests and study materials (and
lots, and lots of study time). I won't know 'till I'm done with it how
great it is, but I'm assuming when I'm done I'll know much more about
windows programming than when I started.

of course, ODBC presents some huge security risks if installed on every
client, so we haven't implemented it yet. the only safe implementation is
to create server applications that take requests and feed certain data to
users, by means of DBF exports. The issue of security alone, and the time
one has to spend devising a solution (as Crystal did, by creating the web
component server), may justify spending $3980 on provision.

If cost wasn't an issue, we would purchase Provision. If my programming
time was billable, we'd probably go with provision. However, it looks like
Visual Basic / ODBC will be the most cost effective solution for our 25 user
vantage implementation.

In the absence of ODBC, for complex reports, such as Indented BOM and
Indented Menu Security (reports that are very difficult and inefficient to
do in crystal or RB), I've created a DBF export in 4GL, and ran visual basic
code to extract the data in the DBF and convert it to indented form, and
save it in excel format. Once ODBC is in the picture, the need for a DBF
export will be pretty much eliminated.

If you want to actually write to the database, Provision is the way to go.
However, if you are just looking for a nice read only view into the database
(custom trackers, complex reports that stretch the capabilities Crystal),
Visual Basic may be well worth looking into. And you may be able to
accomplish everything you're looking for with the version of visual basic
for applications that resides with Microsoft Office, and has since the win
3.1 days.

Visual Basic integrates quite nicely with Crystal Reports, especially if you
have Crystal Reports developer edition.

For all you die hard 4GL'ers out there, I'm by no means implying that Visual
Basic is by any means superior to 4GL. I like 4gl way better for DB
queries, and will continue to use the procedure editor as a tool. Just not
ready to pop 4597 on provision, when I already have the tools in hand for
what I need to do.

So what do y'all think of this approach? Is it more cost effective, or just
a waste of thyme?

Anybody out there who has used Visual Basic, or another language besides 4GL
to play with Vantage data through an ODBC connection?