Nebula Research and Development

mv.NET Frequently Asked Questions

 

This FAQ is intended to answer the most common questions. Please contact us if you have questions that are not answered here.

 1.  What is mv.NET?
 2.  How would I use mv.NET?
 3.  What are some examples of what I can do with mv.NET?
 4.  How much does mv.NET cost?
 5.  How many licenses do we need?
 6.  What value-add is provided by Nebula Research and Development?
 7.  Who supports mv.NET?
 8.  What do I need to know to use mv.NET?
 9.  Where do I get training?
10.  How do we get a kick-start for development?
11.  How does the evaluation work?
12.  Which databases can be used with mv.NET?
13.  How does mv.NET connect into my database?
14.  How do I get mv.NET?
15.  How do I install mv.NET?
16.  Can I use mv.NET with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services?
17.  What version(s) of the .NET Framework can be used with mv.NET?
18.  Does it work with Windows Vista?
19.  Why use mv.NET when I can use something like InterCall, UniObjects, UniObjects.NET, the D3 Class Library, or QMClient?
20.  Do I need to buy a connection pooling license for U2?
21.  Does license pooling cheat MV DBMS companies out of license fees?
22.  Does mv.NET work in a 64-bit environment?

Supplemental information is available on the following topics: License types, pooling, license transfers, re-hosting, pricing, shared hosting providers, private virtual servers, and distributed user/developer/server topologies.


What is mv.NET?

mv.NET is a "suite" with three libraries used to make MultiValue databases available to software written using the Microsoft .NET Framework:

  • The Core Objects library is for direct data access in a way that is very familiar to Pick programmers.
  • The Binding Objects library links thick and thin client forms directly to MV data without code. Built-in Ajax components allow UI events to trigger on-form updates without refreshing a web page - and with little or no code.
  • The ADO Objects library provides access to MV data in a way that is familiar to people who use SQL and relational databases.

mv.NET can be used in thick-client (Windows Forms) user interfaces, thin-client browser-based apps using ASP.NET, Web Services, Windows Services, and any other type of program. You can use mv.NET from VB.NET, C# or any of over 30 other languages that are compliant with the .NET Framework. mv.NET can be used to provide data and business rules for Crystal Reports, Microsoft Outlook, website user authentication, or any tools or applications that need to retrieve or process data.
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How would I use mv.NET?

As a developer you would purchase an mv.NET Developer license and then write application code to interface an MV DBMS to external code functions, Web Services, other databases, etc. Of course, using mv.NET for development requires an understanding of .NET development. You can then give or sell your code to end-user sites, or if you are writing components you can give or sell them to other developers.

As a Value-Add Reseller you can add functionality to your own applications using mv.NET, then provide this functionality to your end-user clients, for fee or for free as you wish. You can do the development for this added functionality as above, or you can commission someone else (perhaps Nebula R&D) to write the code for you. As you see, you don't need to really know .NET to sell .NET-based enhancements to your clients. Any developer can write horizontal software that uses mv.NET for communications, and sell it in the open MV market.

As a non-developer End-User you would simply purchase one or more Runtime licenses from a reseller to use code written with mv.NET.
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What are some examples of what I can do with mv.NET?

Quite simply mv.NET is just a pipe with code wrapped around it. It allows you to get at your data in many ways. Maybe this questions should be rephrased to "what can I do with my data?" and for each new application you think of, just know that you can use mv.NET to accomplish the task. Think of tasks that required you to use two different tools, and then consider that with mv.NET you now have one tool which allows you to accomplish a multitude of tasks. This helps to eliminate the time spent learning many single purpose utilities to do many different tasks - and also to eliminate the time spent hunting for documentation, support, or examples for all of these different tools.

So at the top of the list of what you can do with mv.NET we have "save time and aggravation". A natural benefit of that is "save money".

Here are a number of specific examples in no specific order:

  • Use Web Services to pull data into a BASIC program from a system on the internet.
  • Setup a Web Server for your clients to get pricing or shipping data.
  • Push data from your MV DBMS onto a system in your network.
  • Notify people when an event occurs in your MV DBMS : backup failed, numbers don't balance, program had an error, sales exceeded expectations, client needs attention…
  • Export data into devices like hand scanners, PDAs, cell phones, or a PBX.
  • Import data from all of the same devices.
  • Use your MV DBMS as a real-time back-end for your website.
  • Serve data from your MV database to ADO.NET aware products.
  • Exchange data with relational databases like Oracle, SQL Server, or MySQL.
  • Exchange data with other MV databases.
  • Update Outlook Contacts, Appointments and Journal entries with MV data.
  • Import data into Excel from MV, and export it back into MV.
  • Exchange data with SAP, Oracle Financials, Great Plaines, Quick Books, and other popular business application products.
  • Make your MV database serve data for open source web utilities like blogs, forums, e-commerce sites - in these times when Open Source Software is all the rage it only makes sense to use OSS with your MV DBMS.
  • Save data scanned from images, documents, barcode readers.
  • Integrate real-time data into your production forecasting, such as weather, traffic conditions, construction, strikes, and other data aggregated from websites or people reporting from various locations.
  • Control devices like time clocks, doors, windows, shop machines, and HVAC.
  • Make use of speech technologies for voice input and output.

And remember that mv.NET is MV DBMS independent - so you can do all of these things without using DBMS vendor-specific syntax. This keeps your applications portable, and allows people hired from other environments to work with your software immediately without extensive training on esoteric syntax and functionality nuances.
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How much does mv.NET cost?

Please contact us for details.
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How many licenses do we need?

The Developer license includes 2 session licenses which may be used for development or for end-users when no development is being done. The Developer license is only required for development. End-user deployment can start with a single session license used for any purpose - there is no "server" license on top of session licenses.

As to how many session licenses are needed for a given end-user site, see this blog article on that topic:
An mv.NET session license can pool connections for some number of users, depending on how the application is written. Long running processes or heavily persistent interfaces may have a 1-to-1 ratio of licenses to users, while apps that make quick hits on the back-end may support 100 or more users to one license. We have one client who is getting better than 25 to 1 users per license for new features added into their existing MV environment where end-users are using both terminals and devices. The new connectivity would not have been possible without a product like mv.NET. Given these amazing numbers, a 5 to 1 is a reasonable guideline to use for initial discussion. Some sites create license pools based on specific tasks like: Web Services, browser users, developers, interfaces to relational databases, and special connections that are setup for outbound calls from the DBMS. The number of users per license is really a number of users per pool, where each pool has a different usage profile.
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What value-add is provided by Nebula Research and Development?
  • As an international distributor for mv.NET we can provide sales, support, and development services across many time zones in the Americas and Europe.
  • We now provide sales, support, and development services in Spanish as well as English.
  • We can link our clients with new business partners and resources, and present an overall package that is much more than a single product offering.
  • We work with our clients personally to help determine how many licenses are needed and how they can be used most effectively.
  • We provide ongoing advice and consultation services to help our clients realize goals.
  • Nebula R&D provides development services to help sites get started with this sort of development. We can even completely manage the DBMS interface so that your .NET developers don't need to understand the back-end at all.
  • Our resources include a Microsoft C# MVP who codes and manages staff for expert-level .NET development.
  • Through our partners we provide training for C#, VB.NET, ASP.NET, and other related specialties.
  • We process problem and enhancement reports for mv.NET, and work closely with BlueFinity to diagnose and resolve issues, and to improve the product in general.
  • We test each new release before putting the software on our site for download. This valuable service allows us to find problems in new releases before they become support issues for our clients. We cannot support software we have not seen and ask our clients to only download their software from our site.
  • We provide information about new releases and related products, and send occasional newsletters to advise our clients about new features or even bugs found in the field.
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Who supports mv.NET?

End-users contact their Value-Add Resellers, or Nebula Research and Development directly depending on their support agreement.

Developer/Resellers get all support from Nebula Research and Development.

Nebula R&D works directly with BlueFinity International as required.

European clients can contact our office in Spain or in the USA. All other clients should contact Nebula R&D USA Support directly.

Because we pre-test all releases we ask that our clients always download updates from our site, never from anywhere else - see the FAQ on Nebula R&D value-add services.
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What do I need to know to use mv.NET?

For a developer, knowledge of the Microsoft .NET Framework is critical. mv.NET allows an MV developer to use familiar syntax with .NET languages, and to make use of accounts, files, items, attributes, etc. And mv.NET can help an MV developer to become more comfortable with .NET. But to make business-quality use of the tool, one must have a good understanding of the environment. The developer must be competent with Visual Basic .NET -or- C# -or- any of the 30 other languages supported for .NET. Familiarity with VB6 is not good enough but it's a good start. Working knowledge of Object Oriented Programming is important. Any competent .NET developer should have no problem working with mv.NET, though they should also receive some training for MV in order to make use of the DBMS.

Nebula Research and Development reserves the right to decline development support in cases where the developer does not have sufficient experience to use the environment on which this product is built.

End-users are encouraged to become familiar with the networking environment, but an end-user administrator should not need to know anything about .NET or programming.
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Where do I get training?

At this time Nebula R&D provides limited mv.NET training in 1-2 hour blocks, scheduled as convenient, using GoToMeeting shared/remote desktop technology. We can follow a syllabus as long as it seems appropriate, and customize as desired by our students. Please contact us for training fees and schedules.
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How do we get a kick-start for development?

In addition to having your developers spend time with the extensive documentation and experimenting with the software itself, we can help. Our primary business with mv.NET comes not from selling licenses, but from helping developers and end-users to enhance their existing software and increase its value in a competitive software market. With our development assistance, an application developer can get their offering to market much more quickly than if they had done everything on their own. Getting to market quickly with a better product translates directly into improved revenue on a short time scale.

For end-users doing their own development, the same concept applies: the sooner you deploy new functionality for your users and trading partners, the sooner you benefit from the effort, and the happier you are with your investment.

With this in mind, Nebula R&D offers development services to kick-start your development. Use the code that we write for you to learn by example how to write and maintain your own code. We provide mentoring for your developers until they no longer need our services. We can team with your developers, with them working on the DBMS back-end while we build a new front-end, and transfer knowledge along the way or at the end of the project.
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How does the evaluation work?

The mv.NET trial licenses expire after processing 2000 transactions, or 30 days after installation, whichever comes first.
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Which databases can be used with mv.NET?

mv.NET is certified with the following MV DBMS platforms: D3, jBASE, Universe, Unidata, QM, Reality, mvBASE, mvEnterprise, Univision, Advanced Pick, and Power95. Please let us know if you use a database that is not listed here.
mv.NET should work with older releases including D3 7.2, Unidata 5, and Universe 9. If your DBMS is older than 5 years old we recommend (but do not require) a DBMS upgrade. Such an effort may force an OS upgrade and even a hardware upgrade - We leave these decisions to our clients. We cannot guarantee functionality for a DBMS that is no longer supported by the DBMS vendor, but you are welcome to try it. mv.NET connects to databases running over any Unix, Linux, or Windows OS.
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How does mv.NET connect into my database?

For most databases, Telnet is the most common connection method. mv.NET logs-in through the OS and into the DBMS just like a person, waiting for feedback from the server and responding with user and password data that ultimately result in access to the TCL/ECL command-line. The connection is quite fast, but the initial connection could take a few seconds. In a live environment the initial connection is made just once and all users then connect to established sessions without repeating the login sequence

  • For Universe and Unidata, Telnet, UniObjects or UniObjects.NET can be used.
  • For QM, Telnet or QMClient can be used.
  • For D3, Telnet or the D3 Class Library can be used.
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How do I get mv.NET?

You can download the product documentation for the current production release. Please email us at when ready.

The primary docs are the Getting Started and Core Objects guides. For ADO.NET see the Adapter Objects doc. Developers interested in Ajax should see the PDF on the Web Binding Objects Example.

Our approach is not to provide software installation details until we know more about the environment in which it will be used. This eliminates a lot of difficulty in the installation and configuration process, where people load software on their own and then we need to figure out what happened to fix whatever situations arise. The software files are password protected until you are ready for the install.

The software on our download site is available for each new release and old releases are left online as a convenience to our clients who run multiple versions in multiple environments.
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How do I install mv.NET?

mv.NET is very easy to install but configuration requires information in the product documentation and ongoing familiarization. The first step is to get login information to our download site (see above), download the documentation, and familiarize yourself with the general concepts. Then email us again to get the password to the CIDSetup.exe. This is used to install the communications components, and for developers this file also contains the Visual Studio integration components. At this point you can install the product yourself using the product documentation - but we would prefer to work with you.

To help get you productive immediately, Nebula R&D provides up to one hour of free initial consultation, online installation, and configuration assistance. We highly recommend that new developers and end-users make use of this value-add service! Using GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, VNC, or a similar utility, we will attach to your desktop and install mv.NET with you. As we go through the installation we will explain where the components go and what they do. We will work with you all the way from the CIDSetup to getting a solid connection into your DBMS environment(s). Time permitting, we will help to create data in a test account and use the example programs (with C# and VB.NET source) to access the data in your server. From here you should be able to establish new connections, use products that require mv.NET for communications, or begin your own development.

Nebula R&D reserves the right to limit or decline our free assistance for sites that have installed the software without guidance. We can install the product to a new environment but it's frequently very time consuming to fix an installation where we have no idea how or where it was installed.
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Can I use mv.NET with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services?

Yes - but there is a separate product called the Reporting Services Data Connector which is built around the mv.NET Developer product. If you want to use your MV DBMS as just another database option alongside the other standard options, then you will probably want RSDC. You can write your own RS interface but the internal development and support time could cost far more than the RSDC.

Each Report author is considered a developer and as such an RSDC developer license is required for each author. The only cost for report consumers is the mv.NET Runtime licenses required to extract data from the DBMS. So as with mv.NET Developer licenses, the RSDC developer license is only required by developers, and resellers can sell economical reporting solutions to end-users which only require mv.NET Runtime licenses to allow one or more MV DBMS systems to provide data to Reporting Services. Top


What version(s) of the .NET Framework can be used with mv.NET?

mv.NET developers may use Visual Studio 2005 with the .NET Framework 2.0, Visual Studio 2008 with the .NET Framework 2.0, or Visual Studio 2008 with the .NET Framework 3.5. Any end-user system deploying a .NET application must of course have the correct version of the .NET Framework installed. This is available as a free download from Microsoft via Windows Update.
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Does it work with Windows Vista?

Yes, the latest release supports all current production releases of Windows for development and deployment. Please ask about Windows 7 if required.
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Why use mv.NET when I can use something like InterCall, UniObjects, UniObjects.NET, the D3 Class Library, or QMClient?
  • mv.NET has three libraries to provide specialized connectivity. The freeware libraries provided by the DBMS vendors are only for basic connectivity.
  • With the exception of UO.NET, all of the components provided with DBMS products are COM-based and subject to "DLL Hell" and other legacy issues.
  • ADO / Relational data handling with mv.NET does not require mapping from the MV command line or MV-specific syntax to access relational databases. The MV environment is agnostic relative to the external application and therefore doesn't generally need to be changed if the external interface changes.
  • mv.NET has many more features, special pooling options, intelligent paging of data from the server, and connectivity methods which are of use in a more complex environment.
  • mv.NET is integrated into the Visual Studio IDE, with GUI access into databases, dictionaries and data. BASIC code can be edited and compiled right in VS side by side with .NET code. A built-in query builder facilitates visual creation of MV queries.
  • A Session Manager is provided for developers and end-user administrators, which facilitates handling of connections.
  • Extensive logging capabilities facilitate the debugging process.
  • mv.NET code is portable to other DBMS products as indicated elsewhere in this FAQ. This is important for vendors who support other platforms now or in the future, and for end-users if there is any chance of migration to another database.
  • mv.NET is very well supported, and new features are added a few times per year.
  • IBM recently secured a license to maintain their own version of mv.NET. There is no word yet as to their plans for future support of the UO libraries or what sort of changes that they plan to make in their version of the mv.NET product.
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Do I need to buy a connection pooling license for U2?

So far neither IBM nor BlueFinity have made official statements about whether a U2 connection pool license is required to use mv.NET. This leaves end-user sites and their resellers in a precarious position.

The Nebula Research and Development position is only an opinion and not a legal interpretation of the U2 licensing terms. It seems IBM clients are happy with mv.NET, and mv.NET opens opportunities for new sales which make up for any potential (unconfirmed) loss of revenue. (See the FAQ below - Does license pooling cheat MV DBMS companies out of license fees?) If IBM enforces their new connection pooling license on mv.NET users, the cost of deployment could be prohibitive, and everyone in the supply chain could lose revenue from lost sales. Unless there is clear evidence that license revenues are dropping because of mv.NET, or perhaps of abuse with similar products, there is no reason why IBM should require mv.NET sites to purchase a connection pooling license. So it seems IBM is reserving comment until they have a firm business case to do otherwise. Other MV DBMS vendors have similar approaches regarding how they enforce their licensing.

If asked, BlueFinity advises resellers and end-users to consult with IBM. Even if a U2 site purchases and installs a connection pooling license, mv.NET does not currently include code to use an available license. Perhaps this doesn't really make a difference - as long as the licenses are purchased it may not matter if they are actually used.
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Does license pooling cheat MV DBMS companies out of license fees?

In our opinion - not at all. Most sites have an existing application and they are adding functionality. A site that uses mv.NET to enhance their application is renewing their dedication to the technology. Rather than moving to a new application and DBMS, they will continue to pay support fees to their current DBMS provider, and may add more DBMS licenses to support the new connectivity.

An application vendor may sell their software to more sites because they have modern connectivity and user interfaces. That means more licenses for the DBMS companies, rather than lost sales. The difference is in volume of sales, rather than volume per sale.

A company that intends to put large numbers of users on an application will generally not use an MV DBMS simply because of the cost compared to non-MV alternatives. If a new site needs less DBMS licenses to run a large number of web-based users, a product like mv.NET keeps the MultiValue database on the table as a server option. Rather than losing the business entirely, MV DBMS companies will get new business that they never would have had, so any number of licenses is better than nothing.

When end-users are looking to cut costs they may consider eliminating the MV DBMS because of purchase and maintenance costs. Modern interfaces like mv.NET that make efficient use of existing licenses can help some of these sites in the decision to keep their system.
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Does mv.NET work in a 64-bit environment?

Yes, the current release supports development and deployment on 64-bit systems.
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