May-June 2012


In This Newsletter

AVAproject 2012 Releases to Outstanding Response!

AVAproject Fusion: Modular Design Ensures Customers Get Exactly What They Need

Software as a Service: Who’s Got the Keys to Your Data!?

AVAproject Tip: Preventing Data Loss using AVAproject's Built-In Safeguards

Catalog Updates

 U.S. Price Books:

  • Hiawatha
  • PDQ
  • Best
  • Dorma D.C.
  • Dorma E.D.
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  • Pemko
  • Rockwood
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 Canadian Price Books:

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AVAproject 2012 Releases to Outstanding Response!

In last month’s AVAwire, we invited AVAproject users to download and install the newest version of AVAproject. We’re very happy to report that the website has been busy and the support department has been slow! This is exactly the kind of release that every software company hopes for.

For those users that haven’t reviewed the new version – you don’t know what you’re missing. Drawing heavily on suggestions from the AVAproject user community, the development

team has assembled an impressive list of new features and feature enhancements. As always, a detailed revision summary is available on the “Product Updates” page in the customer area of the AVAware website. This summary allows users to preview the enhancements before they install. In recent years, AVAware has also published illustrated “Revision Overviews” that offer a more detailed summary of changes in each release. We expect to have a similar document for the 2012 release available in the next few weeks.

For all those users that love to get product updates, there is even more good news on the horizon. AVAware still has one more major release scheduled for 2012, including powerful new features for users of AVAproject Fusion as well as some much-anticipated enhancements to AVAproject and AVAcad. Additional details will be provided in this newsletter as the next release date approaches.

AVAproject Fusion: Modular Design Ensures Customers Get Exactly What They Need

Throughout all our software designs, AVAware has always maintained that no two customers are alike. Needs and preferences are as diverse as the range of customers that use AVAware products. It’s for this reason that Fusion is being offered in modules that can be adapted to each company’s specific needs.

AVAproject Fusion is the ultimate extension to the AVAproject and AVAcad project family. It combines a state-of-the-art business intelligence engine with full featured report and pivot table creation tools. What makes Fusion truly exceptional however, is

the facility it offers to allow seamless integration with virtually any accounting/ERP system.

The breakdown of the modules is extremely straightforward. the following is the Fusion process overview chart

that has been published since the first time Fusion was announced. Please note that in this version, three major areas have been highlighted. Each of these corresponds to an individual Fusion module.

Please note: The descriptions contained here are only a brief summary of each module. For a more complete details, please follow the various links to the AVAware website.



1. Fusion Base Component (Data extraction, Report Generator & Pivot Tables)


For many users, this module will be all they ever need. This powerful application forms the technological platform on which AVAproject Fusion is built.


  • Powerful data “Filters” can be created to extract, group or sort data based on ANY piece of data in the project.
  • Reports can be created using ANY element of data from any or all of the lists and schedules that make up a project file.
  • Reports can be grouped and sub-grouped by multiple fields, in addition material can be bulked by ANY field.
  • Pivot Tables, an extremely common business reporting tool found in products such as Microsoft Excel and Oracle are fully supported by Fusion. For those who are familiar with them, Fusion offers a Pivot Table facility that rivals those found in high-end ERP systems.
  • Data grids, reports and pivot tables can all be printed or exported into a variety of standard data formats.


2. Accounting Base Component (Prepare data to be passed to accounting system)


AVAware has always maintained that no accounting solution can possibly be suitable for every customer. A single-user shop, for example, will simply not need the same package that a national chain will require. They simply wouldn’t need the functionality or the unnecessary expense. Moreover, there are numerous situations in which a company would not wish to be “forced” into a single specific accounting system. Many companies already have already spent considerable time and resources implementing systems, while many have done so because they are part of a larger company that has standardized on a solution. Fusion offers a number of advantages that make it a truly unique product.



3. Accounting System Integration Module


Fusion is the only solution in the architectural opening industry that allows integration with virtually any accounting/ERP system.

The final module that one may implement with Fusion is a system-specific integration module that allows accounting transactions (purchase orders and/or sales orders) to be moved directly into their existing accounting/ERP system.

AVAware currently supports a number of popular accounting packages, with more be added to the list on an ongoing basis. If your specific accounting package is not currently offered, AVAware can possibly create an interface on a custom basis.

For more detailed information about AVAproject Fusion and its components, please visit the Fusion information page on the AVAware website.

Related AVAware Article in DHI Magazine
    "Software in an Integrated World"

Last year, AVAware published an article in the DHI Magazine that spoke to the issue of accounting/ERP systems in the architectural openings industry. A copy of the article is also available on the Downloads page of the AVAware website.

Software as a Service: Who’s Got the Keys to Your Data!?

In last month’s AVAwire, we discussed the growing trend in cloud computing with all its benefits... and its potential pitfalls. On the heels of the cloud-based computing phenomena, another not-so-new idea is gaining renewed interest.

“Software as a Service” (SaaS) is not a new idea. Software developers have been exploring this idea since the internet began gaining acceptance in the corporate workplace in the mid 1990s. The actual concept is simple enough; instead of buying software in the traditional sense, the developer essentially “rents” the software to their customers. Normally, the developer/vendor sends out a disk (or

download location), and the customer installs the software on their own PC or PC network. In a SaaS situation, there is no software to install, users simply log into a website and use the software online. This arrangement offers a number of the same benefits as cloud storage, in addition to a few others. There’s no need to install and maintain software locally, software updates are automatically performed by the site

operator, software can be accessed from anywhere there is an internet connection, etc.

As it seems with all new technologies, upon closer examination there are several issues of concern that could make SaaS a poor choice for a corporate environment.


  • The first problem: the client doesn’t actually own anything! This may be fine for minor utility applications or games, but bear in mind that your business may become dependent on something that is never under your control.

  • Although it may sound convenient to have updates performed automatically, this also means that you have no choice as to when this occurs. If the vendor decides to put a new software version online, the customer and their users must adopt and possibly stop to learn the new version immediately. There is no way to put this off if the timing is inconvenient – you are now on the vendor’s schedule.

  • The ability to access the software “anywhere” also comes with the other side of that coin: the software can only be accessed if and where there is a solid internet connection. Naturally, the quality of the connection will determine how effective and productive the work experience is. If the internet goes down, or is running slow at the moment, work may come to a stop.

  • Most PC users have had to deal with computer or network breakdowns at one time or another. Nothing is more frustrating than having to deal with a workstation becoming unavailable right when there is a job coming due. In a SaaS situation, that possibility is further aggravated by the fact that getting the software back online after a failure is in the hands of an outside party, in a far away location that is usually out of reach. If your PC goes down, you can always grab your install disk and move to another machine, when using a web-based application you have no choice but to wait for it to come back online.

  • The largest issue, and one that many forget to consider, is that your data is sitting on that distant web server along with the application that accesses it. If your business deals with sensitive or confidential data, then you should ask yourself who actually has access to your private data. Many industries (medical, etc.) are even prohibited by law from using web-based storage or services that are not independently certified. Federal and state regulations have been enacted to protect sensitive information. Two such examples are the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) and new updates to the Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).


To sum it up, the majority of the concerns stem from the fact that SaaS arrangements place the customer entirely at the mercy of the software vendor. If that vendor is a nationally recognized company, then there is probably less of a reason for concern. On the other hand, when dealing with small, independent vendors one has to

wonder “Who’s holding the keys?”, and, do you trust them to safeguard your valuable data? The final consideration is one of access. Should that web server become inaccessible, due to equipment failure or the company discontinuing operations, you may find yourself unable to access any of your data or the application your company has come

to depend on. There is no doubt that cloud/web-based storage and software offer exciting new capabilities, but at the same time one should be aware of the potential issues that may bring with them.

AVAproject Tip: Preventing Data Loss using AVAproject's Built-In Safeguards

Anyone who’s ever had a computer shut down unexpectedly or had a hard drive suddenly fail knows that there is nothing more frustrating than data loss! After spending hours laboring over a file, the last thing anyone wants to hear is that they have to start over...

There truly is nothing in the world more frustrating than unexpected data loss – especially when it’s avoidable. Every support person has had tell some poor user that their data is sadly unrecoverable at one time or another. Although there is nothing much that can be done by a software developer to prevent hardware and network failures, there are steps that can be taken to help ensure that copies of customers’ data survives such an experience.

It goes without saying that backups should be a part of everyone’s computing life. Local and even offsite backups should be an essential component of every company’s overall software implementation strategy. But what can one do to prevent the losses that occur before one has a chance to perform a backup – or even a “save” operation?

Many modern business applications (Microsoft Office and AVAproject to name a couple) have features built into them to help save their users from disaster’s strike. In fact, if the business applications you’re using don’t have features such as these then you probably should be wondering why.

The AVAproject Preferences dialog's Files & Saving tab

The “Files & Saving” tab in the AVAproject Preferences dialog provides access to several of AVAproject built-in loss prevention features:



1. Pre-Save files to local “Temp” directory.


As good as your I.T. people are, network issues do occur. This simple, but effective feature safeguards user files in the event of network failures (both local and cloud-based). When this option is selected, it directs AVAproject to save a copy of the current project files to the computers “Temp” folder (as defined by Windows) before it attempts to save the file to the remote server. Should anything go wrong with the network or the network connection, the file will always be found safe and sound on the local drive.



2. Auto-Save files to local “Temp” directory.


This essential feature works in a very similar manner to the preceding one, except that it causes AVAproject to save a copy of the current project file to the “Temp” folder at regular, user-defined intervals. Every user at one time or another has worked on a file for hours without pushing the “Save” button; it’s usually only after a power outage causes them to lost all their hard work that they learn the importance of regular saves. AVAproject takes the burden of remembering away by remembering to do interval saves automatically.

This safety feature is so vital, that it is activated by default when the software is first installed. The actual save interval is up to the individual… I suppose it depends how quickly you work.

Should the need arise, the backup copies are located in the “Temp” directory. There is a convenient tool located in the AVAproject “Help” menu that will provide access to the Windows-defined “Temp” directory without having to search the hard drive for it.

The "Open from TEMP Directory" tool in the AVAproject Help menu

At the end of the day, no backup technology is absolutely perfect. That having been said: many users have breathed a huge sigh of relief when they were able to open an automatically created backup of their project when they needed it most.

We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions about any topic mentioned in this edition of AVAwire. Please visit our website for more information, or contact us directly at (416) 239-9099.