What's new in Version 4.0
Version 4.0 is the biggest overhaul of “The Wine Cellar Book” which we have ever done, it includes big changes to the Graphical User Interface (GUI), very big changes to the database scheme and much of the technical infrastructure (tools etc.) has been changed.
Application changes - Profiles
The data for suppliers, producers, distillers and bottles has been combined into “Company Profiles”. This is especially handy for suppliers and producers as you will no longer have to enter e.g. a producer twice if you also use it as a supplier, you just need to check the appropriate check boxes in its profile.
Application changes - Tasting
The tasting screen has seen a big overhaul and we have also added a “Tasting event” and one can also define participants for a tasting.
Application changes – Images, PDF and web links
The image tab has been enhanced to allow you to link not only images to a particular drink or recipe but also an unlimited number of PDF files and web links.
Application changes – Wine racks
The wine rack feature has been totally overhauled, the two different rack types we had in version 3 have “kind” of been merged together, i.e. it is now possible to mix and match rack units and we added a few new rack unit types.
The conversion of version 3 racks will be done when you first open a rack in the wine rack designer.
Graphical User Interface
We have tried to come up with a friendlier and easier to use GUI. This includes things like configurable lists (column size and order of columns can be changed interactively), all dialogs can be accessed from the corresponding search control, and when you double click an item in a list control which has a maintenance dialog (in other words, when there is an “Edit” button) it will automatically open.
Many of the screen layouts can be customized by dragging tabs/panes, this is especially useful for users which have large screens, and any customization will automatically be saved on exit of the program and will be used on the next start of the application.
The database schema has been totally overhauled to allow for multi user and multi language use and it makes much better use of the database middleware which is used. Unfortunately this will mean that any custom reports users have done will need to be rewritten.
In version 3 we had one large executable, in version 4 we have split them up into the individual parts (Cellar book, Recipe book and Statistics), these individual executables can be run in parallel, i.e. you can work on a recipe while still having the cellar book open.
The Wine Cellar Book was always multi user enabled and it could be run on a Local Area Network, but this was a hidden feature and had one limitation that all users had to use the same language.
In version 4 we changed this to allow multiple users to use the system and each user can select his/her language. The language is set during the “login” process, this is run automatically in a standard installation.
The necessary configuration to allow multiple users to use the system is not yet written, if this is of interest to you please let us know.
Programming tools - language
The application is still written in Python, we are now using version 2.7 and have made preparations to be able to easier move up to Python 3.3+ when all the tools we use are supported on that version of Python.
As a user you will probably not notice much if anything from this change, but it makes things easier from a programmer point of view.
Programming tools – User Interface
Before starting version 4 we have evaluated other tools but decided that wxPython is still the best tool for what we want to do. We have upgraded from version 2.8 to version 2.9 and we will upgrade to version 3.0 (a big overhaul of the UI tool kit) when it will be officially released.
This change allows the use of a few more modern widgets, e.g. the error messages are often shown in an “InfoBar” which shows up at the bottom of the screen and is much more visible compared to the “old” “StatusBar”, it also provided the support to be able to customize the list layout and to save and restore of the screen layouts and many other little things here and there have improved from a developer point of view.
Tools – XML and Excel
The tools to read and write vinoXML files have been updated, and it allowed to simplify a lot of the code.
A new tool is used to be able to import data from another cellar book application, it is now done via an Excel file which is easier to handle then the old CSV import. The Excel file can also be created using LibreOffice and a CSV file can easily be converted to an Excel file with LibreOffice.
Tools - Database
The database middleware has been updated and we make better use of it.
The database engine is still Firebird SQL, we updated to version 2.5.1 and we will upgrade to version 3.0 of it when it becomes available.