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[SHARING] Where Will The New WebFOCUS Developers Come From?
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Platinum Member
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This rambling was triggered by a thread of Susannah's I was reading this morning. I noticed her signature said 'in FOCUS since 1979'. I have been 'in FOCUS' since 1980. For quite a while I have wondered where the next generation of (Web)FOCUS developers would come from. I am very close to pulling the plug on the day-to-day WebFOCUS development world. Many of my colleagues in the Northwest are at or beyond retirement age. Many more have retired in the last few years.

When I tell my management that they need to hire someone for me to mentor and hand off my projects, it seems to fall on deaf ears. I am the sole WebFOCUS resource here and develop/maintain a mission critical financial reporting application. The assumption is there are droves of WebFOCUS developers in the pipeline. Sure, those of you reading this could probably fill my role, but who will fill yours?

My son has been helping me with WebFOCUS side projects for several years. He was trained by me. He is definitely entry level. He has experience, but would not be able to tackle a complex coding project yet. My friend's daughter is midway through a computer science degree. Do you think I can convince her to look at WebFOCUS? Not living here in Microsoft/Amazon land. But what if she could at least have a quarter of WebFOCUS at school?

Dan Cohen floated the prospect of IBI sponsoring a college training program to me last year. It sounded like a great idea. The problem I have is that they wanted me to set up the contacts for them, and then they would take it from there. I am enthusiastic, but I also already have a full time job. It's still on my to-do list though.

So here's my question - after a bit of a vent - what are your companies doing to bring up new WebFOCUS talent? Hiring young people to mentor and nurture? Expecting people to magically have five years experience out of the blue? Are any of your local colleges taking advantage of the WebFOCUS support IBI offers?

Thanks folks.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: FP Mod Chuck,


WebFOCUS 8.2.03 - Production
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Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Michael, I believe management is being beguiled into believing that all you need are people manipulating GUI tools - no coding necessary, therefore no developers necessary.

I've updated my profile to state that I've been in FOCUS since 1991. PC FOCUS, Mainframe FOCUS, WebFOCUS, Data Migrator, I've done it all.


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This thread inspired me to get off my lazy duff and contact some colleges in Seattle to offer WebFOCUS as part of their curriculum.

I have an email in to Dan Cohen to confirm the Academic Alliance Institutions program still exists.

I too have used every type of FOCUS and WebFOCUS IBI has sold. I primarily used it for scientific analytics, most recently billion record hydroacoustics data. Not exactly a GUI application! Music

Of course, now I just make pretty charts and tables for financial data. Frowner


WebFOCUS 8.2.03 - Production
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In FOCUS since 1980
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
billion record hydroacoustics data

Definitely more interesting than what I'm doing at the moment.


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am looking forward to the R and Python add-ons that are in the pipeline. It will be great if they are similar to SQL passthru.

Our entire research branch lives and breathes R and Python. Lots of Unix command line work over there. Putting WebFOCUS on the frontend would be a revelation to them.


WebFOCUS 8.2.03 - Production
WebFOCUS 8.2.04 - Sand Box
Windows 2012 R2 Server
HTML, PDF, Excel
In FOCUS since 1980
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We have similar issues here, and also finding knowledgeable WebFOCUS programmers (coders) is a difficult task. Most don't even know how its spelt.

Hey guys, its WebFOCUS , not Webfocus or WebFocus or Web focus or Web Focus or any other combination

I don't think we will be mentoring or nurturing anyone due to the need to hit the ground running.

We live in hope.

quote:
I am looking forward to the R and Python add-ons that are in the pipeline


Agreed, adds a completely new dimension to WebFOCUS


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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I know that IB Canada supplies software and training to professors at some Colleges. These are Colleges that have BI as a subject as part of their Comp-Sci programs. The top students are offered Co-op positions at local hospitals that have WF.

I think the major problem is that BI is not generally available as a discipline at school. When it is, it crosses majors and they don't really link up. For example, statistics - specifically R - is offered in Mathematics programs, but not generally to Comp-Sci students. BI in general is done as more of an aside or after thought.

From a student perspective, I don't blame them for not following up with BI. When you are in school, it seems cooler to focus on building the next Facebook or coding Python to run on distributed systems.

The bulk of the work that I've been involved in in the last year and a half has been embedding BI in existing applications. There are a lot of companies that produce software for their verticals, and with very few exceptions, BI is always an afterthought. If the industries behave this way, how can we expect the school system to be different.


"There is no limit to what you can achieve ... if you don’t care who gets the credit." Roger Abbott
 
Posts: 1102 | Location: Toronto, Ontario | Registered: May 26, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dan Cohen just confirmed the Academic Alliance program is active in the United States also.

I will see if I can twist my alma mater's arm to teach WebFOCUS. IBI supplies the materials and cloud WF access.


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Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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I only started with WebFOCUS around 2013, so I am definitely from the newer generation of WF users. I got trained on-the-job, with some quick courses thrown in at the side. In that process I quickly outgrew the GUI, but then, I've always been more comfortable with text editors for code than with IDE's and GUI's.

In our country, BI usually gets packed in with Business curricula, which results in BI "specialists" who are only comfortable with pretty pictures and funky effects. Without a decent data-warehouse to create those on top of, those guys are very limited in what they can do. They also get taught that reports are for managers and other such misconceptions.

BI is a rather wide area of expertise too. It does include creating reports, pretty ones if you like, but also designing and implementing data warehouses and statistical analysis. It also generally requires a pretty good grasp on the business processes.

I think that makes it hard to assign it to existing programs. Informatica (Comp-Sci) probably covers most of the requirements, being a specialization of Mathematics, but it won't cover business processes much aside of getting the project requirements out of the customer.


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Posts: 1663 | Location: Enschede, Netherlands | Registered: August 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Companies new to WebFOCUS are also having a hard time with filling the positions. Here in central Florida there have been 3 new companies to purchase WebFOCUS in the last 3 years. The all of course Purchased 8.2 and want to hire someone with 5 years exp. on 8.2. When interviewing for these positions I hit a wall in the interview trying to explain that the GUI is nice and all but limits the power of the tool. I have been working with WebFOCUS since 2003, ie. version 4.3.6. Even today on 8.2 the charts and extensions are not GUI compatible if you want to do any kind of drilldowns or color changes or font changes. They are going to still need coders to make modifications to the D3 charts and wf extensions from our new github site.

Even here where I finally got hired as FT employee after contracting for 8 years, they only want to have one FT WebFOCUS person on site and hire IBI when help is needed. The pool local to Florida is limited since there are few places who use it here and want to actually pay you for your services.

I know in a few years (15 to 20 ) when I am ready to retire then they will be the same way here wondering who is going to take over.

quote:
We have similar issues here, and also finding knowledgeable WebFOCUS programmers (coders) is a difficult task. Most don't even know how its spelt.

Hey guys, its WebFOCUS , not Webfocus or WebFocus or Web focus or Web Focus or any other combination


Waz most of the time it is not a limitation of spelling but laziness. I often type WebFOCUS as webfocus. just too lazy to hit the shift key. Smiler


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Posts: 43 | Location: Odessa, Florida | Registered: July 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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By choice, I've been a WebFOCUS contractor for 13 years. Before that, I worked for Information Builders Canada for 6 years. Before that, I had a few full-time jobs working with WebFOCUS in Montreal, Paris and Toronto.

I've worked with Mainframe FOCUS, PC/FOCUS and WebFOCUS since 1990.

My current contract is filling-in for someone on long-term disability (who has returned to work). We both are baby-sitting three legacy WebFOCUS applications that the client can't seem to get rid off. They're hoping to replace these applications with MicroStrategy (a very different paradigm).

The WebFOCUS work seems to have dried up, and my attempt at subcontracting through Information Builders Canada has been fruitless - I suspect due to their misinterpretation of my opinions on FocalPoint.

Time to get a job mowing parks...


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Francis, I feel your pain.

I am most concerned that we as FOCUS coders are from a management point of view, irrelevant.

We have become the unwanted filling between the 3gl and the GUI.


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I won't be surprised when I.B. starts touting AI in WF 8.2.0.04... Then we won't even need GUI workers.


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I.B. starts touting AI


One for the oldies.

Not SKYNET, FOCNET


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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Michael, Francis, Waz, Darryl, Wep, et al.

Well, we, the oldies, could start a WebFOCUS code only online academy...
101 - Basics
102 - Advanced
103 - Styling
104 - Dialog Manager
105 - MODIFY (MAINTAIN anyone?)
106 - Graphs, Charts and other displays
107 - Tricks
108 - ...

Using Skype, TeamViewer or any other sharing app.

What do you think?


Daniel
In Focus since 1982
wf 8.202M/Win10/IIS/SSA - WrapApp Front End for WF

 
Posts: 1961 | Location: Tel Aviv, Israel | Registered: March 23, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As an entertainment, I'm not too interested. Maybe at 60 it's time to learn a new language.


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sounds interesting.

108 - Navigating the portal design perils
109 - Responsive do's and don'ts
110 - ...


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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110 - Best places to fish


WebFOCUS 8

Windows, All Outputs
 
Posts: 54 | Location: Phoenix | Registered: March 01, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I started using WebFOCUS in 2016, so just about 2 years under my belt. Learned most everything from consultants that helped with our implementation and experimenting on my own.

I used to dabble in C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, etc..and coming from those languages where you are absolutely spoiled with pretty editing tools to WebFOCUS was like stepping back in time 20 years.

I tutor occasionally and all the Business Intelligence students I've worked with are into R, SSIS, Database management best-practices and Power BI (its mostly the Microsoft Stack for college kids). Lots of Tableau users out there too. I've even talked to a couple companies using Qlik. Not many students out there really understand the benefit of WebFOCUS as a whole because it's not the kind of software that is easy to just "roll out" in a classroom environment and demo something. It's more enterprise software, a lot of setup and configuration and data management before you can really get cranking. Oracle vs....Access or Excel for example.

I like WebFOCUS and I think it is extremely powerful, however if it's going to make it into the classroom and really be more digestible to students, you gotta have a "light" version or something to get people into it quickly without all the install and configuration. And not a "cloud" version either. Something they can use AS easily as Tableau or Power BI, without compromising on all the things that make WebFOCUS more powerful than either of those products.

It's a pretty big challenge.


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Posts: 37 | Registered: May 24, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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Ryan

The closest product set is WebFOCUS Business User Edition (BUE). It was built to compete with Tableau and Power BI. Single step install for all components, easy to upload data and report against immediately.


Thank you for using Focal Point!

Chuck Wolff - Focal Point Moderator
WebFOCUS 7x and 8x, Windows, Linux All output Formats
 
Posts: 1941 | Location: Customer Support | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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111 - Fun with the LET command


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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112 - MacGuyver for all
113 - The beauty of the alternate master

Any takers out there?
Cool


Daniel
In Focus since 1982
wf 8.202M/Win10/IIS/SSA - WrapApp Front End for WF

 
Posts: 1961 | Location: Tel Aviv, Israel | Registered: March 23, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You need "How to use search on Focal Point" in there somewhere Razzer

T



In FOCUS
since 1986
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WebFOCUS App Studio 8.2.06 standalone on Windows 10 
 
Posts: 5686 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: April 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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114 - Where's the documentation...


Waz...

Prod:WebFOCUS 7.6.10/8.1.04Upgrade:WebFOCUS 8.2.06OS:LinuxOutputs:HTML, PDF, Excel, PPT
In Focus since 1984
Pity the lost knowledge of an old programmer!

 
Posts: 6275 | Location: 33°49'23.0"S, 151°11'41.0"E | Registered: October 31, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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WebFOCUS Business User Edition (BUE) should be available to us power developers at a nominal cost, like most proper software companies provide...


Francis


Give me code, or give me retirement. In FOCUS since 1991

Production: WF 7.7.05M, Dev Studio, BID, MRE, WebSphere, DB2 / Test: WF 8.1.05M, App Studio, BI Portal, Report Caster, jQuery, HighCharts, Apache Tomcat, MS SQL Server
 
Posts: 10577 | Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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True, true!


Daniel
In Focus since 1982
wf 8.202M/Win10/IIS/SSA - WrapApp Front End for WF

 
Posts: 1961 | Location: Tel Aviv, Israel | Registered: March 23, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The last quote I got for BUE was US $30k. Drop a zero and I can afford it for my small company.


WebFOCUS 8.2.03 - Production
WebFOCUS 8.2.04 - Sand Box
Windows 2012 R2 Server
HTML, PDF, Excel
In FOCUS since 1980
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks guys for making me aware of BUE. However, if BUE is more than 0 dollars then it's not really a competitor.

Power BI is free, Tableau is free (to students).

I guess that's another point: cost. Even dropping the zero to $3K is about 6 years worth of a personal Tableau subscription (for non students).

Need something fast AND affordable for those students.


Production: WebFOCUS 8.202M
QA: WebFOCUS 8.206.01
Windows/SQL
 
Posts: 37 | Registered: May 24, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There used to be a program for people who ran small or one person IBI consulting companies. I was in it in 2003(??). IBI supplied a limited license version of WebFOCUS. The intent of the program in my perception was to have WebFOCUS promoters outside of IBI who could show off the product and funnel leads to IBI sales. I would like to see something similar available to small potatoes companies like mine.


WebFOCUS 8.2.03 - Production
WebFOCUS 8.2.04 - Sand Box
Windows 2012 R2 Server
HTML, PDF, Excel
In FOCUS since 1980
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Seattle, WA | Registered: April 07, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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I reached out to Daniel Cohen who is responsible for working with Educational institutions and here is his response.

(1) yes we do have a program for schools to teach WebFOCUS (2) it uses IA+ and other tools as needed and can be run in cloud (3) contact me if you know of any schools that want to teach it or want to try to get a local school to include it in their data science curriculum (4) or, to contact me if you have any entry level placement opps for current students. I will be at summit in the solutions pavilion if anyone wants to meet me F2F there. else, I can be contacts at Daniel_cohen@ibi.com


Thank you for using Focal Point!

Chuck Wolff - Focal Point Moderator
WebFOCUS 7x and 8x, Windows, Linux All output Formats
 
Posts: 1941 | Location: Customer Support | Registered: April 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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