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HTML Composer: Almost impossible to work with (with evidence)
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Expert
posted
I can confidently say that HTML Composer is the most difficult development tool I have ever used.

I have been struggling with this page for hours - just when I think I've got it working - stuff like this happens. It keeps breaking... I keep fixing it... It keeps breaking... I keep fixing it... It keeps breaking... I keep fixing it... It keeps breaking... I keep fixing it... It keeps breaking... I keep fixing it... It keeps breaking...

I have had enough.

EDIT: Reconsidered the post title (though I still believe the original title).

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Francis Mariani,


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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Among many things I've had to deal with on only one screen:

Adding a double-list makes it look like this:



And it does not behave like a double-list.

Variables disappear.

And a pile of other things that would take too long to explain here. I can't open a case for this as it would take so long to gather the evidence.


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
Expert
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Cannot make the Properties window wider to see the Select Custom Procedure button:



Scrolling does not work:



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
Gold member
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Maybe they will ask you to apply the hotfix6. That's what they told me to do.


Shirley Huang
WF 7.7.04M MRE BID DevStudio
WIN2003, SQL Server 2000/DB2
HTML/PDF/EXL2k/AHTML
iSM 6.16
 
Posts: 55 | Registered: May 05, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Of course they will suggest a hotfix. I don't trust hotfixes - they fix stuff, they break stuff...

Which hotfix can I trust? I have no hotfixes applied - is hf3 safe?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Francis Mariani,


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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Regarding the function IbComposer_getCurrentSelection that returns the selected value(s).

Why does the documentation suggest the following as the only example, when it appears (as far as I can tell) that if multiple values are selected in a list box, all values are returned by the function - you don't need to loop through the values (this is for single and double list boxes):

function button1_onclick(ctrl) {
   var values = IbComposer_getCurrentSelection('combobox1');
   for(var I = 0; i < values.length; i++)  
      alert(values[i]);
}


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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Again:



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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Why does this have to happen? Every time you click on the submit button to consume (?) newly added reports parameters, this box gets inserted and the submit button gets pushed down.



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
Expert
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In the Parameters tab, I "Add parameter". The parameter oval is dashed, to designate "Parameter created in" HTML Composer.

Why do parameters like these not get sent to the report? How do I make it get sent to the report? If they do not get sent to the report, what is the point of these parameters?

Why do I have to point to the report to get newly created parameters sucked into the parameters screen? When I do this, I lose a pile of work that has already been done on the parameter screen.



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
Gold member
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I know you are way more educated than I am on this tool, but I live in it daily and I've run in to a few of these issues. My first question..do you use HTMLFORM? I found those to be painful, at best, when working within the composer. Also - I have HF5 applied and it seems to be 'ok'. I don't plan to add HF6 as I've heard it does weird things to composer (like it needs more problems). I'm waiting for HF7.

A couple things I've run in to this week...I have multiple frames on a single composer 'page' and when I attach them to a load button, all works well. But if I try to re-import the code to the frame again, composer randomly shuffles all my frames and reports around so that when I run the page, the wrong graphs show up in the frames.

I appreciate your post - at least I know there are more things to watch out for :/


WebFOCUS 7.7.03
Linux / Universe Db
HTML/PDF/EXCEL/HTML Active
 
Posts: 90 | Registered: November 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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quote:
Originally posted by Francis Mariani:
In the Parameters tab, I "Add parameter". The parameter oval is dashed, to designate "Parameter created in" HTML Composer.

Why do parameters like these not get sent to the report? How do I make it get sent to the report? If they do not get sent to the report, what is the point of these parameters?


Those parameters can be used to communicate values from one chained control to the next. I use that from time to time and in many such cases it is unnecessary or even undesirable for such parameters to propagate to the report.

quote:
Why do I have to point to the report to get newly created parameters sucked into the parameters screen? When I do this, I lose a pile of work that has already been done on the parameter screen.


This is indeed a huge PITA. It seems that those newly added form elements always get created where the submit button used to be, shifting that button down to some new position. For that reason I usually move the submit button to a location that is "safe" for this behaviour.

What isn't helping there is that the "Properties and settings" dialog takes away valuable screen space, making your work area already smaller than what the form looks like to the user. You can click the dialog away, but it comes back as soon as you click somewhere in the page. If everything wouldn't be in an MDI window, you could at least move some of those tool windows to another screen...


WebFOCUS 8.1.03, Windows 7-64/2008-64, IBM DB2/400, Oracle 11g & RDB, MS SQL-Server 2005, SAP, PostgreSQL 11, Output: HTML, PDF, Excel 2010
: Member of User Group Benelux :
 
Posts: 1641 | Location: Enschede, Netherlands | Registered: August 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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HTML Composer is not meant to be used with -HTMLFORM. This is stated in the documentation for -HTMLFORM.


David Glick
Director WebFOCUS App Studio
and WebFOCUS Developer Studio
WebFOCUS Division
Information Builders, Inc.
Direct (917) 339-5560
Voice Mail (212) 736-6250 x3560
Fax (212) 947-5168
Email david_glick@ibi.com
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: April 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Expert
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quote:
Note: HTML Composer design time is not meant to be used with this construct and if used, the tool may not work as expected and will not be supported.

I have not read this before and that's very disappointing news to me.


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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Though it certainly doesn't explain everything I've exposed in this email, of which David has mentioned nothing about.


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
Member
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Try this.
At the end of the HTML page when you edit using a text editor you should see the request id's are referencing to the correct domain and the report. If not edit and save it. Make a copy before you are editing since it is HTML you know..


















7703
Windows XP
HTML,PDF,Excel,Word,text
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: May 09, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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Francis,

Sometimes the information you provide is not enough to tell me anything about why things happen. When it does, I respond.


David Glick
Director WebFOCUS App Studio
and WebFOCUS Developer Studio
WebFOCUS Division
Information Builders, Inc.
Direct (917) 339-5560
Voice Mail (212) 736-6250 x3560
Fax (212) 947-5168
Email david_glick@ibi.com
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: April 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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With all due respect David, I think we are looking to you (IBI) to tell us why these things are happening. Quite frankly, I don't care why they are happening. All I really care about is the amount of time (and money) I am losing because I spend so much time trying to make something work.
It has gotten to the point for us that, when it comes time to renew licensing, we may be forced to select a different product. As a SaaS provider delivering stuff that works and looks good is essential. Sometimes we get requests from customers that we need to turn out in a matter of days. I simply cannot afford to spend two of those days getting three drop-down lists and a couple of frames working on a web page.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I will volunteer my own personal time to interface with the product development team on behalf of your client base to get these issues resolved.
Based on the lack of responsiveness from IBI I can only assume that this is not a priority for you.

I too think it's a great development tool and I also want to help make it better.


7.7.05M/7.7.03 HF6 on Windows Server 2003 SP2 output to whatever is required.
 
Posts: 394 | Location: St. Paul, MN | Registered: November 06, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dan,

None of us can tell you why things are happening without reproductions and all the required information. Programming and I cannot look at a screenshot, for example, and tell you why you see what you see. We need to have the files, work with it, poke around, run it under an debugger, etc. If the infromation provided in a Focal Point post is enough, I have responded as you have seen. Questions on using API functionas have come up, and I have answered them, successfully.

It is unfair im my opinion, to say that IBI is not helping when we do help and we ask for more information when we need it. I have answered many times to Focal point posting that a case needs to be opened. I answer that way because the description given in the posting is not enough. Customer Support Services monitors Focal Point as well, and while I cannot speak for them, I could imagine that they too need the follow on reproduction and details in order to pursue an issue.


David Glick
Director WebFOCUS App Studio
and WebFOCUS Developer Studio
WebFOCUS Division
Information Builders, Inc.
Direct (917) 339-5560
Voice Mail (212) 736-6250 x3560
Fax (212) 947-5168
Email david_glick@ibi.com
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: April 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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Dan,

I would like to schedule a time that we can get on the phone with CSS and discuss the issues further. Please email me with a set of times that we can have this call. Also, since you are coming to the office this week for an event, perhaps we can even meet in person as a follow on if we can have the call Monday or Tuesday perhaps.


David Glick
Director WebFOCUS App Studio
and WebFOCUS Developer Studio
WebFOCUS Division
Information Builders, Inc.
Direct (917) 339-5560
Voice Mail (212) 736-6250 x3560
Fax (212) 947-5168
Email david_glick@ibi.com
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: April 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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David - that would be fantastic. I am scheduled to meet with Barry S. on Tuesday 10/23. Perhaps we can talk that afternoon?

Thanks for the follow-up!

Regards,

Dan


7.7.05M/7.7.03 HF6 on Windows Server 2003 SP2 output to whatever is required.
 
Posts: 394 | Location: St. Paul, MN | Registered: November 06, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Member
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Bonjour,
The Bible says no -HTMLFORM with the Composer...
I'm not, now, a 10th of Francis's ability to master Focus and co tools.
Focus used to be an opened tool trying to take the best of what we could find in Informatics world + an ideal of concision and simplicity of the language.
+ the enormous qualities of Focus Guys : Experts that were so brilliant that they could lay a hand to poor Focus sinners.
When, appearing as an old fool, I say that I'm afraid we've lost our Focus Revolution 68 state of mind, it means nothing.
But when a guy like Francis tells he's somehow getting bored or Dan, on another line, enters doubting, this is important.
Sorry to be out of the game, because this exchange seems real interesting, and I'm sure, in the end you'll find an issue that'll satisfy (almost) everyone.
Focusely and Cordially (untill 31/12/2012)
Clearly or not, like Francis : "It is a great development tool, I want to help make it better"


Focus Mainframe 7.6.11
Dev Studio 7.6.11 and !!!
PC Focus, Focus for OS/2, FFW Six, MSO
 
Posts: 134 | Registered: November 06, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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Dan,

I am told that Kathleen is setting up meetings for Friday, so we may get one of those. I have no problem with Tuesday either. What time is your Tuesday meeting?


David Glick
Director WebFOCUS App Studio
and WebFOCUS Developer Studio
WebFOCUS Division
Information Builders, Inc.
Direct (917) 339-5560
Voice Mail (212) 736-6250 x3560
Fax (212) 947-5168
Email david_glick@ibi.com
 
Posts: 312 | Registered: April 13, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Master
posted Hide Post
Is everyone invited?


WebFOCUS 7.7.05 Windows, Linux, DB2, IBM Lotus Notes, Firebird, Lotus Symphony/OpenOffice. Outputs PDF, Excel 2007 (for OpenOffice integration), WP
 
Posts: 674 | Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada ... In Focus since 1985 | Registered: September 28, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Master
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I will be the first to say the IBI is exceptionally helpful. Unfortunately they can kill you with kindness sometimes. As someone who bills his clients hourly I cannot afford to go through the extended process with IBI Tech Support to isolate the problem in detail, especially when I can write around it more quickly. It's unfair to overbill them. I don't see that as IBI's fault, more a matter of that's-how-it-goes.

Francis, I told you before -- roll your own. It's not as hard as it looks to create your own web front ends and the code is way more maintainable. The folks in NY are required to create a tool that creates source code -- a metatool. That's hard. It's a very unenviable task necessary for the sales division. You don't have that requirement. You can just write your page straight up. Even linked drop-downs are pretty doggone easy to code when you can write it for each specific case.

J.



 
Posts: 916 | Location: At the Mast | Registered: May 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Expert
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John, I would love to "roll my own" and used too when I was younger. The clients of today are convinced by marketing material and sales pitches that the GUI can do everything - better and faster, so we have to live with machine-rolled stuff.


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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