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Gold member
posted
We are currently evaluating the product and have not been to any training sessions yet. IBI speaks frequently about the ease of report development with WebFOCUS and from their demos this appears to be the case. However, upon a cursory examination of this forum, the tone I see is that apparently most here have abandoned the GUI and are developing solely in the "FOCUS" language. Am I reading this wrong due to my ignorance of the product or is this the way it is?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can share.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: JDroke,


________________________________________________________________________________________
WebFOCUS 7.6.8 + Windows Server 2003 + DB2/400
 
Posts: 66 | Location: Nashville, TN, USA | Registered: January 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Master
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The GUI is great to get started with. We have power users with Power Report, which is a good value version of ds. They do all their development in there, but the better ones are starting to code.

As you get more expert you tend to use the GUI less. I only use it for report layouts now.

Much of the power of wf comes from DM, dialogue manager, which is a language that creates the eventual webfocus code that gets executed. Dev Studio is not great at handling this.

The problem that wf has is that slickness of the gui in dev studio is often unfavorably compared with Microshaft's offerings which have about 100 times the R&D. This is a problem for all small sw companies.

Mastering wf language will eventually give you more flexibility than other BI tools but takes more effort!



Server: WF 7.6.2 ( BID/Rcaster) Platform: W2003Server/IIS6/Tomcat/SQL Server repository Adapters: SQL Server 2000/Oracle 9.2
Desktop: Dev Studio 765/XP/Office 2003 Applications: IFS/Jobscope/Maximo
 
Posts: 888 | Location: Airstrip One | Registered: October 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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Hi JDroke,

The great thing about WebFOCUS is that you can choose to make reports in GUI or in code. I know people who prefer GUI and I know people who prefer code.

I think the GUI works very nice, but personally I almost always prefer code. It's not just WebFOCUS, it's with every tool I use. For me it works faster.

Frans


Test: WF 8.2
Prod: WF 8.2
DB: Progress, REST, IBM UniVerse/UniData, SQLServer, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Greenplum, Athena.
 
Posts: 453 | Location: Europe | Registered: February 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Shane>
posted
I will tell you as a fellow new user, one of our showstoppers in getting a BI product was that none of our developers would need to learn a proprietary language. The sales people assured us that there was no need to learn a language because everything was drag-and-drop. After only 2 months of using WebFOCUS, we've been working solely in the code because the GUI erases a lot of the customized stuff we've needed to do to get the graphs to look and behave the way we've wanted them to.

I agree with hammo1j. The GUI is great to get started and doing report layouts. But for anything fancy, you'll have to get into the code.

Shane
 
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Virtuoso
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WebFocus is a great, and yes the GUI Can do a lot..but you will end up in the code. Do everyone a favor take a WebFocus class...and then take a underlying Focus code class. Developers will be happier. This Forum is great after you have a basic understanding of what you are doing...and need a little help.


In Focus since 1993. WebFOCUS 7.7.03 Win 2003
 
Posts: 1903 | Location: San Antonio | Registered: February 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold member
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My experience shows that if you offer your Users access to the GUI tool only, there eventually learn to get the report and graph there are after and also understand it's limitations. If there is any missing functionality you can always cantact IBI. The issue with moving away from using the GUI tool is that ones doesn't get the chance to learn all it's functionality.


Webfocus 7.6.2 on Windows Enterprise 2003 Server and
Webfocus 7.6.2 on HP Unix Server
 
Posts: 74 | Location: London | Registered: January 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Virtuoso
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As someone who started with the core language years ago and moved to the GUI world only recently, I have mixed feelings. I have been able to do with the GUI about everything I could with the code as suited our needs. However, there are times when the code is faster for the need. Also, we recently converted many of our old mainframe fex, which were converted to at least run with parms on the 4.xx world to the more current 7.6x world. If we wanted to use the GUI to manipulate, joins would not be recognized because they didn't fit a particular structure and so on. The GUI is a great starter tool, but the more complex you want to get you almost have to go to the code.

I'd say I agree on report layout in the GUI definitely. Really complex?? mixed feelings, have a directive to use it as much as possible however.

Good luck.


Leah
 
Posts: 1317 | Location: Council Bluffs, IA | Registered: May 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Expert
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There used to be a line that stated - You can get great looking report using WebFOCUS - or something similar and I would whole heartedly agree.

However, I would add that if you want to get superb looking reports then you will eventually have to move into raw code.

Now, that might sound like a onerous thing, but in my experience seasoned coders can learn the basic fundementals of the language in days. In my past, I have cross trained several Cobol programmers to be effective WF coders and normally had comments on how easy the language was compared to their saftey zone of Cobol II.

I would also suggest that a good understandiung of HTML, JavaScript and ASP wouldn't be wasted either.

This forum is one of the best (IMHO) and the folks here are always willing to assist those who are trying to learn. Ask a question and you generally get half a dozen answers Wink

One final comment, being in Nashville you could always hit the Summit this year and meet WF people from the wider community and talk to them face to face. This would undoubtedly give you great access to thoughts and views. I would suggest that views can be subjective though and you ultimately might agree or disagree.

If you do go with WF then welcome to our community!!

T



In FOCUS
since 1986
WebFOCUS Server 8.2.01M, thru 8.2.07 on Windows Svr 2008 R2  
WebFOCUS App Studio 8.2.06 standalone on Windows 10 
 
Posts: 5694 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: April 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold member
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A big thanks to everyone who took the time to reply!


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WebFOCUS 7.6.8 + Windows Server 2003 + DB2/400
 
Posts: 66 | Location: Nashville, TN, USA | Registered: January 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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Hi there,

i think if you have clear data structures set out then the GUI will do a lot for you.

Me? i did a three day course on the painter and then went straight back to code- the power does come in the dialogue manager but also when you learn the code its actually quicker to knock up reports than traversing the painter.


Developer Studio 7.64
Win XP
Output: mostly HTML, also Excel and PDF

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Heinlein's Razor
 
Posts: 285 | Location: UK | Registered: October 26, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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This might be a very limited view, but a lot of the younger folks cringe when faced with nothing but code. Lots of them are used to some kind of GUI workbench like Visual Studio or something so they don't have to remember each and every syntax or each and every property or method of an object. And I haven't written html without a GUI in so long. Webfocus has that fancy HTML Painter that ties html to your fexes easily. Now, when you are a contract worker like me and you don't have access to all kinds of training and you have to get training on your own, Self-study on some areas of Webfocus (like the HTML Painter) can be achieved because of the GUI - I would play around the painter, then look at the TEXT version of the code that gets created. Or, sometimes I would find I need some functionality I'm not familiar with like how to change the color of a single column... I would go and create a simple CAR file report using the Report Painter, change the color of the column and look at the TEXT version of the code to get the syntax. Or, when I need to produce something really fast, I always go to the GUIs. I was a mainframe programmer for 15 years but I don't think I can work without some form of GUI workbench anymore...


WF 8.1.05 Windows
 
Posts: 333 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: October 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Member
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JD,

I'm in agreement with the others. Start out with the GUI. Get the essentials of what you want, all of what you want if your need is simple, then go to the code and add stuff that the GUI does'nt support or supports poorly. You'll learn what to do with which tool only by peersonal experience with both.

The true power of the code lies in Dialogue Manager, a text string preprocessor that alters the executable code before it's executed. It lets you write a program that modifies itself before its run. DevStudio is poor at DM.

As an old-line COBOL, FORTRAN, PL1 guy, I appreciate the ease with which I can do very complex things with FOCUS code, and DM 'kicks it up a notch'.

Get some basic training in both the GUI and the code. Make some reports in the GUI, then edit them in the Text Editor and see how the code relates to what you described in the GUI.

Chris Burtt


WIN/2K running WF 7.6.4
Development via DevStudio 7.6.4, MRE, TextEditor.
Data is Oracle, MS-SQL.
 
Posts: 154 | Location: NY | Registered: October 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Master
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JD, A lot of us here are old FOCUS programmers and have been doing this since well before the GUI tools were the quality of those available today. We know the code and it is easier for us to use it out of habit than it is to learn the GUI tool. Starting with 7.0, the GUI got so easy to use that when I started a program, I would always start there and drag and drop my fields. My report would be about 90% complete before I ever looked at the code to add the window dressing. I am encouraging the company I now work for to upgrade so that users can create their own programs in Dev Studio.


Pat
WF 7.6.8, AIX, AS400, NT
AS400 FOCUS, AIX FOCUS,
Oracle, DB2, JDE, Lotus Notes
 
Posts: 755 | Location: TX | Registered: September 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
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This is my first experience with focus- im from an sql/acces/vb bacvkground and only really used vb in code preferring the GUI to do database queries an actions but just find that (for the kind of report im doing) that coding is better for me despite naturally gravatating to GUI over code - i think the best suggestion is what others have said- use them in parallel...

that said doing visual layout stuff in pure code is not fun but i like the idea that you could potentially get to a stage where you know your syntax so well that you could get work done away from dev studio in a simple text editor and then import it in...


Developer Studio 7.64
Win XP
Output: mostly HTML, also Excel and PDF

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Heinlein's Razor
 
Posts: 285 | Location: UK | Registered: October 26, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Expert
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JDroke,
the difference is that this language , Focus, has been around for decades, long before any GUI exhisted. So the language development has been deeply rooted in linguistics, and so many of us are 'fluent' in the language. Which is why we might use a GUI for learning a new feature, but we *prefer* to code because we *think* in the language.
If you're fluent in, say, French, then imagine being forced to communicate using only a Berlitz phrase book. That's what using only a GUI is like to those who are fluent. Even in HTML, do you use the authoring tool like FrontPage or Expressions *all* the time, or do you crack open the pages and work on them by hand?

In any development tool, using only a GUI limits you to doing what someone else has provided for you to do.
Using code means you can do anything you can think up. And most people on this forum are thinking stuff up, which is why we're here.
Those who only use the GUI don't have to be here, much anyway. Development Tools that *limit* you to the GUI only require that your DBA's are perfect, your databases are perfect, your world is perfect, and you're only a drag&drop away from displaying that perfection.
IMHO anyway.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: susannah,




In Focus since 1979///7706m/5 ;wintel 2008/64;OAM security; Oracle db, ///MRE/BID
 
Posts: 3811 | Location: Manhattan | Registered: October 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold member
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Great post susannah! My background is AS/400 RPG, dBase, Clipper, VB, ASP so I know exactly what you are saying. And again, thanks to everyone else who has also responded recently.


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WebFOCUS 7.6.8 + Windows Server 2003 + DB2/400
 
Posts: 66 | Location: Nashville, TN, USA | Registered: January 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Expert
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you're in nashville? i went to school there. You'll be at Summit this year in June at Opryland, of course? I'm taking all my friends to dinner at the Loveless. Smiler




In Focus since 1979///7706m/5 ;wintel 2008/64;OAM security; Oracle db, ///MRE/BID
 
Posts: 3811 | Location: Manhattan | Registered: October 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold member
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Yes and yes.


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Posts: 66 | Location: Nashville, TN, USA | Registered: January 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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