WebFOCUS™ FAQ
  1. Can WebFOCUS™ use ODBC?.
  2. Does everything have to be installed on one machine?
  3. Do I need to use the developers workbench?
  4. The original programs were developed against MS SQL Server® on NT and we are going to migrate the Database to Oracle® on UNIX. Do we have to rewrite the application?
  5. What's Parameterized Reporting?
  6. Why should I care about legacy data and systems?
  7. How can Report Bursting Save Money
  8. What type of resource do I need for WebFOCUS™?

Can WebFOCUS™ use ODBC?.?

Yes, it can.  You need to have the ODBC interfaces, but if you do then WebFOCUS™ can use ODBC.  Before, setting this up.  First, establish your ODBC connection and then note the name and login information.  Then when your are loading the EDA server portion of WebFOCUS, chose ODBC as one of the options.  It will then walk you through the set up. However, WebFOCUS™ has it's own database access mechanisms and they can access data sources that ODBC can't get to.

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Does everything have to be installed on one machine?

No, WebFOCUS™ is extremely flexible in this regard.  If you wish, you can have everything on one machine.  This is the simplest way to do it.  But you may run into resource constraints. WebFOCUS™, the database and the Web Server will all be competing for resources on that one machine.  You could put the database and the EDA Server on one machine and the Web Server and CGI/ISAPI on another.  Or you could put the EDA Server on machine B, the Web Server and CGI/ISAPI on machine B, and the database on machine C.  IBI doesn't recommend that but it can be done.  Also, you can mix operating systems. One machine can be running UNIX and another MVS. 

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Do I need to use the developers workbench?

No, the developers workbench is not necessary.  For those of us who can write FOCUS™ code, the developers work bench may actually take more time.  There are a couple of ways to approach this problem.  First, write the focexecs using FOCUS 6™, mainframe FOCUS or notepad.  Then have the administrator import them and publish them using the Developers Workbench.  You can ignore the whole thing, if you chose (and I generally do).  The only key is to make sure that you store it in a directory that the EDA server will search for execution. Do this just edit the EDA PATH statement.  You should keep the HTML pages that are called by reports and the Focexecs in a directory that's in the EDA path. Also, remember that anything sent back by the CGI must have a fully qualified name. That means if you are referencing a gif on the webserver make sure it's fully qualified.

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The original programs were developed against MS SQL Server® on NT and we are going to migrate the Database to Oracle® on UNIX. Do we have to rewrite the application?

No, that's one of the things that makes this tools so powerful - it's so portable. WebFOCUS™ (as is FOCUS™ in general) is both data independent and platform independent.  If you keep the table name and column names the same, then your WebFOCUS™ code won't know the difference. Also, if you are using Copy Manager™ to load extract and load your data, it will rebuild the load routines in Oracle for you. This is a major savings as well.  In development you can also save some money. Your developers could be running against SQL Server databases on NT, which is cheaper than Oracle licenses.  Then you could do final testing on UNIX against the Oracle tables.  

If somebody has VSAM tables with lots of FOCUS™ reports, they can put them on the Web and at a later time port the data to a relational DBMS.  

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What's Parameterized Reporting?

If you use a simple database reporting tool like Microsoft's Access® you can set up parameters in selection criteria, for example to prompt for a year.  So the query will extract using a where clause that has the year you entered.  WebFOCUS™ is far more powerful than that.  You set up parameters that are used in selection criteria values like the MS Access example, but you can have parameters for what fields you extract, what fields are used for selection, what tables are queried, what code is executed.  The list goes on and on.  It's very, very powerful.  This is a major savings in development.  The same code can produce several 'different' reports depending on what the user wants.  The experienced developer can use the powerful 4GL to do things in a few lines of code that would take pages and pages of code in a 3GL like visual basic.

The Gartner Group estimates that 60% of an average Enterprise's reporting requirements are best meet by parametized reports.

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Why should I care about legacy data and systems?

Yes, it's all going to be on UNIX or NT in a relational database.  Well we would all like to say that is how things are or are going to be.  Unfortunately as the Y2K issue shows, organizations still run on legacy systems.  There's very little economic justification for changing them unless the business can get a financial reward from doing it.  Ask any CIO who has gone to management for money for a new Order Ship Bill System (OSB) when the one they had was working fine.  That's about a five minute conversation and the CIO leaves empty handed.

So that data is going to be there for a long time.  You may be able to stage all of the data for analysis and reporting.  But it's cheaper and faster to stage the most critical data and then allow drill through to the details when needed.  If you can't read legacy data, then you have to stage all the data.  Which is more expensive and time consuming.  

If youd don't have all the data staged in a relational store, and the business has a critical requirement for reports based on the unstaged data, then you have a problem.  WebFOCUS allows you to go against that data and get the reports out to meet the business needs.  You then have the time to stage the data if you need to do so.

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How can Reporting Bursting Save Money?

With automatic report bursting, you can run a report once and have each recipient get only the part of the report that is relevant to them.  For example you could run a report of sales by sales region and salesman. The regional manager gets the summary and each salesman's report.  The salesman gets only their report.  You read the data only once.  That cuts down on processing.  The distribution is electronic which cuts down on paper, handling and delivery costs.  A large software company based in Washington state (guess who) uses WebFOCUS in exactly this way to provide financial reports via e-mail to their clients.

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What type of resource do I need for WebFOCUS®?

The resources needed for WebFOCUS are minimal.  The installation needs much less than 100 megs of disk space, but reserving that much space would be a good idea.  The base memory requirements are .5 megabytes plus 2.5 megabytes for every user on the system.  A more conservative approach would be to size the machine either as a web server, a database server, or a combination.  Determine the processor, disk, and memory needed to perform those functions under Windows NT®.  That should make sure that you wouldn't have any problem with WebFOCUS®.  Remember Memory RULES!  Adding more memory is never a bad idea and is fairly inexpensive.  A couple of hundred dollars more can give big performance boosts.   

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Revised: July 04, 2001 .

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