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Easytrieve to WebFocus

Easytrieve to WebFocus

Easytrieve to WebFocus


We're a large scale IBM mainframe shop.  Like a lot of similar shops, our users want a way to query mainframe data and view reports online.  For our batch stuff, we use Easytrieve a lot.  In looking at various tools to get online access to reports, I've seen a lot of good words for WebFocus.  One of the scenarios we might consider is replacing Easytrieve with WebFocus.  We'd then have the Focus batch reporting tools along with the ability to view the reports on the web.  In fact, IBI touts this as a viable approach to our problem.

Anybody out there have any 'words of wisdom' on doing this?

Thanks for your help...

RE: Easytrieve to WebFocus

I am not personally using mainframe files, but I know of two groups within my company that are using WebFocus to not only run reports from mainframe files, but are also kicking off batch processes that create reports. I think the batch processes are written in Focus however.

I'm a former SAS and Easytrieve user and had no problem picking up the FOCUS language.

RE: Easytrieve to WebFocus


If you are trying to verify IBI's claims, the short answer is, "everything they say is true".  The longer answer is, "It depends."

We are using WebFocus on an NT 4 running IIS and SNA Gateway, and we use LU6.2 for communications between the server and the mainframe (not TCP/IP).

We have been using mainframe Focus for 8+ years and WebFocus for 2+ years as a reporting tool almost exclusively (not as a database manager).  We are accessing standard and nonstandard VSAM files directly on the mainframe.  We chose to stay with the legacy back-end to take advantage of the exisitng mainframe security we have grown to trust and to eliminate the data transfer and timing headaches involved with recreating datamart files on smaller scale servers.

Defining the files to Focus was labor intensive since our files are numerous and rather large but once this was done, accessing the data is rather easy.  What little I know of Easytrieve would lead me to believe that you should not have any trouble picking up the Focus language.  Some of our programmers have stayed with Easytrieve, some have moved to Focus.

We have many end-users who write their own mainframe Focus code.  However, we are not using WebFocus as a development environment so our WebFocus users run only reports that we have developed for them (or they can write their own Focus program in the mainframe editor and run it through WebFocus).  Using HTML forms as the front-end gives most users more than enough flexibility to create the reports they need.

We found that about 25% of our users want to write their own code in one form or another.  The other 75% are more than content to have us program the job for them.  WebFocus permits us to write one report with enough flexibility to satisfy many user needs.  Also, preprogrammed WebFocus reports give the users an introduction to the databases which makes it easier for them, if they want to, to get into programming more complicated reports.

With Focus, you can create interactive and batch jobs very easily.  You can also create interactive front-ends that write JCL to the internal reader which then submits the job in the batch environment (useful when the job will take more than 10 minutes so that the user does not have to wait in the interactive Focus environment for the answer set).  We have also been able to use WebFocus to gather report parameters from the user using HTML forms and then we pass these parameters to the mainframe to run in the batch environment to create a mainframe file which the user can download.  (This gets around a major problem that we encountered with moving report results that had more than 1500 records from the mainframe to the browser - this usually takes hours and hangs the client machine.)

Note, again, that we are not using the desktop version of WebFocus.  We use an NT server as both an SNA gateway to the mainframe data and as the CGI server for conversion of the legacy report data into HTML.  Our users need not have anything other than a browser on their local PCs.

Once you get WebFocus working (we have a lot of scar tissue from working with WebFocus in our environment), it works great.  Some coding examples can be very helpful and we'll be glad to share.

Good luck.

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