WebFocus Keeps Web Reporting Honest

The increasing popularity of Web-based applications has increased the demand for tools that enable the accurate viewing and printing of reports generated from these applications.

In response to this demand for Web-based application support, Information Builders Inc. (New York) is shipping the latest release of its WebFocus Suite with both on-demand paging and Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) support.

WebFocus Suite 3.3.2a is designed to improve document management, report display and report printing, according to Larry Gordon, Information Builders' marketing manager. On-demand paging enables users to identify specific parts of a report they wish to download and/or print. Adobe Acrobat PDF files function as an alternative to HTML reports, preserving the original appearance of documents for accurate display, print or e-mail representation.

"WebFocus can be used by AS/400 shops, although the technology is not specific to the AS/400 market," Gordon says. "One advantage to the AS/400 market is Information Builders' relationship with J.D. Edwards and that company's OneWorld and WorldSoftware products."

Hydril Co., a Houston-based manufacturer of oil field equipment, recently implemented the latest release of WebFocus Suite on an AS/400 Model 640, running V4R2 of OS/400.

"WebFocus allows us to take data stored in the J.D. Edwards [WorldSoftware Version A7.3.8] reports we've developed and publish this information to our intranet, Web site and extranet," says Diane Furst, data warehousing administrator with Hydril.

"We decided on Information Builders because they had an entire suite of products that Hydril needed. Using Information Builders' data management products in conjunction with WebFocus, Hydril was able to publish information online using a single, cohesive toolset,” she adds.

Information Builders has been doing reporting as long as anyone else in the industry, observes Wayne Eckerson, VP of technical services with The Data Warehousing Institute (Gaithersburg, Md.). On the plus side, he says WebFocus incorporates the Focus language and offers a graphical front end. On the downside, however, companies without in-house Focus development language experience may be put off.

"WebFocus is a very powerful tool and is driving new business to Information Builders," Eckerson says. "[The product] attracts new customers who want Web functionality, enabling them to fulfill most of their reporting requirements over the Web, without having to worry about client software."