Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Converting NOMAD 4GL to WebFOCUS

If your organization still uses the NOMAD 4GL, Kencura Systems have a cost-effective option for modernizing your applications and retiring NOMAD.  With our software, we can leverage your legacy investments by automatically translating much of your logic into WebFOCUS. 

Back in the 1980s, the competing 4GL products were NOMAD, RAMIS, and FOCUS.  Today, only the FOCUS 4GL is still owned by its original developers.  Companies still relying upon NOMAD and RAMIS are few and far between (see my 2008 blog entry). 

Since releasing the next-generation web version of FOCUS around 1995, Information Builders and their customers have done extremely well with the new architecture.  Thousands of well-known organizations use WebFOCUS: NASA, American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Ford Motor Company, Nationwide Insurance, FedEx, Target Stores, Sony, and JCPenney, just to name a few.

If you still have NOMAD, now is the time to consider moving to modern technologies.  Here is a list of how the BI Modernization application converts specific NOMAD features into a WebFOCUS equivalent:

• Report verb (LIST) and extract file verb (CREATE)

• Multiple verb requests in a single program file

• Original program comments carried forward into generated WebFOCUS code

• Calculations of virtual columns (DEFINE)


• Aggregation functions (CNT, SUM, UNIQUE, MAX, MIN, AVG, FIRST, LAST, NUMBER)

• Distinct Count

• Page headings and footings (TITLE and FOOTING)

• Report footings (SUMMARY)

• Report body (columns)

• Report sorting (BY column) and subtotal break (SUBTOTAL FOR)

• Sort control breaks (BYHEAD and BYFOOT)

• Matrix report sorting (ACROSS column) and row-total (ROWTOT)

• Descending sort option (DESC)

• Report options (NEWPAGE, FOLD, SKIP, OVER)

• Report grand totals (TOTAL ALL)

• Body and sort column invisible option (NOPRINT)

• Column titles (HEADING)

• Column reformatting (AS format)

• Selection criteria (WHERE, SELECT)

• Column spot markers in text (COLUMN)

• Symbolic variable setting (SET &variable) on sort columns

• Symbolic variables used in text (&variable)

• Symbolic substitution using the ‘?(&variable)’ syntax after pre-scan and prior to execution

• Prompting of symbolic variables and formatting (DECLARE AS) *exception is DATE format

• FOR WORKSHEET and LOTUS123 extract file options

• ON filename option

• Extract file (CREATE) subsets with MATCHING (EXTRACT, SUBSET, MERGE, REJECT)

• Support for NOT IN phrases

• Support for some system variable (&NOTAVAILABLE, &NOVALUE)

• Equivalency tests with &NOTAVAILABLE converted to MISSING tests

• Support for DUP option to force sort values not to be suppressed (WebFOCUS BYDISPLAY)

• Procedural scripting labels and unconditional GOTO statements


• HEADING option on DEFINEd columns (ignored)

• NAMED option on columns (WebFOCUS “AS” and ASNAMES setting)

• SYSTEM ALLOC and FREE commands (translated to TSO commands – may need to translate for USS)

• CALL routines translated to EXEC (see translation notes)

• TEST and LIMIT statements are translated to RECORDLIMIT

To convert legacy BI products, Kencura Systems employ our "DAPPER" approach, proceeding through the following phases:
D - Discover
A - Analyze
P - Perform Pilot Conversion
P - Plan for Full Conversion
E - Execute the Plan in a phased approach
R - Retire the legacy BI product
One of our first steps in a BI conversion is to get an accurate inventory of the existing legacy environment.  Using our automated discovery and inventory application, we can quickly provide you with details for scoping a conversion effort.  Contact us for more information.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Running WebFOCUS BI Applications on the iPhone

Have you ever considered accessing your WebFOCUS BI applications from your phone?  You can if you own the Apple iPhone.  For more information, see my general BI blog or contact me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Information Builders' Summit 2010

Information Builders has announced details for Summit 2010, their premier annual event bringing together users of their WebFOCUS Business Intelligence product, iWay Software enterprise integration product, and FOCUS 4GL.

For the past two years, Information Builders has hosted the conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. This year, the venue switches to another Gaylord location: the Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.  The event runs from Saturday, June 5th, through Wednesday, June 9th.

Watch the IBI Summit 2010 webpage for more information as it becomes available.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who is Partner Intelligence?

Partner Intelligence provides technical consulting services to organizations using (or considering) the WebFOCUS Enterprise Business Intelligence software product. We offer BI strategic advice, application development, and automated conversion services.

From our corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, we serve North America and have a focus on major Midwest cities such as Columbus, Indianapolis, and Louisville.

WebFOCUS customers come to Partner Intelligence for results they are not currently getting on their own. Clients engage us when they:
  • Implement Business Intelligence and need to establish the proper foundation for success
  • Build new BI applications and need expertise, experience, and ideas
  • Replace legacy BI applications and need methodologies and tools for efficient removal
  • Need to deal with stalled or failed BI initiatives
  • Need onsite BI mentors or trainers to increase their staff capabilities

We provide clients with deep technical expertise in WebFOCUS for BI application development. Our consultants use methodologies, templates, and tools to efficiently complete project-based engagements.

As a long-term local partner, we are committed to delivering success at a fair value.  When you need WebFOCUS services, contact Partner Intelligence.

About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.