Monday, July 23, 2012

WebFOCUS Personal Development Environments

If you are not familiar with the concept of having multiple images of WebFOCUS, see this blog posting. Typically, companies will have a chain of "promotable" instances for software development:
  • Development: where the developers can have an isolated work area
  • Testing: where developers don't interrupt the business/IT testers
  • Production QA (AKA PQA, User Acceptance Testing, UAT): where business users can test in a clean environment
  • Production: where everything always works 

In an ideal situation, each of these images is almost identical to the others. That makes promoting work from one to the other cleaner. If your BI application worked in one, it should work in the next. 

Some companies use the WebFOCUS Developer Studio as a "Personal Development Environment." Instead of (or perhaps in addition to) having a stand-alone environment for Development, coders can build applications on their personal machine and then promote them later. In this way, there will be no conflict with other developers or testers. 

This means that each developer needs to install a complete WebFOCUS environment:
  • WebFOCUS Report Server 
  • WebFOCUS Client web tier
  • WebFOCUS Developer Studio 
  • Database adapters (which require credentials to access the data) 
  • Optional components (e.g., Distribution Server, ReportCaster, InfoAssist, R Stat, etc.)

Each developer also needs a personal web server and Java app server. He or she probably also needs drivers and security rights to directly access the BI databases. 

I am not a proponent of using this "localhost" environment as a personal development environment which would then be promoted into the "real" corporate environment. Rarely is the developer's personal computer setup like the corporate WebFOCUS environments, meaning that promoting from one to the other is prone to error and frustration, wasting everybody's time. 

The full Developer Studio product with the localhost environment costs more. Instead, you could forego the localhost features and pay a thousand dollars less. 

Setting up database credentials on a personal computer could also lead to security issues. 

If you ignore my recommendation and still go this route, you will probably run into one particular little issue that tends to pop up. 

Once you get the web components installed and Developer Studio setup for a local development environment, you may still get an error when you try to start your own WebFOCUS Report Server. You might see this error message: user xxx is not authorized to start Workspace Manager.

To fix this, find the administrative configuration file that should be at: C:\ibi\srv77\home\bin\admin.cfg (my example here uses the Windows WebFOCUS 7.7 release, so change this to correspond to your implementation). 

Note: if you are using a "temporary" Report Server that runs only when Developer Studio is being used (you did not install a real WFRS), then your administration configuration file will instead be here: C:\ibi\DevStudio77\srv77\profiles\admin.cfg. 

Within this file, add yourself as an administrator. For example:

admin_id = COMPANYDOMAIN\youruserid
  admin_level = SRV

Try to start the server again and it should work. 

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With over 20 years of industry experience, Doug Lautzenheiser has provided business intelligence services for well-known organizations such as Procter & Gamble, JPMorgan Chase, Omnicare, Wendy’s International, the State of Indiana, and the State of Oklahoma. ComputerWorld recognized one of Doug's projects with honors for innovative use of technology.  Doug is a featured blogger on BI software at Smart Data Collective.

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