Still, all along it has seemed to me that the "FOCUS" was more important than the "Web."
I am ready to say that in 2012 my worldview of WebFOCUS has changed. It has become clear to me that we recently hit a tipping point in WebFOCUS where the web technologies are more important than the FOCUS 4GL aspects.
Since the mid-1990s, Information Builders has been working on GUI tools that could automatically generate the FOCUS 4GL. They are near the point where they do such a great job that painting a sophisticated report is simple. Looking under the covers is almost unnecessary.
Their upcoming re-design of the Developer Studio IDE into the new-and-improved Application Studio is proof of that. That improvement comes after their great job in producing InfoAssist, a beautiful end-user ad hoc report writer that rivals that from competitors such as Business Objects, IBM Cognos, and MicroStrategy.
The new Application Studio is intended for IT professionals but is meant to resemble the easy-to-use InfoAssist.
With each new enhancement to its GUI tools, IBI has made building reports easier. What has become harder, however, is all of the web application development work needed in the overarching web solution. Information Builders is releasing the new BI Portal in WebFOCUS 8 which should address some of this.
It's not just sophisticated web portals and dashboards, but mobile applications as well. A web BI developer needs to be well versed in HTML5 while keeping an eye on native mobile app technologies such as Objective-C.
If you want to succeed as a WebFOCUS developer, place more importance on your web skills than on WebFOCUS itself. If you have been specializing in the FOCUS 4GL for decades, I know this is hard to hear.
Now is the time to view your FOCUS 4GL skills as an old favorite tool to be stored away in your technology shed. Hang it on a peg on the back wall where you can get to it if you need but, by all means, stop wearing it on your belt.