What the Ravenblack Application Analyzer has in common with the pacemaker

Some of the world’s most important inventions and discoveries happened completely by accident. A few famous examples include penicillin, the microwave, and, the pacemaker.  Inventor Wilson Greatbatch was actually attempting to build a heart rhythm recording device, but ended up creating the pacemaker instead when he accidentally installed the wrong part. The result ended up being a far more valuable product that’s now been saving lives for more than 60 years.

Similarly, the Ravenblack Application Analyzer was initially created as a development tool but I was recently reminded of another important purpose for it that came out of our original invention (okay, this invention won’t save lives, but it might save some headaches).

In talking with delegates at the OpenText World conference in October, I had an ‘aha’ moment when considering the true value of this product. I realized the Analyzer features that will help developers can also provide significant value for system administrators and support personnel who typically have little information about the function and impact of WebReports on their system. Many Content Suite customers around the world have a legacy of WebReports-based functionality embedded in their system such as simple reports, interface modifications, bespoke applications, admin utilities, scheduled automation tasks, workflow steps, custom form views, event-triggered functionality, and Smart View widgets. The problem is that the folks responsible for these systems may not know what’s running on their system, what impact it has, and how to fix or extend this functionality for their users.

That’s where the Analyzer comes in. We initially developed this tool so that when I was working with customers and auditing their WebReports applications, I could figure out exactly what they had created and how it worked, which isn’t always easy to see in a Content Suite environment. Given that I’ve been working with WebReports for many years and needed a tool like this, it definitely stands to reason that this functionality would be useful for any administrator who is trying to control a system with WebReports-based solutions on it. The exciting thing for people in this position is that regardless of where the various WebReports and ActiveViews are located, the Analyzer has features to identify them in the context of where and how they are being used. For every WebReport object that is identified, users can automatically build a tree of all related WebReports objects, making it easier to understand how they work together, and making it easy to select and examine (or edit) them in context. The Analyzer is also designed so that users can progressively add notes and comments to objects as they find them; those notes are then prominently displayed in the tool, and automatically assembled into documentation. Thus, an administrator can incrementally create information to help them (or future administrators) to support the system. 

Of course, once the Analyzer has provided this context and understanding, they can then benefit from the enhanced development and optimization features – the original purpose we created this tool for! 

To learn more about this product, watch this video showing some of the handy features for administrators and support personnel, and this video showing 10 useful development features of the Analyzer. Alternatively you can always reach out to us for more information!


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