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I work for a state university as a developer (the sysadmins are in another department, but as I imagine it is everywhere sometimes duties overlap). I often have questions about some of the software products that we use, and the questions are in no way appropriate for SuperUser.

One such product is called Appworx. It is made by a company called Automic (though these thing get traded around and merged so often I can hardly keep track). Think of it as cron on steroids and bath salts (mostly bath salts). You can schedule jobs that are shell scripts of Oracle procedures or just about anything else, put conditions and notifications and a bunch of other crap. They can become complex enough that they're almost like simple programs themselves.

Would questions about this software product be off-topic? I do not have simple, zero-research questions. I feel as if I could answer many questions myself about it, were they to be asked.

Sample question:

How do I configure the IMPEXP built-in job in Appworx such that objects are pre-mapped during export?

Some background for those unfamiliar with the software: You export jobs and chains (sequences of jobs) via an export menu in the test server's interface, then import it in a similar way on the production server. But that menu just kicks off an unscheduled, ad hoc job. I chucked that into a chain that in addition to exporting it also checks it into git, adds the chain to an inventory page on Confluence, etc. But the IMPEXP job takes a parameter called "map file" or something like that, and it's not clear if this can be used when exporting, or only when importing.

Not quite a programming question, definitely not a user question.

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Generally the deciding factor is going to be whether the question pertains to administering the system.

If the question is about installing or maintaining the system, (e.g. How do I configure the Appworx Agent?) then it would be appropriate, but if it's about using the system as an end-user, (e.g. How do I submit a Banner job?) then it probably would not be, and you would be better served by your existing support channels.

I will also note that it doesn't appear that any questions about Appworx have ever been asked here, so even if the questions are on topic, they might not get timely answers. And if no moderators even understand the question, such as your sample question, then it likely won't be closed...

  • I'll include a sample question via edit. Thanks Mike. – John O Oct 22 '13 at 4:46
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    @johno My inclination is that your sample question is off topic because "You should ask Appworx support!" -- As mentioned in the answer, SF is more geared to systems aspects. ("how do I deploy/manage/update 5000 Appworx agents in my environment?") , but use of a commercial product is why we pay for support. That said, as a "cron replacement" it's definitely a gray area :-) – voretaq7 Oct 22 '13 at 6:24
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    @voretaq these are the people that screwed up an upgrade just a few weeks back such that I'll have to go through and manually fix hundreds of jobs in production after the upgrade is done. They're worthless at supporting their own product. I trust you guys more. Also "cron on bath salts". – John O Oct 22 '13 at 12:15
  • I would say the last "paragraph" makes a valid point. You might be better off asking app specific questions in their own forum (if they exist) on the apps website. I think you might end up with crickets here though. – TheCleaner Oct 22 '13 at 13:08
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    @JohnO Bad support sucks, but SF is fighting a never-ending battle against being "Tech Support For The Internets" (to the point where some companies have told their users to ask stuff here rather than having a proper support department!) -- If support is useless then a question like "How can I automate doing X for product/reason Y on platform Z? I've spoken to Y support but they had no suggestions to offer." might be ok, but it's skating the edge of the "We're not tech support" line. – voretaq7 Oct 22 '13 at 15:10
  • @voretaq I'm not here to ask stupid questions. And this is why I asked here first, rather than asking the actual questions. I don't mean to do that company any favors (they sure as hell don't do me any), but I have questions and no where to ask them. – John O Oct 22 '13 at 18:25
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My brain is in shock trying to make sense of the pages and pages of buzz-words on the Automic web site... Is that stuff really considered ERP?

Anyway, based on my (not extensive) experience with ERP systems and (a bit more) with enterprise-wide financial systems, I wouldn't consider questions like your example to be systems admin. They're not necessarily development in the usual sense, but systems like this need a lot of work (call it what you will: customization, development, implementation, tailoring...) to make them function for a particular company, and to me that's closer to developing the system than to administering it.

And if you look at the very small # of posts on ERP systems (~150 for SAP, and lot of those are incidental mentions of SAP, ~30 for OpenERP), it seems very unlikely that the people who might know about your automation product are posting here. By contrast, there are almost 3000 OpenERP questions on StackOverflow, and you've even got some answers (don't know if they're any good) to your Appworx questions over there.

  • Some people know about it, MHampton above certainly does... or can fake it really well. Don't know if ERP is quite right or not. And yes, Automic.com is awful. And I agree... it's not quite development, but it sure seems like it. – John O Oct 22 '13 at 12:19
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    @JohnO I can fake it really well. I'd never heard of Appworx until last night. But I have a lot of experience with getting up to speed rapidly on totally unknown things. :) – Michael Hampton Oct 22 '13 at 14:45

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