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Archive for April, 2012

Preferences

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Prior to designing reports, you should establish your preferences. Click on the Preferences block on the Navigator, or use the pull down menu Edit – Preferences.

The preferences form contains tabs which group the preferences into related areas. The form itself should have enough information about each of the preferences so you know what to enter.

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If you would like to have the time of sunset each day be displayed on your splash screen and available for schedule of reports, you need to add the latitude and longitude of your location on the Preferences form. There are a number of ways to do this from using a GPS at your location, to going to various websites that provide that information when you enter a city or zip code. Here is a simple method. Go to Google Maps. Zoom into your location. Right mouse click on your location and select “What’s here?” On the top of the web page in the search box, is the latitude and longitude. They are even in the right format. Enter the first number as the latitude on the preferences form and the second number as the longitude.

The Email tab contains the preferences to establish the connection to the SMTP server that will be used to send emails as well as the default values for the Email messages. If you are going to send password protected PDF attachments, enter the password here.

The FTP preferences include the required items to send a report file to an FTP site. By default the files will be sent to the root folder of the FTP site, but you can have subfolders and you can specify the subfolder as the destination folder when defining the Report Queue entry. Only reports processed from the queue can be sent to an FTP site.

Sunset Reports has the ability to create a semi-dynamic web site that does not require a web server. This is ideal for creating a web site and not having the complications of a web server. Since Sunset Reports can automatically create web pages and update the web site, it is referred to as a semi-dynamic web site. The Web preference to “Create Home Page” if set to yes, will create an index.htm file in the repository so the repository can be a local static web site for reports and the home page will contain links to the files. Files indexed include PDF, HTML, HTM, and MHT. If an IndexMaster.htm file exists, it will be used as part of the Home Page. This allows you to create a custom home page with a logo. If you do not have this file, a default home page will be created. The repository may contain subfolders and these are treated as groups and will appear as a link on the parent index.htm and will open a new index.htm file created in the subfolder. This allows you to group reports and organize the static web site more. You might also use this feature to provide security on the website, using Windows security to give access to users by subfolder.

The Data preferences are optional but very useful. By establishing a common data connection, creating data sources becomes real easy. The tab contains the preferences “Primary/Preferred Data Connection” (PDC) and “Secondary Data Connection” (SDC). These are data connection strings that are very specific to the database you are connecting to.  Note that your reports are not just limited to these two data connections.  By changing this preference, all report designs with the data source type PDC or SDC will be updated to the new data source. Creating the PDC and SDC is made easy by using the Report Designer wizard or the Query Builder.

XML Data Reporting

April 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports can connect directly to XML data files.  Using the XML Data Path property, browse to the XML file.   The data contained in the file including the schema is now available as a data source for your report.

Information Management

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

If you refer to the definition of “Information Management (IM)” from Wikipedia, you will see that IM “is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. …. the organization of and control over the structure, processing, and delivery of information”

Does this definition describe Sunset Reports?   Actually this definition is exactly what Sunset Reports does.    You can define many sources of information from databases, Excel documents, or any other type of file created by another system.   With the query builder, report designer, calculations, scripting, etc., information can be processed.   The delivery of information can take many forms in terms of file formats.    Delivery can be scheduled and there are several destination types including websites, shared folders, cloud services, email, and more.

Document Map

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

When viewing a report in the print preview window, you can simplify the navigation through complex and hierarchial reports by using a document map.   This map shows the hierarchy of the report bookmarks in a tree structure. If the current report has a data source, the Bookmark property can be bound to a data field, obtained from the data source. To do this, expand the (Data Bindings) property, and in the Bookmark.Binding dropdown selector, select the required data field.

Localization

April 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Both imperial (inches) and metric (centimeters) units of measurement are available for your report design.   By changing one report property, you can switch between these measuring systems for the entire report.

Categories: Features Tags:

Web Capabilities

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports has several capabilities for the web. These include:

  • Saving reports as HTML and MHT
  • Automatically creating index web pages for report folders
  • Sending files to web sites via FTP
  • Designing web pages using the report designer with tables, labels, images, rich text controls, lines, shapes, navigation targets and navigation urls.
  • Preview designs in HTML

Use on Mobile Devices

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports can work as a great tool for viewing reports on mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, or other smartphone via Email, FTP, or Web pages. The Push/Pull capabilities via Email and the report server function in Sunset Reports provides everything you need for viewing reports. Report design is best handled on the Windows based hardware where the databases generally reside.

The PDF’s generated by Sunset Reports can be sent to your iPhone and iPad  and they look great and are easy to view using iBooks. 

A good scenerio used by many users is to receive reports from Sunset Reports each morning via email on their iPad. The email comes to you when you are at home when you are connected via WiFi. Then when you leave for the day, your iPad has the reports you need without an internet connection. This process works great. You never have to wait for your reports to run or download. They are there when you need them and the PDF quality is wonderful. You can even forward or share the reports as necessary.