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Archive for May, 2012

Knowledge Worker

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment

From Wikipedia, a Knowledge worker is a worker whose main capital is knowledge.   The term is sometimes confused with Information Worker, which is a person who captures data and turns it into information.   Information Worker may be a more accurate name for someone who uses Sunset Reports.

The right tool can make being an information worker much more productive and that is what Sunset Reports is all about.   If you need to take data and …

  • Analyze it
  • Disseminate it
  • Organize it
  • Monitor it

… then check out our product.   It is probably just what you need.

This Website on the iPad

May 30, 2012 Leave a comment

This website has a special viewing feature when viewed on an iPad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t forget to click on the Menu button on the top right to see a submenu with all the pages available as well as the most popular categories.

You can always click on the bottom and view the site in the standard format.

Product Integration

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

In the last two posts about Quickbooks (CleverQ) and Medical Software (PsychNotesEMR) , you saw how Sunset Reports can enhance other software by providing a reporting solution.   Sunset Reports will enhance your software as well, by providing a complete reporting tool and information management solution.   To find out more contact us at Sales@SoftwareForProfessionals.com.

Medical Software

May 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Software for Professionals is a reseller of a medical software product called PsychNotesEMR.  This software package provides mental health professionals a complete solution for Electronic Medical Records (EMR), appointments, billing, claims, evaluations, progress notes, medications, and prescriptions.   Sunset Reports is an available add-on to this software and provides a means to custom design your own reports and documents.   To find out more, click HERE.

Business Asset

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the most important assets in business is DATA and when the data is turned into INFORMATION, it becomes the primary asset of a business.   Transforming data from a variety of sources, making it accessible, and presenting it in a form that is useful is the main purpose of Sunset Reports.    Timely information and business intelligence in the right format gives managers the ability to

  • Make quicker decisions
  • Make smarter dicisions
  • Adapt to changes
  • Affect the bottom line

With Sunset Reports, you do not have to manually run reports, they can be delivered on demand or scheduled to occur on a recurring basis.    They can be delivered to a manager’s workstation or portable device like a smartphone or tablet.   They can show up on a website, email, or message.

Database Export Tool

May 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports can work as a great database export tool to retrieve data from a variety of sources and then save them to a different file format that can be used by other software.   Refer to the post on Data Sources to see all the possibilities for input.   The report design for exporting should be a simple table object.   Each column in the table will be a field that get’s exported.   The typical export types that can be used to create files that can be read by other software include:  XLS, XLSX, CSV, and Text.   The first figure shows how you would create a simple report design for defining the fields to include in the export.   You can decide which fields and in which order you want to them to appear.   By using the reports sorting and filtering options, you can define the order and what data is to be exported as well.   With the formatting property of each table cell, you can specify the format of each data element.

The next figure shows the export options you can attach to the report design.

For the CSV and Text exports you will find a property called “Encoding”.   This property has a dropdown list containing different encoding schemes.  In the list below, click on the link to learn more about each encoding scheme.

Windows-1252
US-ASCII
UTF-16
unicodeFFFE
utf-7
utf-8
utf-32

For more information about encoding, check out this MSDN article.

Online Data – Data.gov

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The web offers so many sources of information.  One unique source is the website http://www.data.gov/.  This site is unique in that it provides data sets.   As of this writing there are 390,919 raw and geospatial datasets.   These datasets can be data sources to Sunset Reports.   The datasets can come in different formats including CSV, JSON, PDF, RDF, KML, RSS, XLS, XLSX, and XML.   CSV, XLS, XLSX, and XML are the formats easily used as a data source for Sunset Reports.

PDF Export Options

May 23, 2012 Leave a comment

When you are using the print preview screen, you can choose how to export the report.   But if you want to set the report design to have the options associated with the export predefined, you will use the Report Properties window in the Report Designer to set the options.

MS SQL Server Reporting Tool

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports offers several methods of connecting to SQL Server databases that makes it a good choice for creating reports.

Using the built-in Query builder you can connect directly to a SQL Server database as shown in the next figure.

The Query Builder also supports SQL Dialects for different versions of SQL Server.

Even in the Report Designer, you can use the Report Wizard and make a connection to SQL Server…

 

But of course, you can simply use the ODBC connection if you choose.

C#, Visual Basic, JScript.net

May 21, 2012 Leave a comment

You can choose which language you want to use when you create scripts for your reports.  C#, Visual Basic, and JScript.net are all available choices.   Choose the language from the report properties window.

Keeping it Simple

May 20, 2012 Leave a comment

We talk about how Sunset Reports is simple.   Let’s illustrate this point.    For the large companies that use MS SQL Server, they use a powerful tool called SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services).   This is integrated with SQL Server and requires a fair amount of understanding.   Just look at all the tools that are needed for SSRS:  Power View, Report Designer, Report Builder, Reporting Services Configuration Manager, SQL Server Mangement Studio, SQL Server Configuration Manager, Rsconfig Utility, Rskeymgmt Utility, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Classes, SharePoint Central Administration, PowerShell Cmdlets, Report Server Web Service URL, Report Manager, RS Utility (References).   That is 14 different tools.

Sunset Reports keeps it simple with just one tool.   Everything you need is available from a single program.   Installation is simpler, training is simpler, etc.   Now we do not say that Sunset Reports is as powerful as SRSS, but it can handle most of what SRSS provides and is more than enought for most small businesses.   It is simpler and that translates to cost and time savings.

Less Expensive + Faster = Cost Savings + Time Savings

Directory List Report

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a sample report with a script that will list the contents of a folder on a hard drive.

First start with a blank report.   It will be unbound (no data source).   The data source will be created in a script.   On the report add a table and name each cell as follows:   Add a second table in the report header to name the columns.   And then finally add a label control for a title.

Now for the script that will run this report.

You set the variable “directory” to the folder you want to get a file list of.    You can modify this so it is a report parameter, but to keep things simple now, just hardcode the folder.   The rest of the script creates an array with file information and assigns the array to the datasource of the report.   Then each cell in the table needs to be bound to an element of the array.   Finally the title is set to the string variable “directory”.

The resulting report looks like this when previewed:

You can download this sample report HERE.

Reporting from the Federal IT Dashboard

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The website http://www.itdashboard.gov/ provides the public with a view on the federal IT budget.   It contains a variety of data sources and in particular provides the ability to download data to XML files.   Go to the Data Feeds tab to select your data.

After you download your selected file, you can choose this file from the Report Designer, using the  “XML Data Path” property of the report.  See the Post about XML Reporting.

If you choose the Exhibit 53 data source from the website and choose all the fields, your Field List window will then look like the following figure.   Here Sunset Reports parses the XML file and selects the fields in the file.   Now you can create your own graphs and reports about the federal IT Budget.   This is just one example of how you can get web data and feed it into a report.

Getting a Report via Text Message

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Certain carriers allow you to use an email address for text messaging.   For example, ATT uses ##########@mms.att.net.   With this capablility you can have Sunset Reports prepare a report in an “image” format and then text the image to your smart phone.

Include Web Image in Report

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a real cool feature of Sunset Reports.   You can easily include an image from a webpage into your report.   Whenever the report is run, the image is grabbed from the web and included in the report.   It is current and up to date.   What kind of images can be included?   There is essentially no limit.   Include stock charts, weather radar, traffic, or whatever is available.

The secret to getting this to work is to add a Picture Box to your report.  Then add the URL of the web image in the property “ImageURL”.  This property supports both absolute and relative paths.  An absolute URL provides the complete path and is what you will use to get a web image.   Note:  You will also want to adjust the “Sizing” property.   “Stretch Image” will probably work best.

Here are some URL’s to try…

http://images.intellicast.com/WxImages/Radar/usa.gif

http://chart.finance.yahoo.com/t?s=%5eDJI&lang=en-US&region=US&width=300&height=180

http://www.google.com/finance/chart?cht=c&q=INDEXDJX:.DJI,INDEXSP:.INX,INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC&tlf=12h

A sample report is also available for you to download HERE.

Industries Needing Sunset Reports

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is a short list of industries that can use Sunset Reports:

Agriculture, Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace, Aircraft, Airline, Apparel, Automotive, Banking, Broadcasting, Brokerage, Biotechnology, Call Centers, Cargo Handling, Chemical, Computer, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Cosmetics, Defense, Department Stores, Education, Electronics, Energy, Entertainment & Leisure, Executive Search, Financial Services, Food and Beverage, Grocery, Health Care, Human Resources, Insurance, Legal, Manufacturing, Marketing, Media, Music, Newspaper Publishers, Office Management, Online Auctions, Pharmaceuticals, Private Equity, Publishing, Real Estate, Retail & Wholesale, Sales Management, Securities & Commodity Exchanges, Service, Software, Sports, Technology, Telecommunications, Telemarketing, Transportation, and more.

Shape Control

May 13, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a number of controls you can add to a report design.   These include labels, checkboxes, RTF boxes, images, panels, tables, lines, bar codes, charts, pivot grids, among others.   In particular, the “Shape” control lets you add a variety of graphic shapes as shown in the figure to the right.  (Actually with the properties, there are even more shapes than shown in this figure).

With each shape you can adjust the height, width, and angle.  The angle can be from 0 to 359 degrees.   You can also change other properties such as fillet (how shape corners are rounded).   The star shape can also be set with the number of star points, and concavity.  You can specify arrow head height and width, number of sides to a polygon, and other properties depending on the shape.   Then with the ability to define line width and colors, you have a great way to dress up your reports.

Categories: Features, Screenshots Tags: ,

Cost Savings

May 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Here are a couple of ways Sunset Reports will save you money:

  1. The purchase price of Sunset Reports is very affordable and is lower than any of it’s competitors.
  2. Because implementation and installation is simpler than other solutions, you will be up and running is far less time.
  3. It is a single reporting solution for a variety of data sources.  So users do not have to learn different ways of creating reports.   Training is minimized.
  4. The program is powerful enought for the IT department and simple enough for end users.    The end users can create reports without burdening the IT department.

Tag Property

May 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Within the Sunset Report’s report designer, each object has a “Tag” property.   This property allows you to add some unique information that can be accessed via scripts.   This could be an id, or actually a data field if the report has a data source.   With this tag property all kinds of possibilities exist with scripts.

Unbound Report with Scripts

May 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Here is an example of what you can do with scripts in a report.   First start with a blank report design with no data source.    Drag a chart object onto the design surface as shown in the figure.

Next add the following code in the scripts tab….

'Define a class to represent an individual record with properties to be data source fields
Public Class Record
  Dim _id As Integer
  Dim _txt As String
  Dim _num as double
  Public Sub New(ByVal id As Integer, ByVal txt As String, ByVal num As Double)
    Me._id = id
    Me._txt = txt
    Me._num = num
  End Sub
  Public Property ID() As Integer
       Get
          Return _id
       End Get
       Set(ByVal Value As Integer)
          _id = Value
       End Set
   End Property
   Public Property Txt() As String
       Get
          Return _txt
       End Get
       Set(ByVal Value As String)
          _txt = Value
       End Set
    End Property
   Public Property Num() As Integer
       Get
          Return _num
       End Get
       Set(ByVal Value As Integer)
          _num = Value
       End Set
    End Property
 End Class

'Populate the chart before printing Private Sub chart1_BeforePrint(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Drawing.Printing.PrintEventArgs)
     ' Create a list.
     Dim listDataSource As New ArrayList()
    ' Populate the list with records.
     listDataSource.Add(New Record(1, "Android", 29))
     listDataSource.Add(New Record(2, "Galaxy", 32))
     listDataSource.Add(New Record(3, "Lumia", 51))
     listDataSource.Add(New Record(4, "iPhone", 84))
    ' Remove the default series if any
     for i as integer = 0 to chart1.series.count-1
       dim serie as series = chart1.series(i)
       chart1.Series.remove(serie)
     next i
     ' Bind the chart to the list.
     chart1.DataSource = listDataSource
    ' Create a series, and add it to the chart.
     Dim series1 As New Series("My Series", ViewType.Bar)
     Chart1.Series.Add(series1)
    ' Adjust the series data members.
     series1.ArgumentDataMember = "txt"
     series1.ValueDataMembers.AddRange(New String() { "num" })
    ' Access the view-type-specific options of the series.
     CType(series1.View, BarSeriesView).ColorEach = True 
     series1.LegendPointOptions.Pattern = "{A}"
End Sub

Now preview the report and you will  get the following:

Sample Report available HERE to download.