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Window View – The Next BIG thing in Sunset Reports

December 15, 2015 1 comment

Coming in the next version of Sunset Reports is “Window View”.   Currently you can print, export, and print preview a report.  With “Window View”, your report becomes a window for viewing on the screen only.   The features of this new view include:

  1. Display your report as a window on the screen
  2. The window can be interactive using the scripts you design in the report designer.   There are numerous possibilities here.  Drilldown reports, menus, etc.   This can be your user interface to the reports you want to give to a user.   Users don’t even have to see the functions of Sunset Reports to see the reports they want or you want to give them.  You can launch other reports in Window View or Print Preview.
  3. The window is automatically sized to the page size of the report design so you can control the window size.  Make it as small or large as you want.  Include any of the report objects.   Use a Label with a OnClick script to create a button.
  4. You can set a time for the window to refresh.  This means your report will be updated periodically automatically.  The update time can be as little as 1 second.  So now your report will update in real time showing real time data.
  5. If your report has more than one page, and if you set an window refresh time, the pages of the report will cycle to that time, and when the first page comes back up, the report will be refreshed with new data.   This feature can be used for slide shows with real time data.

The following figure shows a Window View of a report design.  This design is intended to work as a menu system.   It has a clock that is updated every second.   The five items on the right are labels with click events to perform functions.   This example is included in the sample reports file included with the product.   You can actually create your own application with this feature.

DemoMenu

Not Just Reports

December 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Yes, Sunset Reports is a great report writer, designer, etc. based on the general understanding of what a report writer is.   But the definition of a report in the software goes far beyond the general understanding.   A report can be a…

  • standard report usually based on some data source
  • document (you can do what most word processors can do)
  • presentation (create a slide presentation where each page is a slide)
  • web page (save to an HTML file and post on a website)
  • Windows form (using the new Windows View)
  • interactive interface (using the new Windows View, you can have the user interact with the window with buttons, etc., make a menu)
  • data converter (define an output format to export to based on an input data source)
  • a software program (using scripts, you can write software in VB.NET C#, JScript .net)

We will explore a couple of these in more detail in future posts.

Additional Samples

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

With the release of 1.95, we have included a second set of samples in the Samples2 file.   These samples are more advanced and demonstrate the powerful features of Windows mode and scripts.  You can copy these reports and modify them as you want. Included are:

  • Digital Clock – This report when viewed in Window View will show the current time and update each second.
  • Current US Radar – This report will display the current US radar map.   If viewed in Window View, it will update automatically every 60 seconds by the use of the numeric parameter, WindowViewTimer.  The report can be easily modified to show a different region.
  • Disk Space – This report uses gauges and a script that reads the drive space on disk C and shows disk space used and disk space free.
  • Edit Global and User Parameters – This unique report is actually an interactive form showing how you can change data and update the global and user parameters.  Reports are not read only anymore.
  • Get IP – This report will get your current Internet IP address.   It will check it against a previous value created by this report and stored in a Global Parameter.   If the IP is different, the report runs.  If it is the same, the report will not produce any output.   This is useful if you want to email or text yourself if your IP changes.  This shows you how you can save data to the parameters.  Solves dynamic IP issues.
  • Get Web Page – This report shows you how easy it is to capture a Web Page and load the HTML into a Rich Text Control.
  • Hurricane Report – Captures an image from the internet.
  • Main Menu – The report is actually a customizable main menu for Sunset Reports.   You can use this as a starting point for your own menu.   Make sure you set the preference for the starting form to be “Main Menu Report Definition”.   If you need to get back to the regular program interface, close this menu holding down the Ctrl key.
  • Photo Album Slide Show – This report shows you how to display all the images in a folder in a report.   The script contains the code to create a file list from the parameter “Picture Folder”.  The file list is stored in a file named Index.XML.  This file is then used as the data source by using the report parameter XML Data Path.  You can change the design of the report to show one picture on a page.  Then using Window View, the pictures will cycle.

Updated Documentation

August 26, 2013 Leave a comment

The Sunset Reports User Manual has been updated to the latest version and includes 229 pages of detail information for reference on all the aspects of the product.   This includes:  Installation, Starting the Program, Setup, Data Sources, Report Design, Report Definitions, Report Distribution, a Tutorial, and Technical Support.ManualPreview it Here

Poster – Large Format Pictures

March 14, 2013 Leave a comment

If you have ever wanted to take a picture, image, or photo and blow it up and print it on a large format paper, or multiple sheets of paper and tape it together, you might have a hard time finding the right tools.  Sunset Reports can be easily used to print posters, or simpye your picture or photo on multiple sheets of paper.   Choose as many sheets wide and tall you want, and print them out.   This concept works well too for signs.  For a sign, you can use the label or rich text control.  And you can also use any other combination of controls for both text and images.

Here are the steps to follow to print a picture across multiple pages:

1 – Create a new report design

2 – Select the paper size you want to print to and the orientation (Landscape or Portrait)

3 – Add a picture box control.

4 – Select your picture using the Image URL Property

5 – Size your picture by changing the size properties of the Picture Box control.  The size is set usually by hundreds of an inch(or tenths of a millimeter).   For example 2000 = 20 inches.

6 – Change the sizing property to “Stretch Image”

7 – Size the TopMargin and BottomMargin to something compatible with your printer.  (50 works good in most cases)

8 – Go to Print Preview to see your result.   Then either print it, or go back to Report Design to tweak your document.

Here is a print preview of an image that was stretched to 3 pages wide by 4 pages high.

Poster

Stored Procedures

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports provides many options for connecting to data.   This includes:

  1. Direct Connection to Microsoft Access Tables and Queries
  2. Direct Connection to DSN defined ODBC Connections
  3. Direct Connection to Microsoft SQL Server
  4. Direct Connection to Oracle
  5. Direct Connection to MySQL
  6. and others….

There are also a many options using OLD EB and ODBC connection strings as well as Excel, Outlook, XML, and CSV files.

In general connecting to a table, query, or view is straightforward.   But you can also connect to a stored procedure by defining the SQL directly.  And you can pass parameters to those stored procedures as well.

In the following figure, you can see a a stored procedure defined in the SQL block.  This can be edited directly on this form.

1-24-2013 10-10-49 AM

As long as you have a valid ODBC, PDC, SDC, or QB Connection, you should be all set to retrieve data from stored procedures.   This implementation is similar in functionality to Microsoft Access Pass-Thru Queries.

QODBC

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

QODBC is a product from FLEXquarters that provides a data connection to QuickBooks.  They do this by providing an ODBC connection with their driver that makes reading and writing data to QuickBooks easy.   From the standpoint of Sunset Reports, we are only interested in reading the QuickBooks data.  If you have QuickBooks and QODBC installed, you are ready to connect and start creating your custom reports with Sunset Reports.  Even though QuickBooks has it’s own reports, you want to look at this option for the following reasons:

  1. Create your own custom reports
  2. Create reports not provided by QuickBooks
  3. Connect to more than one QuickBooks file and create reports for multiple companies
  4. Show multicompany data on the same report
  5. Use the tools available in Sunset Reports to create reports you could not create in QuickBooks (Charts, Gauges, Pivot Tables, Images, etc.)
  6. Use the features of Sunset Reports for Report Distribution

In several followup posts, you will see some examples of how you can use Sunset Reports with QODBC.

If you are ready to get started and have Sunset Reports, then refer to this link to understand the QODBC connection so you can create your data sources.   QODBC Technical Reference

 

Sunset Reports Gauges

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

With Version 1.89 you now have 4 new items on the toolbar in the report designer.   These items are:

  • Full Circle GaugeGauge
  • Half Circle Gauge
  • Horizontal Gauge
  • Vertical Gauge

With the combination of gauge types and background styles, you have over 100 gauges to choose from.

There are numerous properties associated with each gauge and some properties can be bound to your data source.

For more information, see the this PDF file – > Sunset Reports Gauges

Categories: Examples, Features Tags: ,

Code Scanner

December 15, 2012 Leave a comment

If you have an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad, there is a great app from AT&T called the “AT&T Code Scanner”.  Use your iOS device to scan QR, Datamatrix, EAN, or UPC codes.  All these codes can be created with Sunset Reports.

For more information, go to this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/at-t-code-scanner-qr-data/id381292358?mt=8

ATTScanner

Categories: Examples Tags: , , , , , , ,

Intelligent Mail Barcode

December 13, 2012 Leave a comment

A new feature added to Sunset Reports includes a barcode type Intelligent Mail.  The Intelligent Mail Barcode (IM barcode) is a 65-bar code for use on mail in the United States. This barcode is intended to provide greater information and functionality than its predecessors POSTNET and PLANET. Intelligent Mail barcode has also been referred to as One Code Solution and 4-State Customer Barcode abbreviated 4CB, 4-CB or USPS4CB.

For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Mail_barcode

IntelligentBarCode

Types of Reports

July 9, 2012 Leave a comment

By definition a report is a document that is organized in a tabular, graphical, or narrative form.  There are many different types of reports that can be created.   These include: Transaction Reports, Tabular/List Reports, Matrix Reports (Pivot Grid), Catalogs, Labels, Mail Merge, Dashboards/Scorecards, Schedules, and Calendar Reports.   All these can all be accomplished pretty easily with Sunset Reports.   Check out the sample reports that come with the product to see examples of most of these different types.

Cache Reports

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment
If you have a report that takes a long time to process and multiple people may request it, why not cache the report?   You might also have a report based on some data range like last year and you only need to run it once since it will not change.   Setup Sunset Reports to run the report and either manually save it to a location as a PDF (or other format) or queue it up to run as often as necessary.   Then create a different Report Definition that is based on that pre-run file.   The option exists with Report Definitions to use an external file.   Create the report definition but do not assign a report design.  Instead go to the parameters tab and select the text tab.   You will find a button on the bottom labeled “Add Filename parameter”.   Click the button, browse to the file (you will have to at least run the report once to select the file), and the parameter will be added.   Now running this report definition through the report queue will send the file via Email or FTP without rerunning it.   Of course if the location of the file is made available as a local share, the file is available to anyone who has access and the second step is not required.

MLS Data

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

If you are a subscriber to the MLXchange, you have  the ability to export your search results.   These results can be directly read by Sunset Reports so you can create your own custom reports based on the exported data.  Here are the simple steps:

1 – After you have displayed your search results and included all the columns you need,  go to the export button on the bottom left of the form.

2 – Click on the arrow and choose either “Selected Records” or “All Records”.  Choose the “Comma Delimited” format, then click Next.   (Do not compress the file).

3 – Choose your grid format and make sure you click on “Include Column Headers”.

4 – Finally save the file in a location where you will store the file and connect to it using Sunset Reports.

Even though the file has an extension of “txt”, Sunset Reports will treat it like a CSV file.   Check out this post to see how you use the Query Builder to connect to the CSV file to create a data source based on this exported file.

Report History

June 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Here is a helpful hint if you want to keep a report history…  When Sunset Reports creates a report file from the Queue and Report Processor, you have an option to add a date time stamp as part of the filename.   If you include the date time stamp, files will not be overwritten and you can accumulate a history of a particular report.   Without the date time stamp, the files are overwritten and this is useful if you establish a shortcut to the file and want the shortcut to work all the time. Or if you are creating files that are part of a website, you will need to maintain the same filename for links to work.

Federal Reserve System

June 10, 2012 Leave a comment

The Federal Reserve System has a Data Download program providing all kinds of information about

  • Principal economic indicators
  • Bank Assets & Liabilities
  • Business Finance
  • Exchange Rates and International Data
  • Flow of Funds Accounts
  • Household Finance
  • Industrial Activity
  • Interest Rates
  • Money Stock and Reserve Balances

And all this data is available for download and you can choose your format which includes CSV, Excel, and XML.  All formats are supported by Sunset Reports.   Search previous posts for details of how to connect using these formats.

US Census Data

June 9, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a number of datasets you can download and feed into Sunset Reports from the US Census Bureau.   The datasets are numerous and are downloaded as csv files.   Sunset Reports can directly link to these files using the Query Builder and connecting to a CSV Folder.   Each CSV file becomes a table object and you can actually create data sources linking multiple CSV files.   The reporting opportunities are endless.

Reports for the Construction Industry

June 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports has the ability to connect to a variety of systems that are commonly used in the construction industry.   And uniquely, the software can connect to more than one data source at the same time, making it go beyond the simple report writers that are included with various systems.    You might be using Quickbooks or Timberline for accounting, Microsoft Project for Scheduling, another program for estimating, another system for construction management, etc.

The type of reports you might need that Sunset Reports can provide include:

  • Drawing List
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Request for Information
  • Submittal Report
  • Transmittal
  • Correspondence Log
  • Schedule of Values
  • Applications for Payment
  • Budget Reports
  • Bid Packages
  • Contract Log
  • Contact List
  • Change Order
  • Change Order Request

There are many more, but here you can see the potential for what Sunset Reports can do.

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.

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.

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.