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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