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BIG Advantages

April 15, 2015 Leave a comment

So a company in the construction business is using accounting software like QuickBooks or Timberline which have built in reports.   The reports can be customized to a certain extent and most of them produce the output that is needed for the standard needs of a company.    Using a product like Sunset Reports can take it to a new level with custom reports from scratch where the user has complete control over the content.   Plus, the ability to schedule reports and distribute them in a variety of ways is something almost no accounting software can do.   Two big advantages.

But there is more….  The same company is also using a project scheduling package like Microsoft Project and another package to manage contracts, subcontractors, communications, change orders, etc., and then another software program to do take-offs and estimates.   Each one is perfect for the function it performs, and each one creates reports as necessary.    But you cannot combine the information from all these software packages to produce reports that tie it all together unless you use a program like Sunset Reports.   A really BIG advantage.

Sunset Reports not only can connect to almost any software package to use as a data source, but it can combine the data sources onto one report.   A single reporting solution that will provide consistency across all applications and is fully customizable with the ability to schedule the reports as well as send them or publish them to a variety of destinations and in a variety of formats.

This scenario is not only applicable to the construction industry, but also to materials, consumer goods, financial, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, publishing, technology, utility industries, etc..

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.

Interactive Reporting

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

The Report Preview screen displays your report and you can choose to print, export, email the report along with several other features.   But did you know that the report in the preview window can be interactive.   Scripts in the report can respond to mouse actions including clicks, double clicks, mouse down, mouse move, and mouse up events.   These scripts can be assigned to any control on the report.  This opens up many possibilities including creating drill down reports and drill though reports.  In fact, you can have a user click on a control in print preview and open another report, open a file, go to a website, open a form, message box, input box, and more.  You can even create a menu and have the menu launch reports and more.

More to come on this exciting topic….

New Features

May 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Another great update to Sunset Reports is here.   This version introduces two new major features:

  • Start the program with “opening arguments”.   Create your own shortcuts or even open Sunset Reports with another program.  Up to 4 opening arguments will put the software in one of 8 modes.
  • A new menu interface inspired by the Windows 8 Metro interface.   Now it will be easier to use our software with your touch screens.

Here are the 8 modes:  (Note: Modes 2 thru 8 all require Arg1 being a specified report storage file)

  1. No arguments – normal mode connecting to default user report storage file
  2. Normal mode connecting to arg1 instead of the default user report storage file.
  3. With Arg2 a positive number – run in BATCH mode with arg2 = run queue time
  4. With Arg2 = -1, show report list and if Arg3 then filter by category = Arg3 and if Arg 4 then filter by userid = Arg4
  5. With Arg2 = -2, show report carousel and if Arg3 then filter by category = Arg3 and if Arg 4 then filter by userid = Arg4
  6. With Arg2 = a Report Definition Name and if no Arg3 then print preview the report definition by that name.
  7. With Arg2 = a Report Definition Name and if Arg3 = 1 then print to default printer directly
  8. With Arg2 = a Report Definition Name and if Arg3 = 2 then print with prompt for printer

Here is the new menu….

SunsetReportsTileMenu

Report Bursting

March 25, 2013 Leave a comment

The concept is to print one report definition and have multiple report files like PDF’s creating with individual files for multiple recipients.   For example, you have a report definition for invoices to send to all your customers, but you obviously want to send just one invoice to each customer.  With standard report processing, you will end up with multiple invoices in one big PDF.  With Report Bursting (also referred to as report splitting or report exploding), you can have a single file for each customer/invoice.  Each file is a subset of the report results.

This new feature is in the works with our development team and testing is in progress.   And with our report distribution system, each report can go to a different email address too.

This new feature will be valuable for order confirmations, invoices, contracts, purchase orders, dunning letters, employee statements, billing statements, promotional mailing, sales letters, appointment confirmations, etc. or any report you design.

ReportBusting

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

Map Control

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

The new Map Control can be added to a report design and will display a map using Google Maps – Static Maps API. This control unlike all others requires an internet connection when the report is run, so the map can be retrieved from the service.

Use of this control must be in compliance with Google’s licensing policies. Sunset Reports only provides a convenient method to access this service and cannot be responsible for its use.

Click on the image to see a simple example.

MapControlExampleThe properties that have been implemented with this control are listed in the following table. These unique properties are shown under Misc on the Property Grid in the report designer. All properties can be bound to a data source except APIKey and are also listed under Data – Data Bindings in the Property Grid.

Property Description
Address Can be either “latitude,longitude” or a location string. The location can be a country, city, state, zip code, place, or street address.
APIKey Optional, depends on usage.  Refer to:https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/staticmaps/#api_key
ImageURL This property can be entered directly but you must leave the Address field blank. Otherwise, this property shows the URL being sent to the service as a result of all the other properties. You will usually not set this property directly.
MapType Can be either Roadmap(0), Satellite(1), Terrain(2), or Hybrid(3). Use the numbers if you bind this property to a data source.
MarkerXlocation Where X can be 1 to 9.Using the same format as the property Address, you can specify up to 9 markers that will appear on the map.
Path This property can be used to specify one or more locations connected by a path to overlay on an image. You can specify styles as well. Refer to this link for more detail. Do not include “path=” in this property.https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/staticmaps/#Paths
ZoomLevel Values from 0 (entire earth) to 21 (individual buildings)
Categories: Features, Implementation Tags: ,