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New Version Coming

March 5, 2013 Leave a comment

The developers at Sunset Reports are working on yet another version of Sunset Reports adding new features to make the product the best in its class.   One of the new features is a new report designer.   In the past versions, you were able to edit one report design in the report designer.  Of course, you could have any number of report design windows open so editing multiple reports at the same time was never a problem.  Now you can choose between a single report designer or the new multi tabbed report designer.   The new multi report designer also has a ribbon bar instead of the standard toolbars.   Both designers can accomplish the same task.  It is simply the user’s choice as to which one to use.   This can be controlled with a new setting on the preferences form.

MultiReportDesigner

The new Multi Report Ribbon Report Designer

 SingleReportDesignerThe Single Report Designer with standard toolbars.

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Compare Toolbars with MS Access

March 1, 2013 Leave a comment

In the following figure we have compared the report designer toolbars between Access 2010 and Sunset Reports.

MS Access vs Sunset Reports Toolbar

MS Access vs Sunset Reports Toolbar

The red arrows show a match with the toolbar items between the two software programs.   The dotted red line shows an approximate match.  Access provides only a rectangle as a shape while Sunset Reports provides 23 shapes.  (Ever try to put a circle or an arrow on an Access report?).  Those items on the Access toolbar with a question mark are for items that really do not belong on a report.  (Why would you put tab controls, buttons, drop down lists, etc. on a report?)

The items on the bottom of the figure with a blue callout show items that Sunset Reports has and Access does not have.  Although one might argue that the “Unbound Object Frame” (2) or the “Bound Object Frame” (4) can provide this missing functionality.  If you can accomplish something similar, it is far more difficult and more restrictive than the native Sunset Reports controls.   The “Hyperlink” control on the Access Toolbar is actually available on all the controls in Sunset Reports.  And finally, Access has a control called “Attachment” (3).  This is an attempt to provide a link to an external file or an database object.  If the object is an image, use the Sunset Reports picture box.  If the object is text, use the Sunset Reports Rich Text control.

MySQL Reporting Tool

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

There has always been a need for a good MySQL Reporting tool.   Sunset Reports offers several methods of connecting to MySQL databases that makes it a good choice for creating reports using MySQL databases.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.