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End-user reporting...


2004-11-26 06:42:08 PM
cppbuilder107
Hi all!
I know the issue of end-user reporting has been discussed at length
already, but I'm still a bit unsettled as to what the solution should
be... I know that there are several good report engines (such as
FastReports) that allow the end-user to create/edit reports themselves.
However, the problem I have with this solution, is that for most
end-users, the learning curve would be far too high.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are tools that do everything
automatically, but therefore don't allow very much personalisation by
the end-user. For example, there are several tools to print a dataset or
a DBGrid. These things are handy for doing simple reports, but their
limitation is that they usually support only a small fraction of the
capabilities of an ordinary report engine, and they are harder to
personnalize.
So it seems to me, that the best thing would be a compromise between the
two; a tool that would allow the user to create/edit a report at a high
level, but then generate the report as (for example) an ordinary FR
report so that it wouldn't have to reinvent all the advanced features of
a fully-fledged report-engine. Also, this would allow to have two modes
of editing: one simple editor, for inexperienced users, and also the
standard FR designer, if ever there is something that can't be done with
the simple one.
(I'm just taking FastReport as an example here, I'm sure the same could
apply to other report engines... In fact, what would be really nice
would be a tool that could handle several...)
Do any of you know of any such tool? I'd be very interested, if I were
to find something like this...
Thanks!
Jonathan Neve.
 
 

Re:End-user reporting...

Jonathan Neve wrote:
Quote

I know the issue of end-user reporting has been discussed at length
already, but I'm still a bit unsettled as to what the solution should
be... I know that there are several good report engines (such as
FastReports) that allow the end-user to create/edit reports themselves.
My users do a lot of mail-merging (letters) and need to 'design' their
own letters. IMO Fastreport excels in this department. Once I've taken
users through the procedure, they pick up the threads pretty quickly.
However, I'm a little disappointed that the FR team hasn't made it
easier to migrate version 2.x reports to version 3. Contact me privately
ad pdp @ finalfiler dot com if you want me to expand on that.
Of course, if you're starting off with version 3 than it won't be an issue.
Quote

So it seems to me, that the best thing would be a compromise between the
two; a tool that would allow the user to create/edit a report at a high
level, but then generate the report as (for example) an ordinary FR
report so that it wouldn't have to reinvent all the advanced features of
a fully-fledged report-engine. Also, this would allow to have two modes
of editing: one simple editor, for inexperienced users, and also the
standard FR designer, if ever there is something that can't be done with
the simple one.
I haven't tried it but hear the Devexpress printing system does this,
especially when coupled with the QG grid? Maybe someone is using that
system and can comment.
--
Pierre AKA finalfiler
Final Filer Software
http://www dot finalfiler dot com
Worrigee, NSW, Australia 2540
------------------------------
The Golden Rule: Them that has the gold makes the rules.
 

Re:End-user reporting...

I have never looked at it, but reportbuilder seems to be fairly popular - in
terms of having a user reporting engine with humanised data dictionary. I
have always thought the issue would be enumerating lookups (rather then
fk's) and giving descriptions for the relationships between tables, thus
allowing users to intuitively join tables.
Anyway - for the users of my main system they currently have reports I write
for them and a copy from grid routine that they paste into Excel and doctor
it as they want. Not very satisfactory.
And co-incidentally, one of the users was asking about reporting just last
week..
JAC.
 

{smallsort}

Re:End-user reporting...

ACE Reporter does a nice job and is quite cheap...
"Jonathan Neve" <jonathan@!nospam!microtec.fr>wrote in message
Quote
Hi all!

I know the issue of end-user reporting has been discussed at length
already, but I'm still a bit unsettled as to what the solution should
be... I know that there are several good report engines (such as
FastReports) that allow the end-user to create/edit reports themselves.
However, the problem I have with this solution, is that for most
end-users, the learning curve would be far too high.

 

Re:End-user reporting...

Hello Jonathan
I had found this product last year, GridReport
www.vtktools.com/greport/greport.html that from an end-user point of
view could be very good. It wasn't finished when I tried it out, but I liked
the result. The enduser see the report in a grid like Excel and he can
adjust each line, each cell to meet its criteria and the save it as a
template. The idea is quite good. But the thing is, I don't know why but
those guys don't seem to be very strong on advertising or don't want to
expand. We never hear from them. I would think that a product like this in a
good company's hand could do very well in the Delphi and C ++ market, but
that's my opinion.
Seeing your post reminded me of that product.
Regards
Pierre
 

Re:End-user reporting...

Lynn Morrison wrote:
Quote
ACE Reporter does a nice job and is quite cheap...

"Jonathan Neve" <jonathan@!nospam!microtec.fr>wrote in message
news:41a70887$ XXXX@XXXXX.COM ...
>Hi all!
>
>I know the issue of end-user reporting has been discussed at length
>already, but I'm still a bit unsettled as to what the solution
>should be... I know that there are several good report engines
>(such as FastReports) that allow the end-user to create/edit
>reports themselves. However, the problem I have with this
>solution, is that for most end-users, the learning curve would be
>far too high.
>
AFAIK, ACE Reporter does not have end-user reporting capabilities.
--
Regards,
Jan Ferguson
 

Re:End-user reporting...

Jonathan Neve wrote:
Quote
Hi all!

I know the issue of end-user reporting has been discussed at length
already, but I'm still a bit unsettled as to what the solution should
be... I know that there are several good report engines (such as
FastReports) that allow the end-user to create/edit reports
themselves. However, the problem I have with this solution, is that
for most end-users, the learning curve would be far too high.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are tools that do everything
automatically, but therefore don't allow very much personalisation by
the end-user. For example, there are several tools to print a dataset
or a DBGrid. These things are handy for doing simple reports, but
their limitation is that they usually support only a small fraction
of the capabilities of an ordinary report engine, and they are harder
to personnalize.

So it seems to me, that the best thing would be a compromise between
the two; a tool that would allow the user to create/edit a report at
a high level, but then generate the report as (for example) an
ordinary FR report so that it wouldn't have to reinvent all the
advanced features of a fully-fledged report-engine. Also, this would
allow to have two modes of editing: one simple editor, for
inexperienced users, and also the standard FR designer, if ever there
is something that can't be done with the simple one.

(I'm just taking FastReport as an example here, I'm sure the same
could apply to other report engines... In fact, what would be really
nice would be a tool that could handle several...)

Do any of you know of any such tool? I'd be very interested, if I
were to find something like this...

Thanks!
Jonathan Neve.
ReportBuilder has the capability for the end-user to be able to create
a report using a wizard, like MS Access, but also has the capabilities
for those who are more technologically advanced to do much more (or
expand upon the wizard created report.)
--
Regards,
Jan Ferguson
 

Re:End-user reporting...

Jan Ferguson wrote:
Quote
ReportBuilder has the capability for the end-user to be able to create
a report using a wizard, like MS Access, but also has the capabilities
for those who are more technologically advanced to do much more (or
expand upon the wizard created report.)
Sounds good, but unfortunately (unless something has changed recently),
RB doesn't support BCB, which is all I use...
It sounds like the kind of thing I need though...
Thanks!
Jonathan Neve.
 

Re:End-user reporting...

"Jonathan Neve" <jonathan@!nospam!microtec.fr>wrote in message
Quote
Hi all!

At the other end of the spectrum, there are tools that do everything
automatically, but therefore don't allow very much personalisation by the
end-user. For example, there are several tools to print a dataset or a
DBGrid. These things are handy for doing simple reports, but their
limitation is that they usually support only a small fraction of the
capabilities of an ordinary report engine, and they are harder to
personnalize.
It may still not be what you want, but DevExpress Express Printing System
fits within your category of printing from a grid while at the same time
allowing lots of customization, particularly when used with QG5.
Customization can be added by user in lots of different ways:
QG5 can be manipulated by user to do "grouping" over any column in the grid.
With QG5 the default grid menu allows you to add calculations in footer of
entire grid, of each group, or both. Calculations can be of various kinds:
count, average, sum, etc.
With QG5 you can display multiple leves of master-detail
(master-detail-detail, etc.), complete with grouping and totals, expanded or
unexpanded, etc.
User can show or hide different columns, as desired.
If you use a "banded" grid, your user can drag and drop columns to create
multi-line (as many different lines as you want) records within the grid (or
within any or all portions of master-detail grid). This creates a huge
amount of flexibility for fitting entire records with lots of fields on same
page of a letter-format report. Doesn't quite get you to a "form-based
report", but it gets almost there.
There's lots of other stuff that's really easy to enable for the user to
make changes using Express Printing System with QG5 (or with other DevEx
tools like the Vertical Grid). Like I said, it might not be exactly what
you want. But it's far more flexible than most people would guess at first
glance. For many people, the simplicity and elegance of it all may more
than make up for fact that output is not quite as flexible as with a regular
reporting engine.
-- Herbert Sitz