Report Overview Tab
The Report workspace has five tabs which make up the workflow of a report: Report Overview, Data, Design, Preview, and Schedule tabs. Once you create a report, the first step in the report workflow process is the Report Overview. The Report Overview tab provides valuable information at a glance about your report. There is space to add notes, which is a good place to provide background information and context about the report. The Overview will also show a thumbnail of the most recent report, its last execution time, and the next scheduled execution. The Report Snapshot is generated each time you visit the Preview tab.
The Data tab is the first stop for configuring a new report. You'll notice the list on the left that has labels for Parameters and Data Sources, as well as some buttons. On this page you can generate data that you want to make available on your report. Click the Add icon to see a list of built-in Data Sources and Parameters. Selecting any one of them will open the configuration screen for that Data Source type and enable you to start configuring the data for your report.
If you've ever designed a Perspective View or a Vision window, the Design tab should make you feel right at home. Starting from the top-left – the structure of a Report is represented in the Project Browser tree, allowing easy visualization of the tree of elements on your report, but don't stop there! Grab a component off the Reporting Palette on the far right and add it to the page. In place of the Tag Browser, there is a Key Browser that gives you an easy way to add the Data Sources and Parameters that you configured in the Data tab to the Report. For complex components, there are configuration tabs in the Property Inspector to supplement the Property Inspector table that all the design objects have.
The Preview tab, while not one of our three design steps, is a nice feature while building your report. This tab provides quick visual feedback on your report. Not only does it provide you an instant example of what your report looks like, but it also gives you the ability to view the actual data next to your report preview. Having a snapshot of your data can be incredibly helpful when trying to figure out why your report doesn't appear as you expect it to. Whether you have an error in your query, or a bad Data Key in a component, you'll be able to figure out the structure of the data your report is getting and quickly find ways to solve any problems.
Scheduling a report to run is built-in and easy to use. The Schedule tab is an incredibly powerful way to automate the execution and delivery of your reports. Whether you have extremely long running queries that you don't want tying up a window, need to deliver to multiple file servers via FTP, or want to simply email to an existing roster, this tab provides you the means to do it. It's broken up into two major areas. On top, you find a simple table of schedules that have been established. To add a schedule, click the Add icon. With a schedule added, you can now choose when and how that scheduled Action will occur. Our schedules use the common Cron format, but don't worry if you aren't familiar with it. The preset options and combo-box configurability allow you to easily create just about any schedule you can imagine.
Once you selected your schedule, you can add parameters that may affect your Actions. Actions are incredibly powerful and allow you to choose how you want to distribute or act on your finished reports. Whether saving a file locally, posting to an FTP server, or emailing, you can get your report where it needs to be automatically. If our normal distribution Actions somehow fall short, you can choose to act on the finished report by triggering a script. We've also given you a convenient way of immediately executing the Action.
The Key Browser contains three very important elements: Data Keys, Built-in Keys, and the Show Calculations property. Data Keys are used to pull values from your data sources that you configure in the Data tab and display them in your report. They act as placeholders for your data and resolve to values when your report is generated. Built-In Keys are utility type functions that are commonly used when generating a report, such as adding a report name, date, page numbers, etc. The Show Calculations property adds several aggregates to each data key allowing you to display the total of a key. They are typically used in a summary row of a Table component.
The Property Inspector is similar to the Property Editor in the Designer. It displays the properties of the selected component, but also includes configuration tabs for a number of the more complex report design objects such as the Pie Chart, Barcode, Tables, etc. The configuration tabs are specific to the selected Peport component, and will only be used for the Report Design Components.