Refining Report Data Display

Spacing Between Report Rows

In a report with fixed positions, you can use a hidden column with the title #LINEHEIGHT (INT type) to add a fixed amount of space between all rows of the report.

Example: See the BTLFORM100_DET report.

Width, Decimal Precision and Column Title

Report columns inherit the widths, decimal precisions and titles of the table columns whose data they display. These values may be revised, where desired.

Note: Because of this option of modifying report attributes, any changes in the width or decimal precision of a given table column will not affect existing report columns. In contrast, changes in the title of the table column will be reflected in existing reports, provided that no Revised Title has been assigned.

Widths are adjusted by deleting the inherited column width from the Width column of the Report Columns form and specifying the desired width. Decimal precision is adjusted by deleting the inherited decimal precision from the Display Mode column of the same form and specifying the revised one. However, you should be very careful when changing the display mode for an INT column. Finally, inherited column titles are overridden by specifying a new title in the Revised Title column of the same form.

Note: Whereas a decimal precision of 0 (for a REAL column) creates varied precision in a form, it rounds off the real number to an integer in a report. Thus, you may wish to change decimal precision for any REAL column with a precision of 0.

Date Displays

Dates may be displayed in a variety of formats. First of all, the user will see dates according to either the American (MM/DD/YY) or European (DD/MM/YY) convention, depending on the language which is being used. Most examples in this manual are in American date format. 

In addition, date formats are determined by the display mode and width assigned to the report column. You must ensure that there is sufficient column width for the display mode you have chosen. For instance, to display the day of the week alongside the date, specify a Display Mode of 1 and a Width of at least 12. To display time as well as date, specify a column width of between 14 and 19, depending on the display mode. Finally, you can designate a date format of your own via a calculated column (see below).

Non-display of Zero Values

You have the option of displaying or withholding the display of zero values with respect to TIME(00:00), INT(0) and REAL(0.0) columns. Depending on the value specified in the Don't Display 0 Val column of the Report Columns form, you can choose to:

  • display zero values in all columns (default);
  • leave the report column blank in case of zero values (Y);
  • when using a group function to calculate group and/or report totals, leave both report columns and totals blank when value is zero (A).

If a column contains all NULL values for the report, it will be omitted. For cases where you want to force the column to show even if all the values are empty, use a ternary expression to show a default NULL value when there is no value stored in the database. For example, if we want to show the Remarks for a sales order:

/* '&nbsp' is a non-breaking space in HTML, and can be
used as a null value for CHAR column */

Displaying HTML Text in Reports

There are several types of reports that can display HTML text:

  • A fixed component report that displays only text (e.g., WWWORD_4).
  • A fixed component report in which all fields but the text appear in the first line as “Group By” fields, and the text appears in the second line (e.g., CUSTNOTESSUM).
  • A tabular component report in which all fields but the text appear as "Group By" fields, and the text appears in the second line under the column title (e.g., WWWORD_2X). In such a case, the following conditions must be met:
    • A join of the DAYS table with the expression DAYS.DAYNUM BETWEEN 0 AND 1.
    • A real join of the text table when DAYS.DAYNUM = 1; a join of the zero record in the text table when DAYS.DAYNUM = 0.
    • Inclusion of an expression field (width = 68) that displays the title when DAYS.DAYNUM = 0, and displays the text when DAYS.DAYNUM = 1.

HTML Design

Various options are offered for revising the default HTML design of reports. Some affect specific report columns, while others affect the entire report. This facility is particularly useful when you want to enhance the headers of printed documents (e.g., the way the company name, address and date appear in the WWWLOGO report) or any other one-record report. The following describes a number of the simpler, more useful options.

To design individual report columns, use the Report Columns-HTML Design sub-level of the Report Columns form.

  • Design tab: You can change the font and/or font color of a specific report column, as well as determine its background color. This can be defined directly in the report, or indirectly, by designating another report column whose value determines the font or color. For example, use the Font Color Def. Column to specify the Col. Number of the report column whose value sets the font color. If the designated report column is hidden, that column must have a value in the Sort Priority column.

  • Location tab: The default HTML design creates a regular report, with a title at the head of each vertical column. You can use the fields in this tab to divide the page into cells and to determine how each column is positioned within a cell (for more details, see Displaying the Document).
    • Indicate the number of the row(s) and column(s) in which the field will be located.
    • Designate the percentage of the Column Width when the field should not take up the entire cell.
    • Choose a type of Title Design, if desired. For instance, if you want a different font for the column title (bold type) than for the displayed value (regular type), specify D and define the title's font in the sub-level form.
    • Select one of the available Data Display options to determine how the field will be separated from the previous one. Or choose W to prevent line breaking of the displayed field value when there is insufficient room for all columns on the page.
    • Use the Horizontal Align and Vertical Align columns in the Display tab to determine how the field is positioned within its cell.
  • Picture tab: You can use a specific report column to display a picture. Select the appropriate value in the Picture column and define the picture's width and height in pixels. Alternatively, you can determine the picture to be displayed based on other data appearing in the report (specify D in the Picture column and use the Dynamic Picture Definition column).

To affect the design of the entire report, use the HTML Definitions sub-level of the Report Generator form.

  • Outside Border/Inside Border tabs: Use the columns in these tabs to change the definitions of report borders, including space between boxes (columns or cells). Outside borders usually separate data between groups (e.g., in a report of orders per customer, they separate data for different customers). Inside borders usually separate data within a group (e.g., customer number and customer name).

  • More Defs tab: You can define the number of columns to appear on each page, as well as indicate whether the report title will be displayed. The former feature allows you to display several reports next to each other (each appearing as a separate column on the page).

Example: For border definitions, see the WWWORD_2 report. For use of the Design and Location tabs, see column #50 in the same report. For inclusion of a picture, see column #170 in that report.

Designing Reports Using CSS Classes

Priority reports are designed using predefined CSS classes and IDs, which are maintained in a system file named style.htm (located in the system\html directory). This means that it is also possible to revise the default HTML design of reports by defining additional classes and applying them to the desired HTML object.

To do so, create a copy of the existing style.htm file (in the same directory) with the filename style2.htm and use this file to define your custom CSS classes. The system will automatically add the content of this file (together with the content of the style.htm file) to the header of every HTML report generated by the system (i.e., inside the <head> </head> tags).

Important! Do not modify the standard style.htm file, as changes to this file may be overwritten by future Priority releases. Instead, make any desired changes in the style2.htm file only.

CSS classes can be applied to any of the following objects in Priority:

  • An entire report: Use the Class column (in the HTML Definitions sub-level of the Report Generator form) to apply a class to the entire report.
  • A specific report column: Use the Class Definition Column column (in the Report Columns-HTML Design sub-level of the Report Columns form) to apply a class to the current report column.
  • A specific font: Use the Class column in the Font Definitions form to apply a class to a specific font.

Example: For report definitions, see the WWWTABS2 report. For report column definitions, see columns #5 and #108 in the same report.

Tips for Advanced Users

Setting the column width is particularly useful when you display two reports on the same HTML page, as it helps you line up the fields in the second report directly below the fields in the first report. To use this feature, assign corresponding columns in the two reports the same width.

To create a larger cell, place the field in question within a number of cells, indicating the range of rows and/or columns (e.g., line 2 to 4). These will then be combined into a larger cell.

To include more than one field in the same cell:

  1. Assign the same row(s) and column(s) to these fields.
  2. For each field involved, in the Data Display column, indicate how these fields should be situated (fields are ordered according to their position):
    • one underneath the other (Y)
    • next to each other, separated by commas (leave blank)
    • next to each other, run on (N).
  3. For each field, in the Title Design column, indicate how to display its title:
    • next to the field (Y)
    • do not display (leave blank)
    • in a separate table cell (D). Define the location of that cell in the next sub-level, Column Title–HTML Design.

Further Reading