Reports are constructed and modified in the Report Generator form and its sub-levels (System Management → Generators → Reports).
An easy way to create a custom report is to copy an existing one (using the Copy Report program in the same menu) and then make revisions to it. In fact, this method is mandatory if you want to change the sorting or grouping of columns.
Reports selectively display data stored in the database, as well as simple calculations of that data (e.g., sum totals). They can also display complex calculations of data, defined by SQL expressions. Finally, sophisticated operations can be performed on data by including the report in a procedure — i.e., a batch of executable steps that are carried out in a predefined sequence. In fact, most Priority reports are embedded in procedures. To simplify things, the examples referred to here (e.g., ORDERSBYCUST) will be treated as simple reports, even though some of them are actually processed reports activated by a procedure.
You can create standard and tabular reports (tables). Reports and tables can display the same data, but in different formats. Reports tend to be more detailed, displaying a relatively large amount of information. Tabular reports are used to show summarized information.
A report is characterized by:
- a unique name and title
- a set of report columns derived from the columns of one or more tables in the database
- calculated columns (optional), whose values are determined by other columns.
Note: If your system uses an SQL or Oracle database, HTML documents and reports are saved in Unicode format, using UTF-8 character encoding. If your system uses the Tabula database, documents and reports are saved in ASCII format.
The Copy Report program copies:
- all report columns and their attributes
- all expressions for calculated columns
- any designated target forms
- the output title, if there is one.
It does not copy report tables, or links to procedures, menus or forms.
When assigning a name to the new report, be sure to follow the rules designated below. After the program is completed, make any needed revisions to the copy.
To revise a report’s attributes (or to open a new report manually), use the appropriate columns in the Report Generator form.
As with forms, the report name is a short name by which the report is identified by the system. There are certain restrictions (which also apply to report column names):
- Only alphanumeric values (uppercase and lowercase letters and digits) and the underline sign may be used (no spaces).
- The name must begin with a letter.
- You may not use a reserved word (a list of reserved words appears in the Reserved Words form — System Management → Dictionaries).
- The name assigned to any newly created report must include a common four-letter prefix (the same one you use for all entities that you add to Priority for the customer in question; e.g., XXXX_ORDERS).
The report title is the means of identifying the report in the user interface. The designated title will appear in menus, at the top of the screen when the report is displayed, and at the top of each page of the printed report.
This title is restricted to 32 characters. You may, however, designate a longer title, which will appear on screen and in printouts, in the Output Title sub-level form.
Space considerations are not the only grounds for using an output title. You might also decide to use one simply to distinguish between the menu item and the report heading. For example, you might find it useful to include the word “Table” in the menu, but you would not wish it to appear in the actual report heading.
Note: If you change the report title after you have designated an output title, you will receive a warning message. This is to ensure that the output title is revised as well.
Each report is assigned an application, which is used to classify reports by the type of data they access (e.g., FNC for the Financials module). If the report is copied, the application is taken from the original report. When opening a new report manually, specify a code word that aids in retrieval.
Each report belongs to a given Priority module. As different modules are included in each type of Priority package, users are restricted to those reports whose modules that have purchased. If the report is copied, the module is taken from the original report. When opening a new report manually, specify “Internal Development”; this way you (and your customers) will be able to use the report no matter which modules of Priority have been purchased.