I was wondering if anyone has any experience with wiring up a "self service" report writer with SQL Anywhere12. We constantly get requests from customers asking "Can we write our own reports and get data out of the system" and somehow I just don't think ISQL is the answer :) We are just starting to look at something like Jasper Reports or something like Crystal Reports. What we want is a drag and drop Graphical report writing plug in that allows them to create high level reports and drilldowns. Thanks for any suggestions
asked 16 Jun '14, 14:40
If your customer community is like most others, there is a wide range of technical skills out there, and you do not have the resources to satisfy everyone's skill levels.
One approach is to begin by creating a simple set of base views that serves to exclude columns and tables that end users shouldn't see, and grant SELECT on those views... nothing fancy, no joins, no WHERE clauses, nothing to kill performance, but columns and tables might be given friendly names if the underlying schema uses a [cough] technical naming convention.
The base views could be used right away by expert users using Excel or Access or even ISQL, and later with exotic report writers in the hands of regular folks.
As time goes on, the need for higher-level views (joins, etc) may become apparent as folks start complaining about Queries From Hell that run forever because the SQL sucks (every Crystal Reports shop has stories to tell).
If you start by satisfying the experts, then work towards helping regular folks, you can stop when you run out of money and still have at least some happy customers.
Or you can take a big bang approach and hope that your support requirements don't explode as customers' requirements grow beyond the report writer features available :)
The 80/20 rule applies here... 80% of your customers will be satisfied by 20% of your effort, or conversely, 80% of your effort will go to satisfying the last 20% of your customers.
...or is it 90/10? :)
answered 16 Jun '14, 15:47
Four of our customers were sure they wanted to write their own reports (as opposed to another dozen who said it would be nice but never mentioned it again). We helped three setup their choice of tools: Crystal Reports. No reports were ever produced. The fourth started playing with InfoMaker when it came with PowerBuilder, and continues to produce mostly exports for use in spreadsheets.
What we have seen is: the groups who have someone quite capable of accomplishing this task have already overloaded that person with plenty of work so they never really have time for this. By the time they really badly need a report, the pressure to get it done outweighs the amount of knowledge they can recall.
So in the end they phone us and we do a quick extract with ISQL that they massage in a spreadsheet. This has proven to be the most successful solution for our customers.
answered 17 Jun '14, 11:44
You should probably contact http://novalys.net/ regarding InfoMaker if you need it right away. They are a PB re-seller, and did a GREAT job of selling me PB 12 and more importantly guiding me thru the maze of SAP procedures to actually get it running:).
Appeon has taken over PB from SAP (as of July 5th, 2016) and they did take over InfoMaker as well, but their first "Appeon PB" version is a year away.
answered 02 Aug '16, 10:39