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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

barry123's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

if anyone has any experience

Apparently there's even more experience with differences between customers's demand for "DIY reporting" and their ability to really use such a tool - Bill's suggestion seems familiar to me:)

(17 Jun '14, 11:52) Volker Barth

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? :)

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answered 16 Jun '14, 15:47

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Breck Carter
accept rate: 20%

hope that your support requirements don't explode as customers' requirements grow beyond the report writer features available so it's not just us then?

(17 Jun '14, 06:26) Justin Willey

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.

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answered 17 Jun '14, 11:44

Bill%20Aumen's gravatar image

Bill Aumen
accept rate: 16%

I wonder if anyone has any more thoughts on this topic. We have set users up with Crystal as well and not a single report has been created. I don't know the status of Infomaker. I can't seem to find where it's even available for purchase right now. I have an install but I think it's just for a developer as it came with an older version of sql Anywhere. I always liked Infomaker and it sure would do the job for a particular user.

(02 Aug '16, 09:19) rsnyder
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(02 Aug '16, 09:24) Breck Carter

You should probably contact 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.

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answered 02 Aug '16, 10:39

Bill%20Aumen's gravatar image

Bill Aumen
accept rate: 16%

Thanks! Info on Powerbuilder on both sites, but none on InfoMaker. I will probably try to contact Novalys as you suggested. Thanks again,


(02 Aug '16, 13:09) rsnyder

Bill: Did you watch the Appeon webcast the other day? I missed it by a timezone error :)

...enquiring minds want to know the important points.

(02 Aug '16, 14:14) Breck Carter

Hi Breck. Yep.

SAP signed the agreement with Appeon on July 5 and turned over the PB source code. I think that was a LOT later than Appeon had counted on. Some 3rd party software not included, so Appeon has to go source that elsewhere. Knowledge Transfer still to take place. The new info that stuck out to me was: Appeon's first release now scheduled for first half of 2017 instead on Q3 2016. Licensing will be by subscription.

I was a little discouraged about the timelines, and I think Knowledge Transfer may take place at the same pace as signing the agreement, so it's still not 100% in Appeon's control.

But on the BRIGHT side:I trust Appeon and believe they will deliver their promises, even though they are still constrained for a while yet by SAP speed. I am still waiting on an answer for a question I asked SAP 8 months ago, but the President of Appeon replied to my webcast comments about an hour after the webcast ended, so I think things look quite bright in the future!

When they post the webcast recording, you will be able to see all the other news that didn't stick with me :)

(02 Aug '16, 14:30) Bill Aumen
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question asked: 16 Jun '14, 14:40

question was seen: 2,441 times

last updated: 02 Aug '16, 14:30