What application do I need to create this report?

65 pts.
Tags:
Report Program Generator
I have data that is recorded (or will be recorded) in the following format: company,function,attribute,value Sample Data would be: Company1,director,AirTravel,FirstClass Company1,author,AirTravel,FirstClass Company1,director,Billing,50% of title Company1,author,Billing,75% of title Company2,director,AirTravel,BusinessClass Company2,author,AirTravel,FirstClass Company1,director,GroundTransp,car with driver Company2,director,GroundTransp,sedan rental etc etc I am trying to find what type of application (report generator?) I need so that an end user can have a query interface to select: Rows = the following attributes: Air Travel, Ground Transp Column = the following function: All Filter on Company = Company 1 and have the VALUES be in the body of the report or.... Rows = the following attributes: All Columns = the following Companies: All filter on Function = Director and have the VALUES be in the body of the report I do NOT want to store the info in the following format (ie, make each attribute a field) Company,function,AirTravel,Billing,Ground Transp Because it will simply become unwieldy each time I have to add a new attribute. I don't know what this type of report would be called, so I cannot even begin to find any options... but I cannot imagine that it doesn't exist! Any suggestion? Thank you in advance

Answer Wiki

Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.

Your request has been sent to the AS/400 area because you used the words “Report Program Generator” which is a keyword for the AS/400. However, it isn’t obvious that that was what you intended.

What environment are you working with??? PC/SQL server/AS-400/???

Phil

==============================================================

Not my area, and this request keyed to AS/400 won’t bring an answer
Please re-enter with keywords MAC and Filemaker.
I don’t think this board gets many Mac requests but that dosn’t mean there aren’t experts on-line.

Phil

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  • Mtpaper
    Hi Phil - I am on a Mac, and my data is currently in a hodge-podge of Excel, FileMaker and old Lotus Approach. I am transitioning it all to Filemaker. I don't know what AS/400 is. Initially I want to be able to create the reports on my Mac. In the future, I hope to have everything rebuilt as a web-based application. (I'm sorry if I'm not using the right terminology; I realize that makes things difficult) I envision a query for : select one or more company select one or more people select one or more functions select one or more attributes And I probably need the UI to ask about grouping, and also about sorting, the info Based on that info, the report would determine which info to make as the rows, and which to make as the columns (or, I could make that part of the UI, for the user to decide). Is this something that a FileMaker programmer could program with Filemaker? Or do I need something like Tableau or a more high-powered BI application??? Thank you - Marion
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  • Yorkshireman
    there are any number of packages you can buy that would do this for you. As you mentio adding attributes, then perhaps you are thinking of normalising the data Are we talking of millions of records, or a handful?
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  • Mtpaper
    let's say, for the moment, that I'm talking about 500,000 records for one table, and about 5x that for a different table of data that needs a similar treatment. So, let's say more than 500,000 and less than 5,000,000.... Explanation to myself: 500 people with possibly 50 attributes = 25,000 records for 20 companies = 500,000 records 2nd situation where I need the same type of UI and report: harder to figure out the # of records.... 365 days per year, 75 tidbits of info per day = 27,375 tidbits per year per company some companies last 6 months, some last 1 week, some last 20 years....
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  • Florenjm
    Hi Mtpaper: It seems you need to consider a few things. You most likely need to have your data in a “formal” database. This means lots of what is called data cleansing, normalizing and uploading. You may simplify things a bit if you have some control of where the data is coming from and how. You may be required to learn new stuff and/or have somebody experienced give you a hand with this. Then, as you said, you need a database manager system. You mentioned Filemaker, but I would suggest something like MySQL, MS SQL server light, Sybase SQL Anywhere or another of the light SQL databases (including from IBM and Oracle). Since you have users that need access to it, you should have some kind of server. If you already have access to a regular server – Unix or Windows – which may have a Database already installed (or an AS400/iSeries which has it integrated), then much better. Now you need to consider a reporter (or report generator). If you have MS SQL Server available, it likely includes Reporting Services. There are others, but I would recommend Infomaker (by Sybase), which of course I have used extensively. It is, like the others, a Users Oriented Tool, but reality is different and it requires very proficient users or IT people, to create the Reports and Forms; which then are easily used by users with all the parameters and sorting you want . It has many advantages, including creation of Forms or Data Entry/Inquiry Screens, Data Transfer functions and of course the Report Generator. It requires No coding (fully graphic). In addition it is very inexpensive (under $200 per developer - I think) and its code is royalty free. Meaning any number of users can use its product – the Forms and Reports generated (which is usually installed on the server) and which will access life data, on demand. Finally, it includes Sybase SQL Anywhere. Although, it can use almost all the databases in the marker (Unix, MS or AS400) thru ODBC (and more). You can generate reports, etc. for to the Web, but I have not used that feature yet. There used to be versions than ran also in Unix and MAC, but I do not know its current status today. P.D. For the record, I do not work for Sybase or anything like that. I just like the product and have been using it for years. Jose
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  • Mtpaper
    @Jose - Thank you for all this detail -and clear writing with explanations. Lots to learn and absorb and consider. I was hoping to find an application that I could use to create the interface and generate the reports, but I think it is beyond my capabilities and I'll have to job this section out. Thanks Marion
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  • mcl
    Well, you have a Mac - and Filemaker runs on a Mac. Filemaker will handle queries and generate reports. It's not all that hard to work with if you have the time to work with it. But of course, you have to develop a database, the query screens and the report formats. You or a Filemaker developer. You could certainly start out on a Mac. The newest versions of filemaker have built-in web applications (Google "Filemaker web application") and there is a Filemaker API for PHP. Having said all of that - if you do farm it all out to someone and they don't use Filemaker, they'ss likely recommend using somethinhg else. It will probably come down to what do you want to do and how much do you want to spend.
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  • Mtpaper
    @Mcl I do have a Filemaker developer working on this with me.... but I wanted to hear other opinions and to confirm that FM can handle this type of report. It certainly is not a report that can be generated 'out-of-the-box' without programming. If it can, indeed, be done by a programmer, then I'll be in good shape I'm creating a desktop application with Filemaker - to solve my needs and use as a prototype to show others. If they are interested, we'll re-build it for the web Marion
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  • Gmil494
    If your data is in Lotus Approach ( or a portion of it is...) you might try to consolidate it all into Lotus Aproach. IBM AS/400 operating system (OS) uses OS/400 (operating system/400) and DB2 is part of the OS/400 OS/400. Lotus Approach is compatible with IBM DB2. So I would think that Approach and DB2/400 should be compatible. If you could consolidate your data into Lotus Approach, it should be possible to combine all from Lotus Approach into DB/2 on the AS/400 and manipulate/Query it from the AS/400. I don't have working knowledge of Lotus Approach, so I am not 100% sure you could combine it into DB/2 on the AS/400 from Lotus Approach, but I would think so. Combining from disparate sources into one DBMS would be preferable to having a multitude of sources. Lotus Approach may have an import data function where you can import data from various sources into Lotus Approach, and then export it from Lotus Approach into DB/2. Hopefully that might be the simplest approach (sorry about the pun, couldn't help it.)
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  • Mtpaper
    Well, we are definitely trying to consolidate everything into one place, but the last approach we want is Lotus Approach. It crashes constantly, and there's no support for it. I don't know DB/2 - I'll look into it. Thanks! Marion
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  • Gmil494
    I am not familiar with Lotus Approach. However, I am familiar with IBM OS/2 and eCS (operating systems for Intel/AMD servers and personal computers.) and have talked with those who loved OS/2 and can't wait for eCS 2.0 GA (general availability of eCS version 2.0) as one of the most stable operating systems used on an Intel/AMD box. Could it be that the OS is causing the problems and ultimately Lotus Approach to crash? What you describe (unfortunately I'm at a loss as I have no working knowledge of Lotus Approach - but I have worked with Dbase, DataEase, Rbase, Access and DB2 most recently...) appears to be 4 fields, or four positions in your description of the data you have and want to manipulate. DB2 is the ONLY database (DBMS=Data Base Management System, or more accurately RDBMS= Relational Data Base Management System) that can handle flat file database formats in addition to relational database formats. To the best of my knowledge, Filemaker is a flat file database (DBMS). If you are trying to access (AS/400 you need knowledge of DDS or SQL, if on IBM really Big Iron-mainframe -you need to be able to do DBDGEN(Data Base Definition Generation). DB2 is available (and was available on OS/2) on and for the Windows/Linux operating systems also, but I have not worked with it on those platforms. On the AS/400 (iSeries, System i and now Power Systems, the name has changed over the years but the platform is generally the same although improved) you have a choice, use or not use DDS (Data Definition Specifications). You have an option of fixed or variable length records (leaving fields out of the discussion for the present). You could import the data (should some application provide for it, generically speaking at this point) into DB2. And do so without creating fields. There is a way to define without (using AS/400 command line commands) creating fields in DB2. I have recently experimented with a test DB. Unless the import function in another DB(Database) or file management system will do so, or you have some IBM punch card guru(data entry clerk who lives, sleeps, eats, breaths, 80-column punch card or any variable format record length- and hasn't made an error in data entry since 1964 when the IBM 360 was introduced) you will have data of fixed or variable length imported into a DB2 member(file). If you choose to import into DB2 without DDS (defining fields, records, record keys fields, etc) you will have by no choice a alphanumeric fixed or variable length record (if you can do variable length, DDS provides for "select/omit" where nonDDS does NOT) data. Therefore when you try to query on the data in non-DDS file in DB2, if certain fields contain mumeric data for statistics, Query/400 will not be able to perform statistical and mathematical functions on alphanumeric data. I hope this helps somewhat in what you are trying to do, without me using a lot of space here to create a DB2 and database general primer/book/quickstart document.
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  • Mtpaper
    Hi - Altho I've only mentioned 4 fields, these are part of a much more extensive database - this record is actually a Contract_Term, which is part of Contract, which is the union of a person and a company.... so it isn't quite as simple as it appears. Your info was helpful - over my head, but great as a reference, with lots of words for me to investigate and learn about. I started YEARS ago with dBase as well, had Rbase for awhile, and RapidFile was in there at some point in time too.... My problem is that I feel as if this should be within my reach of knowledge, but, as I don't have the time to learn it, I'm always in over my head. Thanks - Marion
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  • mcl
    I think the original poster (Marion) mentioned she didn't know what an AS/400 was. It's probably safe to assume that Marion does not hasve an AS/400 and the possibility of using DB2/400 is nil. If you are converting it all over to Filemaker and you have someone who can work with Filemaker, go that route for now. If nothing else, you'll have your data in one format and Filemaker can output easily to "standard" formats for transfer to something else. One issue with Filemaker is it is not really a relational database. So, while it may work for a single table, when you start looking a multiple tables you could have problems. Another issue might be speed. That will of course be based on how fast the PC that Filemaker is running on. Quite frankly, if you had no other platform to use, I would look at a database in MySQL (NOT Microsoft SQL) with a front end written in PHP. MySQL and PHP are both open source and free. They are widely used, perfect for a web-based app, there are a ton of references on the web, current versions are very stable and you can probably find developers easy. Good luck! Regards Mike
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