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 Post subject: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:53 am 
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It's part of the new Omega Bundle and I'm wondering if it's worth it.

Pros/cons, bugs, support anything?


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:21 am 
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anyone :)

Valentina reports are used by our oldest user -- Cognosis company, more than 3 years. Actually these guys have asked develop us report engine.
They develop some web site around Valentina Server + PHP + Valentina Reports. I know that REALbasic also was in use.
You can talk directly to Bart and other developers from this company on Valentina list if you want.

Yes, I know that for REALbasic exists few report engines. Some already dead or not supported.
Most, if not all, of them was made on REALbasic itself, right?
This means that you cannot use such reports from e.g. PHP, or ObjC or .NET app, right?

With Valentina Reports, you get in hands, true C++ engine, very optimized and very fast.
Valentina report works natively on mac win linux, and with all ADKs that Paradigma have:
C/C++, C#, ObjC, .NET, VB, PHP, RB, REV, Director/Lingo, soon Java,

ONE of major feature, on our view, is -- Valentina Server -- which is DB Server + Report Server,
Can you point any other such report tool for RB? I did not hear ...
This means that you can develop REALbasic app, which talks to Valentina Server, which generate reports.
This can be useful for small office or class-rooms. For example, using Valentina Studio, a teacher can remotely connect to VSERVER,
add/change reports, and this immediately come into game.


With 5.0 version Valentina Reports are able work with
* local Valentina DB
* local SQLite DB
* localhost/remote Valentina Server
* localhost/remote Postgre Server
* localhost/remote mySQL Server
* ODBC datasource.



MORE INFO HERE:

** You can check this videos to see how looks Report Editor in Valentina Studio Pro (included into bundle)
http://www.valentina-db.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=valentina:video:vspro:vspro

** and this snapshots
http://www.valentina-db.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=valentina:products:vstudio_pro:vs_pro_gallery

** List of Features:
http://www.valentina-db.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=valentina:features:vstudio:vstudio_pro:report_editor


Note, that for PDF, Valentina reports can work with embedded XML.
Again this was implemented on request from Bart company, because that was needed for complex business workflow, as I remember...


Please keep asking anything specific if above info miss something

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:58 am 
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Location: Lenexa, KS
I have some experience with it and I'm currently evaluating it for a Web Edition project.

Pro's: It actually works (unlike some other reporting tools out there). It can create images, html, and PDF reports. Easy to use Banded Report designer. Pretty fast and doesn't appear to chew up a lot of memory even with large reports.

Con's: The report designer is a little funky and it's not very RB-like. You'll have to create your own report preview UI. Definitely a pricier alternative (but the OmegaBundle makes this easier).

Frankly, my only hesitation with it is my historical dealings with the Valentina database (not reports) where the Valentina db plugin crashed (a lot) and easily corrupted my database. I've not used it since so YMMV.

The non-intuitive controls in the Report Designer will (probably) not be an issue once I've used it for more than a simple evaluation. Once I figured out how to pass in the path (needs a non-escaped Posix path) to the non-Valentina databases life got easier. Rendering to HTML and PDF as well as image is very handy.

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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:15 am 
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Certainly hoping not to hijack the OP; but rather to expand the usefulness a bit...

I've never understood the "purpose" of report programs. When I make software it's never me wanting reports, but my customer. I've opted the direction of making the reports myself and exporting them as PDF for the customer to use. Would I have to give them the Valentina Reports program and train them on it? Is there an API I can use to create my own on the fly? I just don't like handing customers a list of programs to use, especially ones I can't directly support. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:27 am 
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Bob Keeney wrote:
Con's: The report designer is a little funky and it's not very RB-like. You'll have to create your own report preview UI. Definitely a pricier alternative (but the OmegaBundle makes this easier).


Hi Bob,

this one line with 3 your points raises questions from me to you. :)

1) about which version you talk now? 4.8 (2 years old)? 4.9 (1 year old)? 5.0b36 (3 days old)?

2) our Report Designer is not intuitive??? Can you give couple of examples where our controls are not intuitive? If this is reality, we can change this very easy ...

3) What you mean with with "You'll have to create your own report preview UI" ?
You mean here REALbasic application or what?
Please show me tool or REALbasic(?) where this works in other way?

4) EXPENSIVE ??? :-)
Let me repeat very aloud. Exists FREE way to use in DEVELOPMENT and DEPLOYMENT of even commercial apps
a) Valentina Database
b) Valentina Reports

HOW? Because exists FREE Valentina Server/5.

Everybody can download it and use FREE.
Then everybody can take any Valentina ADK for RB, PHP, ObjC, C++, NET, ....
and develop application which is client to that VSERVER. Any Valentina CLIENT is FREE. It not asks for any serials in the Valentina.InitClient().
Its only LOCAL database engine asks for serials in the Valentina.Init( serialMac, serianWin, serialLinux )..

You see, Bob?

So we give to all developers FREE way to use Valentina Database and Valentina Reports.

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:41 am 
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Location: Warfordsburg, PA
Jason_Adams wrote:
Certainly hoping not to hijack the OP; but rather to expand the usefulness a bit...

I've never understood the "purpose" of report programs. When I make software it's never me wanting reports, but my customer. I've opted the direction of making the reports myself and exporting them as PDF for the customer to use. Would I have to give them the Valentina Reports program and train them on it? Is there an API I can use to create my own on the fly? I just don't like handing customers a list of programs to use, especially ones I can't directly support. :?


Jason,

It is much easier than what you think. All you have to do is distribute the .vsp file(s) (the report source for lack of a better description) with your application. At least on OSX all of the runtime code is embedded in your application as part of the Valentina ADK. Personally, I prefer that approach because it has the advantage that you can distribute a change to a specific report without having to re-distribute the entire application.

I also think that Bob must have been working with an older version of the report designer. From my own experience it works just fine. Every report designer I've ever worked with, Crystal Reports for VB, Fast Reports for Delphi, etc. all have differences compared to the IDE that you are using them in. You just have to keep in mind that the report designer isn't your development IDE and treat it as an additional IDE.

There's my two cents worth.

-Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:46 am 
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Jason_Adams wrote:
I've never understood the "purpose" of report programs. When I make software it's never me wanting reports, but my customer. I've opted the direction of making the reports myself and exporting them as PDF for the customer to use. Would I have to give them the Valentina Reports program and train them on it? Is there an API I can use to create my own on the fly? I just don't like handing customers a list of programs to use, especially ones I can't directly support. :?


:) Reports not my favor area of development also, but I will try answer, because some time ago I self asked that.

** REPORTS are tightly integrated with databases. With big enough databases. Look around, FileMaker has built-in reports, 4D, Access. For DBs as mySQL, Postgre, MS SQL, Oracle exists many enough third-party report tools. True? So you can find on inet a lots of info why they exists and how to use them

** When Bart have come to us, and asked develop report engine for Valentina DB, we also asked him why you need reports. Key answer (on my point of view) was:
I want developer reports (PDFs in particular in his project) visually
INSTEAD write code in RB or PHP.

If to think, this is same Model-View-Controller pattern.
Reports play role of VIEW. Database plays role of Model, RB/PHP code play role of Controller.

Now they have some PHP/RB code. If they need change or add some reports,
what they need?

Right, then need just open Valentina Studio, and in Report Designer ad/change something, save this under their Valentina Server,
and bingo -- users get new corrected reports.

This job can do designer, but not developer.
NO CODDING HERE.
NO NEED to recompile apps


** Next, report engine gives you in hand logic about HOW TO layout many records from database into FIXED-size paper e.g. A4 format ... How move next record to the next page, and so on...

I can compare Report engines to PageMaker / inDesign applications, which take many TEXT files prepared in simple text editor, and build multi-page book or newspaper... Reports play the same role working with database records ...

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


Last edited by ruslan_zasukhin on Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:13 am 
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mbierly wrote:
It is much easier than what you think. All you have to do is distribute the .vsp file(s) (the report source for lack of a better description) with your application. At least on OSX all of the runtime code is embedded in your application as part of the Valentina ADK. Personally, I prefer that approach because it has the advantage that you can distribute a change to a specific report without having to re-distribute the entire application.


Right, thank you Mike :)

again -- REPORTS allow you in some projects extract some task from coding-level to into GUI-design level.
no need recompile ..

TEAM DEVELOPMENT

But this is only one side ... I ask you guys realize how much advanced things you can do using Valentina Server.
Image team of developers, where N developers around Valentina Server develop few reports in the same time.

In Valentina Server and Valentina Studio 5.0 we also add diagrams for databases under VSERVER -- this is one more step forward to TEAM DEVELOPMENT. Valentina Server can be in Germany, Team in 5 countries around and in the same time develop diagrams, db schema, reports, and after that PHP or RB code around that ...


API of USAGE

On the start we have made many functions in RB plugin to manage reports... then we have cut this to only 2 simple classes
** VProject -- local .vsp file or remote .vsp project under VSERVER
which has 2 methods: MakeNewReport( name, db, query )

You can see analogy with how we work with SQL dbs. You have only TWO entry pouts actually usually: SqlSelect() and SqlExecute() or even one function as SqlQuery() ... And all power of SQL is managed by this via SQL strings ...

Again, taking into account idea that REPORTs should reduce RB/PHP coding, we have minimal API.
We think this is strange and not good idea built reports "on the fly" using RB code and some API ...
Why ?? This kills the whole idea :)

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:48 am 
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Ok, this all sounds intriguing.

I wonder though now how it works with the built-in SQLite db in RB and how it fit into RB altogether?

I presume I can use actions in my RB application, like "Push this button for a July 2012 report"? And that calls the Valentina Reports to make it and then promts the user to save the file?

I just need the gist of the work/operational flow, I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:56 am 
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Kyan wrote:
Ok, this all sounds intriguing.

I wonder though now how it works with the built-in SQLite db in RB and how it fit into RB altogether?

I presume I can use actions in my RB application, like "Push this button for a July 2012 report"? And that calls the Valentina Reports to make it and then promts the user to save the file?

I just need the gist of the work/operational flow, I guess.


It's pretty simple. There's an example that does just this sort of thing in the download package (Examples/VReport/SQLite/). The sequence is this:

You open the file containing the Valentina reports.
Select the Report (this is by index number) to run.
Generate the report by telling it the sqlite file (posix) location and the query string.

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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:11 am 
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Bob Keeney wrote:
It's pretty simple. There's an example that does just this sort of thing in the download package (Examples/VReport/SQLite/). The sequence is this:

You open the file containing the Valentina reports.
Select the Report (this is by index number) to run.
Generate the report by telling it the sqlite file (posix) location and the query string.


Let me add right here more info.

*** VALENTINA PROJECT FILE ***

We have decide that we will use special file-container that will contains MANY reports and other objects.
We have name this "Valentina project". This file has .vsp extension. This is like REALbasic project.
You create a new Valentina project first time using Valentina Studio PRO.
You will see that right on start page of Vstudio 5.0 beta: http://www.valentina-db.com/download/beta/

Then you need minimal do next steps:
a) create a datasource on some database
b) create a named SQL query to produce cursor with records
c) start design report and using that cursor see preview...

Note, that during development of report you can use DB_TEST, but later in REALbasic app you can runtime give other database to be used by this report. Important is only that report get cursor with the same set of fields.

Note, that REPORT developed on e.g. mySQL database, can be used later with SQLite db.

Top Secret :-) wrote:
In fact this file IS a Valentina database, so if change extension .vsp to .vdb then it impossible open this file in Valentina Studio as regular Valentina db file, where to see some Tables and reports stored as XML text in records.

Why we have used Valentina database?

BECAUSE this allows us keep it under Valentina Server and get MULTI-USER access to report generator.
Although we was need extend yet protocol of VSERVER to send special report-related commands.


Next post will be about usage pattern in RB ...

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:25 am 
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When report(s) are prepared in Valentina Studio PRO and stored in the some "***.vsp" file, you can use that reports in your REALbasic/PHP/NET/ObjC code with the help of only TWO small classes VProject and VReport, which are part of V4RB plugin.

* Before you start work with reports you need init Valentina Report engine using
Valentina.InitReports()

* Class VProject allows you to specify LOCAL or REMOTE .vsp file. For example, look on code from SQLite example:
// obtain folder item for file in the same folder.
mProjectPath = getOpenFolderItem( "" )

mProject = new VProject( mProjectPath )
mProject.Open()


* When you have project opened you can create VReport object using VProject.MakeNewReport() method.

mReport = mProject.MakeNewReport(
"Report_1", datasource_str , "SELECT * FROM T1" )


Here datasource_str is string that specifies kind of datasource with help of prefix and parameters how access it:

* Finally you can generate report as PDF / HTML / Picture using single method VReport.PrintToDisk()

f =getSaveFolderItem( "*.pdf", "my_report.pdf" )

// 1,10 -- start /end pages to generate
mReport.PrintToDisk( f, EVReportPrintType.kToPDF, 1, 10 )



** OPTIONALLY you can easy organize for your user preview of report (page by page) using
    VReport.PageCount
    VReport.PreviewHeight
    VReport.PreviewWidth
    VReport.PreviewZoom e.g. = 50%
    VReport.PreviewPage( N )

So .... to produce report you need in general 4 lines of REALbasic code ...
Easy enough, yes?

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:31 am 
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So, if I buy the Omegabundle, will I need anything else from Valentina to run Valentina reports? And if I do, is there a cost to that?

I'm still not sure if Valentina Reports stands on its own, or requires some other PAradigma products to use.


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:58 am 
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Kyan wrote:
So, if I buy the Omegabundle, will I need anything else from Valentina to run Valentina reports? And if I do, is there a cost to that?

I'm still not sure if Valentina Reports stands on its own, or requires some other PAradigma products to use.


If you buy OB you get 3 products from us in this bundle to work with reports and OF COURSE this is complete set.

1) Valentina Studio PRO -- one platform, e.g. mac. Normally 199$

You need this to design reports.
[OPTIONAL] Somebody may want get more copies of VSudio PRO to get e.g. also win/linux platforms also...

2) Valentina Reports ADK+ for REALbasic., normally 399$

this gives you 3 serials mac+win+linux, to be used in the Valentina.InitReports() to develop
standalone RB application, which can work with LOCAL .vsp file ....

ALSO you can develop, actually this is FREE way, RB application, which connects to VSERVER with .vsp file
and ask VSERVER generate reports.

And you can even mix both these ways in your app if you want.

3) VServer Office [INFINITE connections], normally 1500$

This is VSERVER (database+reports) for you own office. One copy. You cannot deploy it to your users.
But your users can get from us FREE VServer/5 connections if this model is okay.
As you know, mySQL often claims -- let your users download mySQL server and use it.


NOTE: Even first two enough to develop standalone RB apps with embedded report engine and client/server apps that talk to vserver.

NOTE2: All our products go with 1 year of subscription to get new builds for free during this subscription period. I underline this to expose that if you meet any bugs, or you will have feature requests, we fix/do that and you get newer build that should better satisfy you. And be sure we try support our products a lots, and we have big TODO plans. In our Mantis registered about 150-200 TODO features for reports engine only ...

===============================
WE have yet 4) related product for that developers who still want deploy VSERVER in the own installer.
This product is named Valentina Embedded Server (VDN). 599$
Using this, developer get license install VSERVER to computer of clients from own installer and run it.
So your clients need only double click to get working solution.

But you are not forced to use this, as you can see. You have many ways ...

_________________
Best regards,

Ruslan Zasukhin
VP Engineering and New Technology
Paradigma Software, Inc

Valentina Server, Valentina for REALbasic, Valentina Reports, ...
http://www.paradigmasoft.com


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 Post subject: Re: Valentina reports - anyone have experience using them?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:38 am 
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Excellent. I think I'll do it then.

Thanks for all your patience with the explanations.


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