]project-open[ Reporting & Indicators Options
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]project-open[ Reporting & Indicators Options

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This tutorial explains a number of different ways to extract information from ]project-open[ as a kind of “report” or "indicator"

This tutorial explains a number of different ways to extract information from ]project-open[ as a kind of “report” or "indicator"

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    ]project-open[ Reporting & Indicators Options ]project-open[ Reporting & Indicators Options Presentation Transcript

    • ]po[ Reporting & Indicators Options The ]project-open[ Data-Model , Frank Bergmann, 2010-10-06 This tutorial explains a number of different ways to extract information from ]project-open[ as a kind of “report”
    • Overview: Different Types of Reports
      • Reporting is one of the most basic requirements for a business application.
      • ]project-open[ provides a large variety of different ways to display data with
      • differing degrees of sophistication and complexity:
      • Simple SQL Query in pgAdminIII or PSQL : Simply execute a SQL query using a PostgreSQL client outside of ]po[
      • MS-Access Report : You can store MS-Access reports in a ]po[ filestorage or even link to it using a “menu”
      • MS-Excel Report : You can define the ]po[ database as a data-source for MS-Excel.
      • im_ad_hoc_query $sql in /ds/shell : Useful for ad-hoc queries and for development.
      • im_ad_hoc_query $sql in a TCL page : Easy way to deploy an ad-hoc query in a production system. You can also add a menu to the reporting section.
      • Dynamic Report (Reporting -> New Report) : Similar to ad-hoc query, but with built-in deployment.
      • ]po[ Reporting Engine : The ]po[ reporting engine allows for grouping, aggregation, sub-totals and grand totals.
      • Nightly Evaluation of Long Running Reports : You can setup a “cron” script to save report results as a static HTML page at night.
      • Indicator : A special type of report that returns only a single numeric value. ]po[ takes care to regularly evaluate the SQL query and to store the values to create a timeline.
      • Histogram Chart : A histogram is a Portlet that takes a SQL query as an argument. The query needs to return rows with Name – Value pairs.
      • Data-Warehouse Cube : DW-Cubes may already cover your reporting needs. You can aggregate by drop-down type of DynFields.
      • Pie Chart based on DW-Cube : You can show a pie chart of the summary of a DW cube.
    • Simple SQL Query in pgAdminIII or PSQL
      • pgAdminIII allows you to execute SQL queries manually.
      • pgAdminIII allows to save SQL queries in .sql files
      • Advantages:
        • Quick development
        • Integrated with tree-view to the database, tables, views etc.
      • Disadvantages:
        • Requires manual execution
    • MS-Access Report
      • You can use Microsoft Access as a reporting engine:
      • MS-Access can access the ]project-open[ PostgreSQL database without problems
      • You can use all available MS-Access tools to develop your reports
      • Advantages:
        • Comfortable development tools
        • Easy entry for beginners
      • Disadvantages
        • Security issues if every computer has full access to the database. As an alternative, you could report on certain views only with restricted permissions.
        • Every computer needs a PostgreSQL ODBC installed locally
    • MS-Excel Report
      • You can use Microsoft Excel as a reporting engine:
      • MS-Excel can access the ]project-open[ PostgreSQL database without problems
      • You can use all available MS-Excel tools to develop your reports, including pivot tables and Excel macros.
      • Advantages:
        • Comfortable development tools
        • Easy entry for beginners
        • Excel allows for complex post-processing of data in separate sheets
        • Pivot tables allow for data-warehouse like reports
      • Disadvantages
        • Limitation of the number of rows
        • Security issues if every computer has full access to the database. As an alternative, you could report on certain views only with restricted permissions.
        • Every computer needs a PostgreSQL ODBC installed locally
    • im_ad_hoc_query $sql in /ds/shell
      • The ]project-open[/OpenACS /ds/shell page allows developers to execute TCL commands interactively
      • The “im_ad_hoc_query $sql” TCL command takes a SQL query and returns the results in “html”, “csv” or “plain” format
      • Advantages:
        • Well suitable for ad-hoc queries
        • Integrated into ]project-open[
        • Working queries can be easily deployed (see later reporting options)
      • Disadvantages:
        • /ds/shell requires manual execution
        • im_ad_hoc_query does not support aggregation and parameters.
    • im_ad_hoc_query $sql in a TCL page
      • Once your query is running in the /ds/shell environment, you can easily deploy the report as a ]project-open[ page.
      • The example below shows how to include the “im_ad_hoc_query” statement into a “.ADP” page.
      • You may then create a new menu item in the ]po[ reporting section (Admin -> Menus -> Create New Menu) in order to integrate the new report into the rest of the system.
      • Advantage:
        • Easy deployment of reports developed in /ds/shell
        • Integrated with the rest of the ]po[ environment
      • Disadvantages:
        • im_ad_hoc_query doesn’t support grouping and sub-totals
        • No security. You will have to add security checks manually.
    • Dynamic Report (Reporting -> New Report)
      • Administrators can create new reports in Reporting -> New Report
      • These “dynamic reports” behave just like im_ad_hoc_query.
      • Advantages:
        • Dynamic Reports automatically create a menu item for you that links to the report and allow to manage permissions
        • Dynamic Reports allow you to export the data in CSV format.
      • Disadvantages:
        • Like all im_ad_hoc_query based reports: No grouping and sub-totals.
    • ]po[ Reporting Engine
      • The ]po[ reporting engine allows to create arbitrarily complex reports in a style similar to MS-Access and Crystal Reports.
      • Advantages:
        • Allows for group, sub-totals and totals
        • Allows for parameters
        • Allows for different “Levels of Detail”
        • Allows for “drill-down”. Clicking on one of the [+] icons will show a more details view
      • Disadvantages:
        • Requires considerable TCL programming skills
    • Nightly Evaluation of Long Running Reports
      • Reports frequently can take several seconds or even minutes to execute.
      • One way to provide users with a more agile reply is to pre-evaluate reports (at night) and to provide the results as a static HTML page to the user.
      • The following command will execute the “report.adp” and store the results as a static HTML page:
        • wget http://localhost/report -o ~/www/report.html
      • Advantages:
        • Fast response time
        • The static HTML page still provides drill-in capabilities.
      • Disadvantages:
        • Extra effort to schedule the evaluation
        • Scheduling many reports may lead to overlaps at night
    • Indicators
      • Indicators are a special type of “report” that only returns a single numeric value.
      • ]po[ takes care to regularly evaluate the SQL query and to store the values to create a timeline.
      • Indicators allow for permissions per indicator, so you can limit the visibility to certain user groups.
      • Advantages:
        • Allows to build management dashboards, balanced scorecards etc.
      • Disadvantages:
        • Only suitable for certain reporting purposes
        • It is very difficult to develop indicators that are really relevant to a business.
    • Histogram Chart
      • A histogram chart is a simple “Portlet Component” that takes a SQL query as a parameter.
      • The query needs to return two columns only:
        • A name (here: ticket_type)
        • A number (here: count)
      • Advantages:
        • Easy to develop
        • Easy to integrate into existing pages in ]po[
      • Disadvantages:
        • Limited reporting capabilities
    • Data-Warehouse Cube
      • ]po[ includes an integrated Data-Warehouse as a commercial add-on package.
      • “ Cubes” are capable of aggregating data along many “dimensions”.
      • Advantages:
        • One DW-cube can replace tens of separate reports.
        • DW-cubes allow the user to “slice and dice” data
        • DynFields (drop-down) can be used as “dimensions” in a DW. For example, a “Business Sector” DynField per customer will automatically appear in the Finance cube.
        • Seamlessly integrated into ]po[
      • Disadvantages:
        • Commercial package, license costs.
        • Only numeric values can be shown in a DW
    • Pie Chart Based on DW-Cube
      • Pie charts can take a “sum” column of a data-warehouse cube as a data-source.
      • Advantages:
        • Easy creation of pie charts
      • Disadvantages:
        • Data can only be extracted from existing DW-cubes.
    • Frank Bergmann [email_address] www.project-open.com