Friday, September 10, 2010

Stonefield Query for ALERE 4.0

We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Stonefield Query for ALERE version 4.0. There are lots of new and improved features in version 4.0.

We have a video covering some of the new features in the Report Designer.

Report Wizards
  • You can now customize the relationships between tables in a report without having to edit the SQL statement for the report.
  • You can now turn on the Show percentage of total option when you use the Count and Count Distinct summary types in Quick and Cross-Tab reports.
  • You can now use the Highest and Lowest summary types on all fields, not just numeric ones.
  • You can now create a filter condition that compares a field in one table to a field in another table by using an expression condition.
  • Creating a formula by clicking the Formula button in Step 2 of the report wizards now automatically adds the new formula to the report.
  • The list displayed when you click the Values button in Step 2 of the report wizards or the Expression Builder now displays two columns of information for certain fields: the value displayed in reports and the actual value stored in the database.
  • If Stonefield Query closed due to a problem and you were in the middle of editing a report in a report wizard, the next time you start the program, it prompts if you want to recover and continue editing that report. Choosing No abandons the recovered report so the changes are lost.
  • You now have finer control over the placement of a report's filter in a custom SQL statement.
Quick Reports
  • You can now group on a field even if the Display this field in the report option is turned off. This is useful, for example, if you want to group on customer ID but display customer name in the group header.
  • You can now create bookmarks on fields that are included in the group header of another field.
  • You now get a warning in the Field Properties dialog if you turn on the Include this field in group header for option and select a grouped field in a different table than the current field.
  • New options in the Chart Wizard allow you to stack series in area, bar, and column charts and combine smaller slices into one "other" slice in pie charts.
  • You can now specify whether a chart added to a quick or cross-tab report appears at the top or bottom of the report using the new Position on report option.
  • The Total type option in the Field Properties dialog for the Chart Wizard has a new Count Distinct setting.
  • The Summary report option in Step 4 of the Chart Wizard has been removed. Instead, set Total type in the Field Properties dialog to None, meaning you want individual values plotted rather than summarized values.
  • The Multi-line option in the Labels page of Step 4 in the Chart Wizard is no longer available for Windows XP since that option is only supported in Windows Vista and later versions.
  • You now receive a warning if you create a quick or cross-tab report, add a chart to it, then remove one or more of the fields used in the chart.
  • Outputting a chart report to an image (such as GIF) now outputs just the chart, not an entire page with the template.
Cross-Tab Reports
  • You can now specify how a date field used in the row of a cross-tab report is formatted: as a date, hour, week, month, quarter, or year.
  • You can now specify the width and what to do if the width is too narrow in row and data fields in the Cross Tab Wizard.
  • The Field Properties dialog now has a Suppress repeating values option for row fields. If this option is turned on (which it is by default) and several records in a row have the same value in this field, only the first occurrence is printed; the field in subsequent records appears blank.
  • A new _TOTAL value is True only for the grand totals line in a cross-tab report, so you can use that in, for example, the Print When expression of an object in a template to output that object only for the totals line. Similarly, _SUBTOTAL can be used to output an object only in a subtotals line.
Preview and Output
  • A new file output type is available: Microsoft Excel PivotTable. This type, which is only available for cross-tab reports, creates an Excel PivotTable formatted the same as the cross-tab report, but you can use Excel to change or pivot the report as necessary.
  • You can now output cross-tabulation and advanced layout reports to more file types, including Microsoft Excel data-only and delimited.
  • The Embed fonts in the file option on the Output page allows you to embed the fonts used in the report, such as a barcode font, in a PDF file.
  • The Preview window now supports the same types of output types as the Output page of the Reports Explorer.
  • When you run a report, the Reports Explorer and any open report wizard windows become dim and a progress window appears, showing you the progress of the report process and allowing you to cancel the process before it finishes. You can turn this off if you wish by turning off the Display progress during report runs setting in the Options dialog.
Advanced Report Designer
  • Several of the object property dialogs in the Advanced Report Designer have some changes. The Rotation option no longer appears on the General page but on its own Rotation page because it now shows a sample of how the rotation will look. The properties dialogs for field, picture, rectangle, and line objects have a new Dynamics page that allows you to conditionally alter the appearance of the object. Because the conditions on the Dynamics page are more flexible than dynamic font and color settings, those two items have been removed from the Style page for field objects.
  • You can now use gradient colors for rectangles in the Advanced Report Designer, both for reports and templates. A couple of new sample templates, Gradient Template and Valencia Orange, show how these can be used to produce nice, professional effects in your reports.
  • If you use Windows Vista or later, you can now change the printer used for an advanced layout report in the Page Layout page of the Report Properties dialog (this option was previously and is still available for Windows XP and earlier).
Other Features
  • When Stonefield Query finds an ALERE SQL database and asks for "connection info", you can select the "I do not want to report on this ALERE Company" option if you don't know the connection information for that SQL database or do not want to report on it.
  • Some fields in the ALERE database are actually a Code value that joins to the "Company Codes" table. In Stonefield Query, these fields automatically display as the "Code Description" value from the "Company Codes" table instead of as the Code value. Each of these "Code Description" fields also has a companion field that let's you display the original Code value in a report if needed.
  • The "Inventory Location" table has a few new calculated fields:

    "On Hand Value" = "Quantity On Hand" * "Average Cost"
    "Alllocated" = "Sales Order Allocation" + "Work Order Allocation"
    "On Order" = "On Order from Purchase Order" + "On Order from Work Order"
    "Available" = "Quantity On Hand" + "On Order from Purchase Order" + "On Order from Work Order" - ("Sales Order Allocation" + "Work Order Allocation")
  • The "Inventory Activity Log" table now contains a calculated "Status" field that tells you the Status of the record based on the "Transaction Type" and "Order Type".
  • You can now use fields from tables involved in the report for exclusion conditions. This means you can create a report that, for example, shows all customer who bought something last year (using a filter condition of sales date is between January 1 and December 31 of last year) but didn't this year (using an exclude condition of sales date is between January 1 and December 31 of this year).
  • The performance of certain types of formulas was improved.
  • The Formulas dialog now has a Copy function to make it easier to create a formula similar to an existing one.
  • The Formula Editor now has a Data Provider option so you can select the data provider the tables in the Tables list are from.
  • The default name when you copy a report is now the existing report name with a "1" suffix; in previous versions, the default name was blank.
  • The login dialog now has a link to the Setup dialog. This is useful if you need to change something about the Stonefield Query setup before logging in.
  • You cannot schedule reports if you are running Stonefield Query on Windows Terminal Server or Citrix since those environments don't permit it.
  • The version number now displays in the Reports Explorer title bar so you can quickly see which version you are running.
  • You can now specify carbon copy (CC) addresses when sending emails.
  • If you're using Microsoft Outlook or some other MAPI email program, you can now enter the name of a distribution list in the To, CC, and BCC options to send the email to a group of people.
  • Importing several reports that use formulas at one time is now significantly faster than before.
  • Specifying "ALLOWDIALOGS" when running Stonefield Query from another application or the command line now causes a progress dialog to display as the report runs.
  • Diagnostic logging is now always performed. A file called Diagnostic.TXT is created in the Data subdirectory of the program folder and is overwritten every time you start Stonefield Query. This file is very useful for tracking down errors or performance issues, and previously was only created if a file named Log.TXT existed.
  • Stonefield Query now displays a message that it's retrieving news items while it does that task so you can see what's going on.