Friday, December 21, 2007

ACCPAC Query is Back!

In 2000, we created a customized version of Stonefield Query for the ACCPAC accounting system. It became so popular with ACCPAC resellers and customers that ACCPAC International, the company that makes ACCPAC, licensed it from us as one of their ACCPAC Options products. We renamed it to ACCPAC Query and private labelled it for them so it had their company name, logo, and activation mechanism. Later that year, we created a similar version for the ACCPAC Pro Series accounting system, formerly known as SBT.

Fast forward seven years. By a mutual decision, Sage Software (which now owns ACCPAC International) has returned all rights to ACCPAC Query back to Stonefield Software. Both companies are very happy about this, because it allows Sage Software to concentrate their support and marketing resources on their own products (they've been returning almost all of their "OEM" products back to the original developers for this reason) and we are now free to develop and market the product as we see fit.

For ACCPAC Query users and resellers, this is definitely a great thing for a variety of reasons:
  • You'll get support directly from Stonefield Software. Who knows software better than the developers? As you can see from the testimonials, Stonefield is renowned for providing timely, superior technical support for all of our products.
  • More frequent updates. The release of new versions of ACCPAC Query is no longer tied to the release cycle of Sage products nor is it held up by the limited resources of the Sage product development team. For example, a new version of ACCPAC Query, providing powerful new features such as charting and drilldowns, is planned for March 2008. This version wasn't due for release from Sage Software until Q3 2008.
  • We have a new reseller program Sage Business Partners will love, including better margins and support. We're in the process of staffing a new Channel Account Manager for Accounting Systems; once that's done, he or she will contact all Sage Business Partners with details.
  • More and better training. We're in the middle of revamping training for Stonefield Query and plan to roll out a number of new courses that go more in-depth into the program early in the new year.

If you're a Sage Business Partner or Sage ERP or Sage Pro ERP user, contact us now to find out about the new ACCPAC Query and how it can help your business. Call Mickey at 800-563-1119 today.

This Week's Build: SDK

Most of the work over the past couple of weeks has been finishing the new negative query feature and bug fixes, although we did sneak in a couple of new features as well:
  • A new Prompt for Subtables option in the Add Database dialog of the Configuration Utility allows you to indicate whether you are prompted for subtable names when multiple relationships are found between tables or a table has a self-join. While this is turned on by default, you may wish to turn it off if you don't plan on dealing with multiple relations and don't want to be prompted for them every time you refresh the data dictionary.
  • A new Include Database in Header report option adds the database name to the report header. This is handy if you have multiple data sources and want to show which one a particular report run is for.
  • Opening a project in the Configuration Utility makes it the default one. This still also happens when you close it, but now you don't have to close the Configuration Utility to make it the default. This is handy if you switch between multiple projects a lot like we here at Stonefield do.
  • You no longer get an unexpected error but instead a warning message if you try to report on two tables that aren't related in a very large (i.e. hundreds of tables) data dictionary. (In technical terms, we prevent blowing the call stack when the recursive code trying to find a relationship gets too deep.)
  • You can no longer resize the Reports Explorer window so small that the reports list is hidden.
  • The Registration dialog now gives you a warning if you click the Print button without first filling in the serial number, and the prompt in the dialog tells you that value is needed.
  • The hotkey for the Advanced Layout function in Step 5 of the Quick Report Wizard was changed from "V" to "D" so it doesn't conflict with the Preview function.
  • Renaming a database added to the Configuration Utility through an OLE DB provider no longer causes a new database with the original name to be added to the data dictionary when you refresh.
  • Renaming a table, subtable, or virtual table when you have more than one data dictionary table no longer results in records for both the old and new names.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Versions of Stonefield Query for AccountMate

AccountMate recently released version 7.3 of AccountMate for SQL (and express). This release included a handful of new fields, as well as a new method of connecting to the database (DSN-Less connection). There is a new version of Stonefield Query for AccountMate SQL up on our website that supports these changes.

In addition to this, AccountMate also provided an upgrade path for users using the LAN version to upgrade their Payroll module. Essentially, the rest of the database continues to exist as it did before, but the Payroll tables reside on a SQL Server instead. The new version of Stonefield Query for AccountMate LAN supports this type of Payroll module.

Monday, December 10, 2007

This Week's Build

Work last week focused mainly on the negative query feature I blogged about last week. We also did a number of bug fixes and added a couple of new things:
  • Filtering on a calculated field that has a different output data type than how it's actually stored (for example, a character field you want treated as a logical field) in a custom SQL statement now works correctly.
  • Using the RunSQL function in the Advanced Report Designer with a SQL statement containing a join now works correctly.
  • Previously, if you used the zoom feature for the code for a script (right-click and choose Zoom), then selected a different script, then closed the zoom window, the selected script's code was overwritten with the code in the zoom window. Now, the code is saved to the originally selected script.
  • The Subtable Filter of a subtable has to contain a reference to the subtable, not the original table. To prevent errors, when you fill in the filter, the Configuration Utility automatically converts the original name to the subtable name in case you entered the wrong name.
  • The DataEngine object has a new GetFieldsFromSQLStatement method that, similar to the GetTablesFromSQLStatement method, returns a collection of the fields involved in the specified statement.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Link Actions

Stonefield Query now supports Link Actions. This means that if a field on a report is marked with a Link Action then clicking on that field in the Report Preview will perform that action.

There are three built-in actions in Stonefield Query: Email, which launches your email program with an email address filled in; Web site, which navigates your browser to a specific URL; and Report, which runs the specified report.

You can also define custom actions by creating a Link Action script in the Configuration Utility. If you turn on the Link action setting for a script, Stonefield Query automatically includes the description contained in the Description setting in an Action drop-down list in the Link page of the Field Properties dialog.

As an example you may have a Stonefield Query project that reports on a Real Estate database. It would be very useful to add a Link Action where the user can click on a Property ID and have their web browser automatically open to Google Maps with a map of that Property displayed. Below is an example of how to do this but first there are a few rules that Link Action scripts must follow:

The code for a link action script must accept two parameters. The first is a field name and the second is the value of that field in the record the user clicked. Your code can do anything it wishes with these parameters, except if the first parameter is blank, this is a "discovery" call from the Field Properties dialog. In that case, the script must return a comma-delimited list of field names that should appear in the Action Parameter drop-down list in that dialog.

Here is a quick example:

lparameters tcFieldName, tuValue

if empty(tcFieldName)
return 'Customers.CompanyName'
* do whatever is necessary

To open a specific address in Google Maps all we need is the base Google Maps URL ( then we can concatenate our Address, City, State, Zip and Country fields to it. Google Maps is very forgiving so the order that you add the fields to the URL is not relevant and it is pretty good at finding the address even if some fields are missing.

To create a Google Maps Link Action: make a new script, check off the "Link action" option and fill in the Description text box with something like: Google Maps

Then, copy and paste the skeleton code below. The only section of code that you will need to alter is the TABLE.FIELDNAME value that gets returned in the discovery call and the function that looks up your specific Address, City, State, Zip and Country fields (here it is called GetLocationforGMaps).

* Google Maps Link Action Script
lparameters tcFieldName, tuValue
local lcURL, lnSelect, lcLocation

* Declare the ShellExecute function so that we can use it to open the
* users browser to our
specified URL
INTEGER nWinHandle,;
STRING cOperation,;
STRING cFileName,;
STRING cParameters,;
STRING cDirectory,;
INTEGER nShowWindow

* Return the field that will appear in the Action Parameter drop down
* when we Link on this field

* Change this to return your correct TABLE.FIELDNAME

if empty(tcFieldName)

* Save the current work area so we can restore it later
lnSelect = select()
select 0

* tuValue will contain the PROPERTYID that the user clicked on
* We need to use that to lookup the Address, City, State, Zip
* and Country fields

* The
GetLocationforGMaps() function will be specific to your project
lcLocation = GetLocationforGMaps(tuValue)

* Our lcLocation variable now contains the concatenated Address, City
* State,
Zip and Country fields separated by spaces
if not empty(lcLocation)

* Append the location info to the base Google Maps URL
lcURL = '' + lcLocation

* Pass the completed URL to ShellExecute
* ShelleExecute Parameter list:
ShellExecute(0, 'Open', lcURL, 0, 0, 5)


* Restore the Original Work Area
select (lnSelect)


There is no limit to what you can accomplish with a Link Action script. You could even have your script communicate with another running program and perform a certain action when a user clicks on a field.

For example, in Stonefield Query for Goldmine we have a Link Action where you can make Goldmine itself automatically move to a certain Contact when you click that Contact Name in the Stonefield Query Report Preview window. This is very useful while doing database cleanup.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stonefield Query Features Added

We added the following new features in the past week:

  • Support for terminating licenses, or subscriptions. (Note that we used to call annual fees for updates and support "subscriptions" but have changed that to "software maintenance".) This allows someone to license the use of Stonefield Query one month at a time.

  • Templates can now specify the paper size and source (such as a certain bin) so you don't need to use the Advanced Report Designer to, for example, output a report on legal paper.

  • Support for queries involving the absense of data (internally, we call these "negative queries"). For example, suppose you want a list of all people you did not contact last year or all customers who didn't buy a certain product. Previously, you had to customize the SQL statement for the report to achieve this. Now you simply specify how to exclude certain records using the same dialog you use to create a filter on a report.

  • Places in Stonefield Query that support expressions (such as the report header or footer) now support non-character expressions such as the current date.

  • The Text datasource handles more types of date values.

  • Bug fix: Stonefield Query wasn't respecting changes to the font style for a field in a report (for example, making it bold).

  • Bug fix: the Ignore This Condition choice in the conditions list of the Link page in the Field Properties dialog acted like None (that is, you were still prompted for an ask-at-runtime condition).

  • Bug fix: a data group with a name that's a subset of another data group (for example, "My Group" and "My Group 1") now works properly.

  • Bug fix: the Advanced Report Designer no longer sizes a field past the right edge of the report when it automatically determines the size.