4.2. Configuration and Execution of Reports

After opening a report in the TeamSpace ReportServer takes you to the report execution module. This module is only active if at least one report is open and you can switch between modules using the module bar on the top of the screen. The report execution module allows you to configure the opened report (e.g., set parameters) and export the report into various formats. You can also schedule automatic execution of reports and have them send to you or your colleagues via email at repeating intervals (e.g., every monday morning).

The report execution module is structured into four parts. On the top you find a toolbar which provides access to the following functionalities

Export Exports the report into one of multiple formats. The available formats depend on the type of report.
Send to Allows to execute the report and send the result either via email to you or to colleagues or to store the result in within a TeamSpace.
Schedule Via the schedule option you can automate the execution and have reports executed at repeating intervals or at some point in the future.
Report documentation Opens the documentation for the current report. (Note that the documentation does not reflect configuration changes that were not yet saved.
Save Allows to store a variant of the current report that reflects all the configuration changes made. If you are already working on a variant you have the option to save (overwrite the current variant) or save as (to create a new variant).

At the bottom of the screen you will find a tab for every opened report that allows you to quickly switch between open reports.

The main screen is usually split into two parts. On the left you find a sidebar that provides you with access to the various configuration aspects. In the center you find the main view of the selected aspect. Every report type at least offers the aspect Preview. Further aspects, such as Parameters allow you to configure the current report. In case only the preview is available the left sidebar will be hidden.

4.2.1. Parameters

Report designers can add configuration options to reports using so called parameters. If parameters are present then you'll find the aspect parameters in the left sidebar which takes you to the parameter configuration screen. The outline of the parameter page is defined by the report designer. Usually you will find that parameters consist of a title, a short description and a single form field. Parameters can have default values. If you changed a value and want to reset the parameter to its default value you can right click on the parameter's form field and choose Set default values from the context menu.

Report designers can choose from the following parameter types.

Text Parameter

The simplest parameter type is the text parameter. The text parameter consists of a single text input field that allows you to set the parameter value. Depending on the configuration chosen by the report designer the value must be respect a given format (e.g., an Integer). If the entered value does not fit the specified format an error message will be displayed next to the parameter.

Date Parameter

The date parameter allows you to select a date and/or a time. For the selection of dates, click on the icon next to the form field. This opens a small calendar which allows to comfortably select the desired date. Times are usually selected via a drop-down box.

Instead of a fixed date you can also specify a date relative to the current day. For this you need to change the parameter to formula mode which is down via the context menu (right click on the form field). The form field changes to a simple text input field that contains a formula of the form ${today}. This now allows to input a ReportServer formula expression using the "today" object. The expression ${today} returns the current day, while the expression ${today.firstDay()} returns the first day of the current month. Further information on the ReportServer expressions and the today-object can be found in Appendix B.
Selection Lists

Selection lists allow the selection of one or multiple entries from a pre specified set. Report designers can choose from a variety of layout options that we summarize in the following:

Drop-down The drop-down field allows you to select a single entry from a list of entries. If no value is selected explicitly then by convention the first entry in the list is selected.
Radio Buttons Radio Buttons provide an alternative view to single selections, that is, a single entry can be selected.
Multi-Select The standard multi-select field displays the currently selected values in a boxed list. To change the selection double click on the field. This opens the selection view in a popup window where the possible entries are displayed on the left and the currently selected values on the right. To change the selection simply use drag 'n' drop and move entries from left to right or vice versa. To adopt the current selection click on Apply. Note that the empty selection is by convention interpreted as All values are selected. Note that this is different from manually selecting every possible value as the latter would not take into account new options that are added at a later date.
Checkboxes An alternative view for multi selections where a checkbox is displayed next to every possible entry.
Specialized Parameters

ReportServer allows report designers to add parameters programmed directly by the report designer for a specific task. This could be, for example, a map that allows you to select an area. In case you encounter a parameter that does not fit any of the above described then this is such a specialized parameter and you should talk to the responsible report designer to learn how the parameter is to be used.

4.2.2. Preview

The preview aspects displays a detailed preview of the report as it is currently configured. Note that to generate the preview the report actually needs to be run which depend ending on the type of report may take a few moments.

4.2.3. Execution / Export

Once the configuration is completed you can execute the report, that is, run the report with the currently available data and export the result into one of various formats. Which formats the report can be exported to depends on the type of report. Graphical reports, for example, are optimized for printing and thus are usually exported in the PDF format. Dynamic Lists on the other hand are usually exported to Excel but can also be exported into a variety of other formats.

In order to run and export a report choose the export option for the desired format from the toolbar. Some formats such as CSV require further configuration. When the export is completed ReportServer will ask you to download the result.

4.2.4. Creating Variants

Any change in configuration such as, for example, setting of parameters can be stored in form of a so-called report variant. That is, a report variant is simply the complete configuration of a report. Note that this does not include the underlying data to be stored but only the configuration. To get a snapshot of the report, you need to run and export it (see previous section).

To store the configuration as a report variant choose save from the toolbar. ReportServer will ask you to choose a name for the variant and you can also provide an optional description. The variant will then be placed into the TeamSpace next to the report. If you already worked on a variant you will have the option to either change the current variant (save) or store the changes under a new variant (save as).

4.2.5. The Report Documentation

Any specified configuration (such as parameters or report type specific configuration) is summarized in the report documentation which thus ensures that also individual report variants are comprehensible documented in an audit compliant fashion. We will discuss the report documentation in detail in Appendix A.

4.2.6. Scheduling

Variants, as well as reports that do not require any configuration, can be scheduled to be run at a specific time in the future or at recurring intervals (for example, every second tuesday of each month). To schedule a report choose the option schedule from the toolbar. ReportServer will then prompt you with further details, for example, whether the result should be send out via email (and if so to whom) or whether it should be stored in a TeamSpace. Further information on scheduling can be found in Chapter 9.