Introduction to Elliott V8.0: Section 4
Multiple Report Destinations
Elliott V8.0 report processing now supports multiple report destinations. The Report Output Options screen has a new tabbed dialog where you may specify any combination of simultaneous report outputs:
Each of the five tabs has a checkbox, title (e.g., “Printer”) and icon. In the example above, the report will be sent to all five destinations (all checkboxes checked). It is important to know that when you click on different areas of a tab, it means different actions. Here are the conventions for clicking on areas of the tabs:
· Click on the checkbox: If you click on a checkbox, the status of the checkbox will change from checked to not-checked, and vice-versa.
o If the status changes to checked, that tab will come to the foreground where output-specific parameters can be changed.
o If the status changes to not-checked, that tab will not be brought to the foreground (no output parameters need to be set).
· Click on the title: If you click on the title (i.e., the word Printer, Screen or Disk…etc.) or background of the tab, it will bring that tab to the foreground without changing the checkbox status.
· Click on the icon: If you click on the icon, that tab will come to the foreground, its checkbox will be checked, and all other checkboxes will be unchecked. Clicking on an icon is a quick way to indicate a single output destination is desired.
Printer Output (see above screen capture)
On this tab, you can add additional printer configurations, specify one or more printer output configurations, change font selection and change additional options, like laser form number. This portion operates like V7.x.
When the checkbox on this tab is checked, the output will go to a report viewer. You may specify one of the following:
- Elliott Report Viewer: This program allows for sophisticated viewing of the report and the ability to save it to Spooled Reports, email it or print it using Elliott printing software.
- An alternate viewer: The alternate viewing program is the one specified as the Preferred Editor on the Misc. tab of the Setup/User Preferences task, in this case, “NOTEPAD.” By default, you should use Elliott Report Viewer to view the report. You should only use the alternate viewer like NOTEPAD if there are issues with using Elliott Report Viewer.
This option sends the report to Spooled Reports for later viewing. For any posting journals, we suggest you send the output to Disk so you can keep a permanent electronic copy for future auditing. The following options can be specified:
- Description: You can add some descriptive information to help distinguish this report from others with the same name.
- Save description for next time: Check this checkbox to save the above description. Otherwise, the next time it is run, there will be no default description.
Deferred output now has two flavors: traditional and Run Now:
- Traditional deferred output: With this option, enter the following information:
- Description: Information to distinguish this report from others with the same name.
- Email completed report: Check this box if you want the completed report emailed.
- Email Options: Click this button to specify the email options.
- Delete after emailing: This option will delete the report from the Spooled Reports directory after the email is sent.
- Starting Date: Specify the date this report will first run.
- Starting Time: Specify the start time to run this report.
- Batch ID: Specify an identifier for this report.
- Recurring Frequency: Specify how often this report will continue to be processed. If you specify “Once,” it will not be run repeatedly. If you specify “Weekly,” select the days of the week this report will be processed.
- Suspend processing if this report does not run: Check this box if there are some reports that follow this report that should not be run if this report fails.
- Run Now:
When you select the Run Now checkbox, you are indicating that there is a Deferred Processing server currently running and you are asking this surrogate server to run this report on your behalf. All deferred reports will be spooled to disk. This action frees the user to continue working while the report is processing on the server. The user can request that he/she be sent the report by email when it is completed, and optionally, that it will be deleted after it is emailed.
You may gain significant performance improvement by running Elliott reports on the Deferred Processing server if that machine is also the PSQL server. Network communication is a potential performance bottleneck with running an Elliott report. To avoid this situation, run the Elliott report on the PSQL server, which eliminates the potential network communication bottleneck and could result in significant performance improvement.
In order to take advantage of this function, you must ensure the following:
· In Elliott v8.0 System Configuration, the checkbox “Use Elliott Deferred Processing” must be checked. You may use <root>\Bin\EL800CF.EXE to edit this configuration. If this checkbox is not checked, the defer tab is disabled.
· The defer process <root>\Bin\EL800DP.EXE) is currently running to serve deferred processing tasks, and preferably running on the PSQL server for best performance. If there is no deferred processing currently running, then when you check the “Run Now” option, you will get the following message:
When you select Email Output, you must specify the recipients, subject and body text for the email. You may select additional options that will be different, depending on whether you use SMTP (preferred) or MAPI (like V7.5).
- SMTP version:
- As this example shows, HTML in the body of the email is partially supported. This means you can develop some HTML text using another program, copy and paste it into the message body, and it will be delivered with the formatting specified. Internally, Elliott will consider the body of the email to be HTML if the first character is “<” and “HTML” is found in the first 100 characters. If not, the email will not be considered to be HTML.
- High priority: Select this option to raise the priority of the email.
- Interact with E-mail client before sending: This allows you to modify the email after it is prepared but before it is sent.
· MAPI version:
o HTML in the body of the email is not supported with MAPI.
o Return receipt: Asks for a return receipt from the recipient’s email system.
o Interact with E-mail client before sending: This allows you to modify the email after it is prepared but before it is sent.
Spooled Reports Manager
Spooled Reports has a new architecture and user interface that makes managing spooled reports much easier. Here is a list of key features in v8.0 Spooled Reports Manager:
- Because of the new file-naming and cataloging conventions, you will never run into the 99 spooled reports limitation that is in 7.x. This eliminates the need for archiving spooled reports periodically.
- V8 spooled reports do not require a cataloging database. Therefore, you could manage the V8 spooled reports in the Reports subfolders through Windows Explorer. If you received a spooled report in an e-mail, you could save that report in the proper Reports subfolder and it would show up in the Spooled Reports manager.
- A new, Office-like Spooled Reports Manager program includes easy access to the reports of all authorized companies and modules from a single screen. The list of reports easily can be grouped, sorted and filtered to help find the desired reports. A drag-and-drop interface allows for easily moving reports among folders.
- V7.x spooled and archived reports are also available through this interface, and, optionally, they can be converted into the new architecture.
- By default, spooled reports are stored in secured, compressed, .Zip file format, reducing storage requirements by 80% or more and protecting the content of reports from external viewing. The Zip reports are encrypted with a secured password so other users can’t view the report content even if they have all NTFS security rights to the Reports subfolders.
- The Deleted folder allows deleted reports to be recovered easily.
The Spooled Reports Manager looks like this:
Across the top is a toolbar with buttons that are used mostly to operate on the selected reports.
Down the left side under the toolbar is a treeview of available companies and, within company, available modules and additional folders where reports are stored.
The right side of the screen, below the toolbar, is a list of reports that correspond to the selected treeview node. The report list is organized in a grid where you can group, sort and filter the list to help you find the reports you are looking for.
You may change the size and location of your Spooled Reports Manager window, and it will be remembered the next time you start the program. Similarly, you can adjust the relative width of the treeview and grid portions of the screen, and that will be remembered as well. Also, any grouping, sorting and filtering in the grid will be saved.
- View: After selecting one or more reports, press this button to view them. If you click on the down arrow portion of the button first, you can choose between the Elliott Report Viewer and the alternate Elliott Editor. Once you choose a viewer this way, any viewing will be done by the selected viewer until you change it here again.
- Elliott: Use this button (or press F9) to go to the next Elliott process.
- Print: Select one or more reports and press this button to use the Elliott printing software to print the reports.
- Email: Email the selected reports by pressing this button.
- Archive: When you press this button, you are informed that archiving is done with drag-and-drop. To archive some reports, select them and drag them to a folder in the treeview that was previously created for archiving purposes.
- Delete: This will delete the selected reports by moving them to the special “Deleted” folder under the current company. Note: If you delete them from the “Deleted” folder, they will be physically deleted.
- Unzip: By default, reports are “Zipped” into a compressed format. If you need to decompress them, or “Unzip” them, this button will do that to the selected reports. You may need to unzip a report when you share it with another person, Keep in mind that when you unzip a report, the report itself is no longer secure other than the possible NTFS security on the folder. Even though you could leave the report in Unzipped format, we always suggest that you zip it again later to make it secure and save disk space.
- Zip: You may select some uncompressed reports and use this button to compress them and make them secure. This is especially useful after converting V7.5 reports to this new V8.0 architecture. This option is not available for V7.5 reports.
- All Users: If you have access to the spooled reports of others, as defined in Password Setup / Global Security / User Global Security / Screen 1/ Item 2, you will see this button on the toolbar. Press it to toggle between all reports and just your reports. If you have this authority, you also have authority to the functions below marked “restricted.” Keep in mind that you are still subject to NTFS security on the Reports folder. If you do not have sufficient NTFS right to the Reports folder, then even though you may be able see other users’ spooled reports in the list, you still may not be able to see the content. Discuss with your IT person the proper settings of NTFS security on the Reports folder.
- Bigger: Use this button to make the icons and fonts bigger.
- Smaller: Use this button to make the icons and fonts smaller.
The Groups area contains a hierarchical treeview that allows you to look at specific groups of reports.
- Top node (Elliott Business Software): This node serves as the parent to the company nodes.
- Company nodes: When you click on a company node, the list of modules and other folders you can use in that company is made available, if it isn’t already (you will see a small “+” sign to the left of the company name when it is available). Further, you can right click on a company node to select one of the following options:
- Add Folder (restricted): Select this option to create a new folder to which you can move reports from other modules and folders. You might, for example, create a new archive folder if you want to separate out older reports from current reports. Folders created at this level will result in actual file system directories located at <root>\Reports\<company>.
- Add Link to Folder (restricted): This option can be used to specify a folder outside the <root>\Reports\<company> directory structure where V8.0 reports can be found.
- Add Link to V7 Folder (restricted): This option will specify a folder outside the <root>\Reports\<company> directory structure where V7.5 reports reside. Elliott V7.5 reports in the specified directory can be listed and processed just like V8.0 report files.
- Module nodes (e.g., GL – General Ledger): These nodes directly map to the <root>\Reports\<company>\<module> structure and automatically are listed in the treeview when the user has authority to access these modules. They are the first nodes following a company node. The SY – System (All) node lists all reports in all module nodes. Additionally, the following option is available when right clicking on a module node:
- Add Folder (restricted): You can use this option to create a folder directly under the module folder. Then, you can drag reports from other folders into this folder.
- Deleted: When you delete a report from another folder, it is not physically deleted. Instead, it is moved to this folder. You may move it back to another folder later if desired. But if you delete a report from this folder, it will be physically deleted and not recoverable at a future time.
- Added reports nodes: When you add a folder from the company node, it will be listed after the Deleted folder. No reports go here automatically – someone has to move them here. These folders will have the following options when right clicked:
- Rename (restricted): Rename the folder.
- Delete (restricted): Delete this folder.
- Add Folder (restricted): Add another folder under this folder.
- V7 Reports: This folder automatically is available. It maps to the <root>\Data or <root>\DATA_<company> folder, where V7.5 reports can be found. The report files in this folder are listed and can be processed just like V8.0 reports. There are additional options when this node is right clicked:
- Show Subfolders with No Reports (restricted): By default, subfolders to the DATA or DATA_<company> folder without any report files in them will not be shown. If you select this option, those folders will be shown even though they contain no report files.
- Convert to V8 Reports (restricted): If you select this option, the V7 report files in the DATA or DATA_<company> directory will be converted to V8 format and moved to the appropriate module folder. That means they no longer will be available in V7.5 Spooled Reports.
- Link to V7 Folder nodes: This kind of node has as its name the file system directory name where V7.5 reports can be found. These link nodes are not automatic – they must be created by a user. If you right click on this kind of node, you will have the following options:
- Show Subfolders with No Reports (restricted): If you select this option, subfolders that have no V7.5 report files will be shown.
- Remove Link (restricted): Remove this link from the treeview.
- Link to Folder nodes: The name of this kind of node is the file system directory where V8.0 reports can be found. These link nodes are not automatic – they must be added by a user. If you right click on this kind of node, you will have the following options:
- Add Folder (restricted): You may create a file system folder here for potentially holding V8.0 reports. These folders will have the following options when right clicked:
- Rename: Rename the folder.
- Delete: Delete this folder.
- Add Folder: Add another folder under this one.
- Remove Link (restricted): Remove this link from the treeview.
This part of the screen, on the right-hand side below the toolbar, contains a powerful grid that lists the reports that correspond to the selected treeview node. Each report is preceded by an icon that lets you know its status:
- This is a compressed report file.
- This is an uncompressed report file.
- This is a compressed report file whose name has been tampered with and is not available for processing.
When you right click on a report, you will see a list of choices that correspond to the toolbar buttons. If a particular choice is not available, it will be grayed out.
You may drag a column header into the space above the column header to group the reports by that column. For example, if you drag the Created column to that space, you will see the list grouped by the date the reports were created. Initially, you will see only the groups and a count, but you can click on the “+” to the left of any group to view the reports within that group (as we did here for 5/13/2013) :
You can drag multiple column headers to the grouping space. In the screen below, we first dragged User to the grouping space, then Report under User. That created the screen below. Notice that there are two levels in the list that correspond to the two levels in the group area (e.g., EMK has run 17 different reports, and the second Report group under EMK is expanded to show the 4 reports in that group):
Grouping is a special form of sorting, but you may also sort by any column simply by clicking on the column header. If you click again on the same column header, the sort sequence will be reversed. Even when grouping, you can change the sort order of the groups by clicking on the background of the group or changing the sort within group by clicking on a column header The sort order of the groups and columns is indicated by a triangle, either with the point at the top to indicate increasing order, or with the point at the bottom to indicate decreasing order. In the screen above, the reports are sorted first by User (ascending), then by Report (ascending), then by Created (descending).
Another powerful feature of this reports grid is the built-in filtering capabilities. If you hover the mouse over a column header, a small graphic appears on the right end of the column header. If you click on this filter graphic, it will show you a list of unique values in the column (as we did for the Report column below):
If you highlight a value (as we did above), and press Enter, the list will be shortened to only show the matching reports:
Notice also the new filter area at the bottom of the reports list. This shows you what filtering criteria were used to display the list. You can remove the filter by clicking on the X button at the left edge of the filter area, and the list will reappear without any filters. Or, you could uncheck the checkbox to the right of the X button to remove the filter but keep it available for later use. You may also add additional filters of this type and use them together or separately. You may also use the Edit Filter button on the right side of the filter area to create a more complex filtering:
Clicking on different colored parts of the filter text in this dialog gives you a wide variety of options to help you find just what you are looking for.
Flexibility, Power and Convenience
In addition to the grouping, sorting and filtering mentioned above, you may also rearrange the columns and adjust the column sizes.
Any grouping, sorting, filtering or rearranging of the reports list is saved when you exit the Spooled Reports Manager and is applied when you next use it.
When a spooled report is created, it automatically is compressed into a password-protected .Zip file. From outside Elliott, it is not possible to view the contents of the report without knowing the password. The password for decompressing this file is maintained internally by Elliott. Only by passing the Elliott Login and subject to the menu restrictions of Elliott can users run the Spooled Reports Manager to view, email, print, etc., these reports.
Due to the flexible directory structure and file naming conventions of spooled reports in Elliott V8.0, you never have to archive older reports. However, you may wish to do so, just to keep the list of available reports to a manageable size.
To archive some reports, do the following:
- Create a directory where the reports will exist.
- You can use the Spooled Reports Manager to create an archive folder and, if desired, subfolder. For example, right click on a Company node and select Add Folder, or right click on a module node or other node and add a folder and perhaps subfolders there.
- You also can use the file system to create a folder in some other location to house your archived files. In that case, after creating the archive folder, right click on a Company node and select Add Link to Folder. That is how to make the Spooled Reports Manager aware of the external archive folder.
- Drag reports from various folders and drop them in the newly created archive folder.
By default, each new report is placed in the corresponding package folder (like AR) under the company folder. When a folder gets more than a few thousand reports in it, the performance of Spooled Reports Manager may suffer. It is possible to make configuration changes that will automatically place new reports in special subfolders. There are two scenarios for doing this:
- For very high volume reports, you can specify that they be placed in a subfolder of a folder with the same name, under the company folder. For example, in EL800U.CFG, you may add a tag called [Spool-Reports-Folders] and an entry like one of the following:
If you used the first example above (Daily), a CP02P1 report created on September 23, 2015 would be placed in the following directory:
- If you want to automatically store reports in dated subfolders, you can add entries like one of the following for each package:
If you used the last example above (Yearly), an AR report created on September 23, 2015 would be placed in the following directory:
The benefits of using automatic subfolders are improved performance and easier archiving. The disadvantage is that it may be more difficult to find a particular report because you may need to search through multiple folders to find it.