LAFox BootCamp VIII

Visual FoxPro 9 Report Writer In Depth

Presenters: Lisa Slater Nicholls and Colin Nicholls
Saturday, September 29th 8:30am
Only $99
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VFP 9.0 Reporting Fundamentals

Colin Nicholls
This session provides an overview of the VFP 9 Object-Assisted Report System. It's important to understand the changes in the product and how they fit together with the Xbase components. We'll provide an inside look at the ReportListener base class and examine its most significant PEMs. You'll see how the integrated Report System fits the three new Xbase Report applications (Builder, Preview, and Output) together with the VFP9 product changes to provide new-style VFP reporting.

Extending VFP 9.0 Xbase Reporting Components

Colin Nicholls
This session shows you how to leverage the shipping REPORT*.APP components and FFC reporting extensions, to improve and extend VFP report output.

You'll see how to build a preview extension, how to manage the ReportListeners that VFP invokes by default for various types of output, and how to add some features to the Builder. We'll also take a look at the Protection feature, which you can use to make reporting more fun for end users.

We'll look at various ways that you can use ReportBuilder hooks to personalize the report design experience, in ways appropriate to both developers and end-users.

Reporting in Sedna/SP2 - A Tour

Lisa Slater Nicholls
In this session you will learn to use the many new and enhanced features provided in VFP-Sedna reporting. You will see how they can be used in the VFP9-SP1 product, and what changes in the VFP9-SP2 base product make them even better. We will review new Report Builder dialog features, which expose Dynamic and Scripting capabilities. We'll highlight the new Advanced Properties feature: a simple way to add features and capabilities into reporting without extending the structure of the LBX/FRX format. You'll find out what Advanced Properties are included in-the-box, and how to use them. You'll have a look at new capabilities provided in the Extension Output Types (XML and HTML).

We'll discuss performance enhancements in both the Xbase components and SP2 base product, and other bonus enhancements such as new file-handling output features in the FFC ReportListeners.

Data Visualization in Reports with VFP 9.0 SP2

Colin Nicholls
This session demonstrates techniques of data visualization using the features of the Report Builder and FFC ReportListener classes in VFP 9.0 SP2. We will see how the reporting system architecture made the SP2 enhancements possible, and learn techniques to add your own improvements. We will build a custom reporting control, touching on GDI+, and see how to add custom elements to the Report Builder user interface, without hacking the Xsource. You'll learn about using reporting extension metadata (memberdata) without ever touching XML, and how to add extension objects into the default report output processing.

Getting the Most Out of Reporting in VFP

Lisa Slater Nicholls
This session teaches you practical techniques for using VFP 9 reporting - in some cases, applicable whether you're using object-assisted reporting or not.

We will discuss appropriate use of external data sources, such as SQL Server and MySQL, and the ways that cursoradapters and improvements to dataenvironment class handling in VFP 9 reports fit into an external data strategy. You will learn about useful ways to expose data in multiple data sources, using multiple detail bands, and see some additional tricks that multiple detail bands can perform. Next, we'll consider what you need to know to deploy VFP HTML and XML reports in web server scenarios.

Time permitting, we'll include a quick examination of the VFP-RDL (the XML report output schema), as a rich, intermediate reporting format with many uses beyond HTML.

VFP Migrations: Many stops on a tour

Lisa Slater Nicholls

We think of this session as "the session-and-a-half". We are going to speak frankly about several aspects of a very large subject: what happens when your users hand you a FoxPro application and ask for massive change?

First, we'll quickly run through something we like to call "Migrating FoxPro for Windows 2.x applications to VFP in a Day". It's a story of a large, poorly written FoxPro for Windows 2.x application, why it had to be up-migrated, and how we did it, including various interesting aspects of migrating its large and critical reporting subsystems to the VFP 9 Reporting system.

Is the approach we're going to show you the only way to migrate an application? No, of course it's not. There are other ways - when you have time, money, and user approval for re-architecting. What we'll show you is one ruthless way you can use when you don't have those things.

While we think this scenario will continue happening in all our lives for some times, its real significance is the attitude with which we face other migration issues in the future. So after reviewing it briefly, and with this context, we'll turn to that future. We'll consider some aspects of migrating, or blending, VFP code to use upcoming Microsoft technologies. No matter what your users' latest request and how that request has been put to you... what's likely to work well, and what isn't, and why? What really matters, and what doesn't?

Disclaimer: We have demonstrations of working techniques, opinions, suggestions, and tips. Since we are self-employed, the opinions do reflect our employer <g>. They also reflect our continuing interest in the use of XML for integration scenarios and our research on this topic, as commissioned by Microsoft. They do not, in certain cases, match Microsoft's idea of what the future should look like, and they most certainly do not reflect a crystal ball. Feel free to argue <g>.