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Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?

How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
questions?

 

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Quote
Larissa Gibson wrote:

> How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
> corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
> having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
> example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
> just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

> Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
> and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
> questions?

If you are evaluating reporting tools for Delphi, you should check out
ReportBuilder Pro 4. Download the trial version and run the demos.

I think you will find the quality, simplicity, and power to be unmatched
by any other reporting solution available.

Version 4 has just been released. A number of new tools have been added
to increase productivitiy - Report Wizard, Drag and drop label and field
creation, and for the Pro version a new Data Access Developement
Environment (DADE) for building queries.

There is a developer's guide in Word .doc format you can view and print
out. It contains an extensive set of tutorials. (if you do not have Word
97, download the word viewer from  MicroSoft Web site.)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R E P O R T B U I L D E R   W E B  L I N K S
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

You can download a trial version from:

http://digital-metaphors.com/prodprodemo1.html

Ordering info is available at

http://digital-metaphors.com/order01.html

With the trial version you can create reports just as you would with the
registered version, the only limitations are max of 5 pages of output
for any report and if you print to the printer, our company info will
print on the page also.

For a quick look at what ReportBuilder is capable of run the demos:

1. RBuilder Pro\Demos\Reports\Demo.dpr - contains over 70 sample reports
that show the various cabalities of the product. Serves as a great
learning tool also.

2. RBuilder Pro\Demos\EndUser\EndUser.dpr - contains a complete,
professional end-user reporting solution including a report explorer,
query wizard, query designer, and report wizard. You can build a
complete
end-user solution with no coding required.

Demos and Tutorials are included.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
R E P O R T B U I L D E R   F E A T U R E S
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ReportBuilder Features
---------------
Report Designer                 Full-featured, Office97 compliant

Report Wizard                   Create reports with a few mouse clicks

Report Tree tool window         Outline of all report objects

Data Tree tool window           Drag and drop label and field creation

Tutorials                       step by step instructions for
                                building reports and applications.

OnePass/TwoPass Report Engine   Instant page generation,
                                incremental caching

Text, Line & Shape Components   Work just like Delphi counterparts

Image Components                Bitmaps and WMFs supported

Rich Text Components            Stretches across pages, great for
                                mail-merge

Memo Components                 Stretches across pages

BarCode Components              Code 128, UPC-A, Code39,
                                Int2of5, EAN-13

SubReports                      Free-form, side-by-side, nested,
                                drill-down

Extensible Components           Create either static or
                                stretchable descendants

Columnar Reports                Spreadsheet-style reports and
                                mailing labels

Full Printer Control            Envelopes, custom-paper sizes,
                                duplex printing

Templates (Report Layouts)      Save report definitions in
                                database fields or files, deploy
                                new reports without recompiling

Precision                       Position components up to 1/1000
                                of a millimeter

International Language Support  11 languages, *all* strings and
                                messages translated

Archive (Native Report Output)  Print reports to stand-alone
                                files, preview later

Text File Output                Comma, tab and fixed length
                                formats supported

Open Data Output                Create support for new file
                                formats

Native Data Access (via BDE)    Access data via Delphi DataSources

Native Text File Access         Access text files directly,
                                compile w/out BDE

Open Data Access                Create your own data access,
                                compile w/out BDE

ActiveX Archive Print Preview   Preview archived reports in an
                                HTML Browser

ReportBuilder Pro Features
--------------------
Everything in ReportBuilder plus:      

Data Access Environment         Adds a new 'Data' to the
(DADE)                          Report Designer. Enables developers
                                and end-users to visually design
and                                                         preview SQL
queries.

End-User Report Designer        Deploy an interface your users
                                already know

Report Explorer                 Allow end-users to manage
                                reports and data with a
                                Windows Explorer style interface

Report Wizard                   Create new reports with a few
                                clicks of the mouse

Query Wizard                    Create new data with a few
                                clicks of the mouse

Query Designer                  Create and modify complex queries.

Data Dictionary                 Use the Data Dictionary component
Components                      to display user friendly table and
                                field aliases to your end-users.

Tutorials                       step by step instructions for
                                putting it all together.

Good luck!

--
Nard Moseley            mailto:n...@digital-metaphors.com
Digital Metaphors       http://www.digital-metaphors.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Larissa:

    Nevrona has had an excellent reputation. Based on that rep, I bought the
EEP version of RPPro 3.0.

    I find their product difficult to learn and not yet mature enough to put
in a released product. However, they should remedy thiese shortcomings
shortly.

    I am currently using ReportBuilder from Digital Metephors. Report
Builder is an awesome tool. Their visual report designer is simply the best
I've ever used. Their product is rock solid and tech support is great.

    You should download demos of both products and see which fits your
particular needs.

    Report Printer will probably be very stable within a few weeks/months.
However, their report designer seems to be overly complicated and more
difficult to use.

Neil Huhta

Quote
Larissa Gibson wrote in message <788drf$h4...@forums.borland.com>...
>How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
>corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
>having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
>example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
>just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

>Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
>and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
>questions?

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


The question was about Report Printer.
Your product is called Report Builder.
Please pay attention.

Quote
Nard Moseley wrote:

> Larissa Gibson wrote:

> > How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
> > corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
> > having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
> > example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
> > just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

> > Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
> > and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
> > questions?

[big snip]

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Quote
On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 16:40:56 -0700, "Larissa Gibson" <nospam> wrote:
>How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
>corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
>having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
>example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
>just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

>Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
>and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
>questions?

The documentation for ReportPrinter Pro 3.0 is about 440 pages and
comes in a perfect-bound manual.  It is separated in two sections, one
for the visual designer and it's components and one for the code-based
and engine components.  There is a table of contents, index, tutorials
and a reference section for each method/property and event that
includes cross-references and examples in Delphi and C++Builder
syntax.

For the data connection components we have two tutorials dedicated to
them including an example on how to create you own custom data
connection to binary record file (non-database data).  In general
though, data connections are fairly easy components, you simply drop
them down, set them to your data set components and give them a
descriptive name.

Jim Gunkel
Nevrona Designs

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


On Fri, 22 Jan 1999 20:25:16 -0500, "nhuhta" <nhu...@digital.net>
wrote:

Quote
>Larissa:

>    Nevrona has had an excellent reputation. Based on that rep, I bought the
>EEP version of RPPro 3.0.

>    I find their product difficult to learn and not yet mature enough to put
>in a released product. However, they should remedy thiese shortcomings
>shortly.

>    I am currently using ReportBuilder from Digital Metephors. Report
>Builder is an awesome tool. Their visual report designer is simply the best
>I've ever used. Their product is rock solid and tech support is great.

>    You should download demos of both products and see which fits your
>particular needs.

>    Report Printer will probably be very stable within a few weeks/months.
>However, their report designer seems to be overly complicated and more
>difficult to use.

The Rave visual designer for ReportPrinter Pro has more features than
other reporting tools and also introduces some new technology
(mirroring, page-based design,..) and thus can be a little
overwhelming when first viewed.  Based on the responses we've been
getting from those who so far have used Rave to create their reports,
the visual designer and new technology become intuitive very quickly.

I remember my first experience with Delphi 1.0 was much the same but
quickly became a very intuitive tool that didn't have many
limitations.

As you mentioned. there were a few problems with the initial release.
The current patch fixed most of those and the rest are now in beta
testing for the next patch in a few weeks.  We're also adding quite a
few new features and add-on components as we go and are actually
having quite a bit of fun with it.

Jim Gunkel
Nevrona Designs
www.nevrona.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


The RPP mailing lists are very useful for finding solutions and corresponding
with other developers. RPP does have a learning curve but as you become
accustomed to "how it works", you realize how flexible it really is.

One of the things I like about RPP is that I have the choice between creating
reports with a visual designer or completely in code. I find this to be very
cool!

Rea

Quote
Larissa Gibson wrote:
> How is the documentation (Manuals, help files, tutorials etc.) in the
> corporate version of RPPro 3.0?  I am looking at the demo version and am
> having a hard time finding the kind of information I am looking for.   For
> example, they don't have much information on DataConnections, under help it
> just says this topic is not implemented yet?  And help is hard to navigate.

> Are people in general pretty happy with the documentation.  Is it thorough
> and well organized?  Are you generally able to get the answers to your
> questions?

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Quote
Rea Berryman wrote:
> One of the things I like about RPP is that I have the choice between creating
> reports with a visual designer or completely in code. I find this to be very
> cool!

This is not a new concept but one that has confused some developers.

ReportBuilder has offered this capability for over two years.

ReportBuilder has been code based and visual since the beginnning.

Like Delphi itself ReportBuilder enables developers to choose how to

construct their solutions. Reports are made of objects. The Visual

report designer, the report wizards, the drag and drop tools that are

available in ReportBuilder are there to enable you to be as productive

as possible. But a report is the same whether it is created visually or

with code or a mix of the two.

--
Nard Moseley            mailto:n...@digital-metaphors.com
Digital Metaphors       http://www.digital-metaphors.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Nard,

Do I sound confused to you? Did I say anything about code based and visual based
being a new concept? I am a satisfied user of RPP doing nothing more than
explaining some of the features of RPP that I like.

I do not appreciate the tone of your response nor the fact that you, a vendor, wish
to suggest that you know what users are thinking or what they understand.

If you wish to sing praises about your product, then by all means do so... but,
please leave me out of your preamble.

Thank you,
Rea

Quote
Nard Moseley wrote:
> Rea Berryman wrote:

> > One of the things I like about RPP is that I have the choice between creating
> > reports with a visual designer or completely in code. I find this to be very
> > cool!

> This is not a new concept but one that has confused some developers.

> ReportBuilder has offered this capability for over two years.

> ReportBuilder has been code based and visual since the beginnning.

> Like Delphi itself ReportBuilder enables developers to choose how to

> construct their solutions. Reports are made of objects. The Visual

> report designer, the report wizards, the drag and drop tools that are

> available in ReportBuilder are there to enable you to be as productive

> as possible. But a report is the same whether it is created visually or

> with code or a mix of the two.

> --
> Nard Moseley            mailto:n...@digital-metaphors.com
> Digital Metaphors       http://www.digital-metaphors.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


On Sun, 24 Jan 1999 16:38:57 -0600, Nard Moseley

Quote
<n...@digital-metaphors.com> wrote:
>Rea Berryman wrote:

>> One of the things I like about RPP is that I have the choice between creating
>> reports with a visual designer or completely in code. I find this to be very
>> cool!

>This is not a new concept but one that has confused some developers.
>ReportBuilder has offered this capability for over two years.
>ReportBuilder has been code based and visual since the beginnning.
>Like Delphi itself ReportBuilder enables developers to choose how to
>construct their solutions. Reports are made of objects. The Visual
>report designer, the report wizards, the drag and drop tools that are
>available in ReportBuilder are there to enable you to be as productive
>as possible. But a report is the same whether it is created visually or
>with code or a mix of the two.
>--
>Nard Moseley            mailto:n...@digital-metaphors.com
>Digital Metaphors       http://www.digital-metaphors.com

Nard,

You sound rather defensive (this thread is about ReportPrinter Pro)
but I must correct you on your characterisation of code-based
reporting:

Creating visual components in code is NOT the same as code based
reporting.  ReportPrinter Pro has nearly 600 methods, properties and
events dedicated to creating reports from code (all in as little as
50K).  Some people shy away from code-based reporting since they think
it will be difficult to write and maintain, but our library is
specifically written to make it easy to create flexible and
maintainable reports via code.  Many of our users who were wary at
first, but had no choice because no other visual tool could handle
their reports, became very big supporters of code-based reporting when
they saw what it could let them do and was in many cases easier than
other visual tools.  It's pretty much up to how comfortable someone is
with writing code (which is why we've also written an end-user visual
designer).

Let me give a short example of the difference between creating visual
components in code and ReportPrinter Pro's code based reporting.  To
create a visual text object in code would require something like this
(this is mostly taken from one of ReportBuilder's demo projects):

    var
      lppLabel: TppLabel;

    begin
       lppLabel := TppLabel.Create(Self);
       lppLabel.Band := ppReport1TitleBand1;
       lppLabel.Font.Name  := 'Times New Roman';
       lppLabel.Font.Size  := 12;
       lppLabel.Alignment := taCenter;
       lppLabel.Caption := 'Some text to print';
       lppLabel.Width := 5.0;
       lppLabel.Top :=  1.5;
       lppLabel.Left := (ppReport1.PrinterSetup.PrintableWidth -
          lppLabel.Width) / 2.0;

With ReportPrinter Pro's code based library it would be (the first
line would only need to be called once for a section of text):

      SetFont('Times New Roman',12);
      LineTop := 1.5;
      PrintCenter('Some text to print',2.5);

Hope this finally clears up the confusion,

Jim Gunkel
Nevrona Designs
www.nevrona.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Thank you all for your responses.

As many have guessed, the decision for me is between ReportBuilder and
ReportPrinter.  I am looking at ReportPrinter first because I like a lot of
the features mentioned in their ads, mirroring, scripting, html export and
the plug in components that are being shared between users via their web
site.

However, the main deciding factors for me will be:
1.  Like the initial post said, Documentation.  How easy (or hard) is it
going to be to figure out how to use this tool.  I want quick access to
information on objects, their methods/properties/events.  This is something
I've found lacking in the ReportPrinter demo.

2.  Access to data that is not in the BDE.  From what I've read both
products handle this.

3.  Handling images.  I want to print an image on the report that is passed
in at runtime.  I want the image to size to fill the available space and
maintain the aspect ratio.

4.  And of course, over all ease of use, maintainability, expandability, the
overall look and feel of the tool and the reports it generates.

I wouldn't mind if Jim and Nard were to absolutely bombard me with
information.  Anything that may not be appropriate for this newsgroup or
thread, can be emailed to me:
larissa at redhensystems dot com

Thank you.

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Quote
On Mon, 25 Jan 1999 08:50:51 -0700, "Larissa Gibson" <nospam> wrote:
>Thank you all for your responses.

>As many have guessed, the decision for me is between ReportBuilder and
>ReportPrinter.  I am looking at ReportPrinter first because I like a lot of
>the features mentioned in their ads, mirroring, scripting, html export and
>the plug in components that are being shared between users via their web
>site.

>However, the main deciding factors for me will be:
>1.  Like the initial post said, Documentation.  How easy (or hard) is it
>going to be to figure out how to use this tool.  I want quick access to
>information on objects, their methods/properties/events.  This is something
>I've found lacking in the ReportPrinter demo.

I've sent you the documentation files via email so that you can see
what you get in a printed form with ReportPrinter Pro.

Quote
>2.  Access to data that is not in the BDE.  From what I've read both
>products handle this.

Yes, ReportPrinter Pro has custom data connections and project
parameters which are very easy to set up and use.  Here's a quote on
our mailing list from a user who recently set up a custom connection
to a non-database data source:

"Worked like a charm!  I sat back and re-thought and re-examined
creating the report and getting it to print and now I realize why I
had such a hard time...  You guys made it too dog gone easy and
I wasn't expecting this...<g>!  Outstanding job to you and your
team!"

Quote
>3.  Handling images.  I want to print an image on the report that is passed
>in at runtime.  I want the image to size to fill the available space and
>maintain the aspect ratio.

Our image component can be set to read the bitmap from a file,
database field or can store an imbedded image.  You can also set the
bitmap so that it matches the designed width and adjusts the height to
maintain the aspect ratio, matches the designed height and adjusts the
width to maintain the aspect ratio, or matches both the designed
height and width.

Quote
>4.  And of course, over all ease of use, maintainability, expandability, the
>overall look and feel of the tool and the reports it generates.

Maintainability is very important to us and we designed in several
features to help with this.  Our mirroring is probably the most
popular allowing you to share items between reports so that it only
needs to be changed once and tested once as well.  Our expandability
is pretty cool too.  It's very easy to add new wizards, components and
editors to our designer.  RPPro 3.0 has been released less than a
month and we already have a good assortment of add-ons (with full
source) with more on the horizon.  The Rave add-ons can be seen at
http://www.nevrona.com/raveaddon.html and the technical specfication
guide for writing your own add-ons is there as well.  Here's another
quote from someone who evaluated ReportPrinter Pro against the other
reporting tools before purchasing.

"The feature that really makes sense to me is the mirroring
capability. It seems you have thought of a slick way to make report
writing 'object-oriented' in the sense of an 'inheritance' concept
that allows reports to be changed at one location, level, component,
or however you want to refer to it. That, it seems to me, makes
ReportPrinter Pro set apart from anything else I have seen in that
respect. I have complimented you before on your interface design, but
I would like to do so again as I am very impressed with what you and
your folks have done."

Quote
>I wouldn't mind if Jim and Nard were to absolutely bombard me with
>information.  Anything that may not be appropriate for this newsgroup or
>thread, can be emailed to me:
>larissa at redhensystems dot com

Hope I didn't bombard you too much <g>.  Printed documentation and
tutorials are very important and I think ours are tough to beat, but a
programming tool should be measured by what it can do and how many
brick walls it keeps you from running into.  You should evaulate
several tools before selecting one.  A little time spent now picking
the right tool will save you much more time later.

Jim Gunkel
Nevrona Designs
www.nevrona.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Larissa,

Quote
> As many have guessed, the decision for me is between ReportBuilder and
> ReportPrinter.  I am looking at ReportPrinter first because I like a lot of
> the features mentioned in their ads, mirroring, scripting, html export and
> the plug in components that are being shared between users via their web
> site.

There will always be differentiation which is great for the market. :-}

From the companion products on our web site you can surf links to sites
with additional export devices. There is a set you can get that covers
HTML, RTF, Excel, Lotus, etc.

Our RAP (Runtime Appication Pascal) environment will be available
shortly.

Some other features that may interest you would be free form subreports,
drill down subreports, "hot" report viewer for interactive preview, and
report archiving. You can also save and load the definitions of your
reports to a database or an .rtm file (same format as Delphi's .dfm)

Quote
> However, the main deciding factors for me will be:
> 1.  Like the initial post said, Documentation.  How easy (or hard) is it
> going to be to figure out how to use this tool.  I want quick access to
> information on objects, their methods/properties/events.  This is something
> I've found lacking in the ReportPrinter demo.

ReportBuilder's online help integrates into Delphi's and is in the same
style format. Once installed you can press F1 while a component or
property is selected and jump to that topic.

Extensive demos and tutorials are included.

Quote

> 2.  Access to data that is not in the BDE.  From what I've read both
> products handle this.

Yes via the DataPipeline. There are demos and tutorials for using the
TextPipeline and JITPipeline. If you are using a replacement database
engine or TDataSet descendant you can just use the TDBPipeline.

Quote
> 3.  Handling images.  I want to print an image on the report that is passed
> in at runtime.  I want the image to size to fill the available space and
> maintain the aspect ratio.

You would do something like via an event-handler - just set the TppImage
component's picture property in the OnPrint event. There is a
MaintainAspectRation boolean property you can use.

Quote
> 4.  And of course, over all ease of use, maintainability, expandability, the
> overall look and feel of the tool and the reports it generates.

We are constantly moving forward - you can check out the timeline on our
website.

ReportBuilder can be extended in a number of ways:

1. You can replace any of the built-in dialogs by registering a new one.
For example a custom preview diloag. All of our dialogs are created this
way.

2. You can create custom components and install them into the Report
Designer. All of our components are created this way.

3. You can create custom DataPipeline's. All of our datapipelins are
created this way.

4. You can create custom Devices. A device receives Page objects and
renders them in some format. ReportBuilder comes with Screen, Printer,
TextFile, FormattedText, and Archive devices. From the companion
products on our web site you can surf links to site with additional
devices. There is a set you can get that covers HTML, RTF, Excel, Lotus,
etc.

Let me know if you have additional questions.

You may want to check out the ReportBuilder newgroups as well

http://digital-metaphors.com/newsg01.html

--
Nard Moseley            mailto:n...@digital-metaphors.com
Digital Metaphors       http://www.digital-metaphors.com

Re:Nevrona RPPro 3.0 Documentation?


Quote
On Mon, 25 Jan 1999 18:40:09 GMT, j...@nevrona.com (Jim Gunkel) wrote:
>On Mon, 25 Jan 1999 08:50:51 -0700, "Larissa Gibson" <nospam> wrote:

>>Thank you all for your responses.

I have used RPPRO 2.0 for two years. I was able to design
the reports _exactly_ the way the customer wanted them.
It was the only way I could find to allow alternate portrait and
landscape pages in the same report! And it was flexible. When
the total amount for a column became to large I simply shrink the
font size based on the dollar amount and it still fits! It sounds ugly
but it really works well. It works reliably for me.
Frank Cowan, Delphian
http://signaldata.com
See you at BorCon (formerly ICon?) 99 in Phila-Delphi-a !

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