VFPUtils Article By: M. Asherman

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Reporter Development Tasks

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Date Done
fix report destination dialog's close box to behave as Cancel
Nadya pointed out this minor bug on 2/5/01.  (Note that there is no such problem if the user exits the dialog via Escape or clicking on the Cancel button.)  I fixed this with a small change to reptrun.prg and reptdest.scx/sct.
(not done)
support variable _ASCIIROWS and _ASCIICOLS settings
Nadya asked for this feature on 9/6/00, because it's important to the formatting of ASCII results.  This calls for two additional metafile fields and revisions to the output destination dialog.  As previously noted, there are a number of such system memory variables that may warrant similar treatment.  In the meantime, the only recourse is to let the caller be responsible for changing and restoring such environment settings, which is an inconvenience.
(not done)
(AP: 3)
option governing temporary setting of SAFETY ON/OFF
As previously noted, it would be handy to have a way to specify the SAFETY setting to be used while running a particular report.  This would be handled in the same fashion that the DELETED ON/OFF option is handled.  The new report definitions meta-file field, safetyexp, would contain an expression yielding 'ON' or 'OFF', for the SAFETY setting to use for this report.  If omitted or evaluates to empty, leave the SAFETY setting as-is.

In email of 4/28/00 Nadya mentioned that she needs to SET SAFETY OFF in Reporter.  Since Reporter uses the caller's data session, it is already possible to establish the preferred default SAFETY setting before invoking Reporter.  With the proposed new safetyexp feature, it would be possible to have the report definition determine the appropriate SAFETY setting or a per-report basis, without the caller's having to be aware of this detail.
(not done)
(AP: 3)
support generation of Word documents from VFP reports
Nadya raised this possibility in her email of 3/28/00, and again on 4/28 mentioning John Koziol's new Frx2Word utility on the Universal Thread (UT).  I've also seen reference to this in the Virtual FoxPro User Group (VFUG) April 2000 Newsletter, but I haven't looked into it.  Requires further investigation.
add a Reporter section on the VFPUtils home page
Also revise the introductory section to cover common aspects across individual forums.
(not done)
(AP: 4)
use generic ErrHandler class for improved error-handling
Compare this with similar tasks done for Querier on 11/6/99 and XFormDBF on 11/27/99.  The point is to do a thorough job of trapping and reporting errors so that unattended batch jobs can be fully automated.  By using common error-handling classes, robust error handling and debugging logic can be added and extended easily.

These kinds of error handling improvements would help save time in debugging unexpected problems, such as weird naming restrictions that Nadya mentioned in her email of 4/4/00.
(not done)
HTML Help file for Reporter usage documentation
Although Reporter is more of a programming tool than an end-user facility, it would still be useful to gather and organize the relevant documentation into a HTML Help file.  This would be handled in a similar way to the approach used for XFormDBF, where the HH pages are part of this web and the HH project is defined in such a way as to share the same pages.  The include file outline of HH contents should be filled out with links to HH pages and selected bookmarks.  Specific topics that might be covered include:
  • general intro and overview
  • command line usage syntax, arguments, action codes, etc.
  • error-handling aspects
  • descriptions of meta-file fields
  • tips on meta-file maintenance
  • notes about the sample reporter meta-file definitions
  • screen shot of the Report Destination dialog
  • summary of related generic utilites
  • programming conventions used for this app
(not done)
(AP: 1)
use VFP's newobject() function and method where appropriate
Avoid SET CLASSLIB + add/createobject() by using the newer newobject() approach, which is cleaner and less likely to cause unexpected conflicts.  Compare with similar changes made to XFormDBF around 11/28/99.
deliver latest Reporter changes to BT server
Rebuild reporter.app and update copy in mdacomm.  Also keep shortcuts to web-based support forums in mdacomm.  Setup and test the latest changes on BT server.  Note the switch to a new server, which may require additional adjustments.
support imbedded blanks in specification of file names via dialog
This was an unreported bug I discovered while adding support for the ASCII option.  Quotes should be supplied automatically around the file name, in case it contains blanks or special characters that would confuse FoxPro.
support ASCII option in report destination dialog
Make another change along the same lines as supporting the PROMPT option, but the ASCII option applies only to File output.
support PROMPT option in report destination dialog
Nadya asked for this feature on 2/18/00, in order to be able to specify a limited range of pages when testing out reports interactively.  Note that the generic Printer Setup dialog is somewhat different from VFP's Printer PROMPT dialog, the latter being the only one to include an optional range of page numbers.  The PROMPT dialog also provides for specifying a number of copies, but this feature seems to be disabled in some cases (maybe related to printer drivers or other settings somewhere).  The PROMPT option only applies to cases where output is directed to a Printer.
(not done)
assimilate old reporter.txt tasks into web-based task list
Compare with similar task for XFormDBF.  Process Old Notes About the Reporter Application to pick up tasks that are still outstanding.
article containing the old reporter.txt converted to HTML
Compare with similar task of freezing old xformdbf.txt and converting into a web page.  Import frozen reporter.txt of 11/27/99 into this web.  Create HTML article Old Notes About the Reporter Application for easier reference.
new Reporter forum
Clone and adapt structural elements from the previously developed XFormDBF forum.

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