Article by Ben
Reporting softwares basically present data in required format and in a summarized manner as desired. The reports are then used for further data analysis. There are several types of reporting softwares that are available packed with some very useful and intelligent features. There are open source reporting softwares like Eclipse BIRT Project, Jasper Reports, Pentaho, and so on. Also commercially available reporting softwares include Crystal Reports, Actuate, CodeForms, LogiXML, and Oracle XML Publisher, among many others.
A typical reporting software will allow you to design a format, define data fields that are to be displayed, and create a layout for the report. Layout and format are two very important aspects of using reporting softwares, as the data displayed should be easily readable, properly structured, and printable. These softwares always work in association with the database, quite obviously because that is where the data for reports would come from. Once the basic designing is completed, some amount of programming needs to be done as per the requirements of the report.
Reporting softwares should adequately be incorporated with the following features. This will help you in appropriately selecting the right software suitable to your reporting needs.
*Database connectivity – ensure that the reporting software supports and works effectively with all leading databases like Ms SQL, Ms-Access, Oracle, MySQL, and so on. Also it will be beneficial if the software can also work with Ms-Excel, and text files.
*Lesser need of technical experts – the reporting software should be easy to use so that personnel with little technical knowledge of databases can also operate it. Built-in features of query builder, mathematical formulae, grouping, sorting, and filtering operations will make the user comfortable and generate reports without having to write SQL queries or other coding.
*Complex report generation – the report wizard should allow complex reports to be generated with little efforts. It should allow quick formatting, embedding other objects, accessing data of other reports, and so on.
*Present reports in a graphical manner – apart from presenting the data in text format, reporting softwares should also be able to generate graphical reports displaying graphs and charts.
*Exporting capability – the reporting software should allow the reports to be exported to other formats like Excel, PDF, XML, HTML, and others.
*Emailing and Publishing – the reports should be published at one single click so that they can be immediately viewed. The reports can be published at some online location or the same can be emailed directly to desired users or user groups.
*Security – the reporting software should facilitate defining users and user groups which will have rights to access and view particular reports.
It will indeed be useful to consider the above parameters while selecting reporting software, as the right choice will simplify your reporting needs to a significant extent.
Expert Technical Writer
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