Interactive Query vs Fixed Reports

Interactive Query
Most reporting products are designed around the concept of fixed reports. The user needs some information from the database and the report programmer defines the fields to display, the field formatting, the filter criteria and the sort order. A fixed report is generated and displayed in a report browsing program or on the web. The problem is the data is relatively fixed. Many reporting packages allow the end user to change some of the parameters, but at the end of the day, the user is interfacing with the online equivalent of the 500 paper green paper report of yesterday.

With InfoSilk we take a different approach by allowing the user to actively interact with the data. With interaction the user actively takes control of the reporting process. The search, quick filter and quick sort feature of every InfoSilk report make this possible.

Search

As illustrated below, by default, every InfoSilk report has a built in search feature. By entering text into the Search box and clicking Search every character based field in the database will be searched to determine if it contains that data. This gives users a quick and easy way to interact with their data.

Quick Filter

For more refined searches, every column in the database has a box above the heading which can be used to filter the displayed rows.

In the image to the left is an example of the Charge Amount being filter for values greater than 1000. All the expected operators (<, >, <>, =) can be used in the quick filter as well as operators such as contains, does not contain and starts with.

You can easily define drop down fields for the quick filters so the user can selected from a list of known values.

Date filters limit the list to the date entered or range of dates. You can specify a range by entering two dates separated by a comma. You can also specify one of the following special values: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, LastWeek, ThisWeek, NextWeek, LastMonth, ThisMonth, NextMonth, LastQuarter, ThisQuarter, NextQuarter, LastYear, ThisYear, NextYear, Last nnn Days, Next nnn Days.

The quick filter puts the user in control of the reporting process without consuming any manpower resources.

Quick Sort

The quick sort enables the user to sort on any column by clicking on the column heading. If the column is already sorted, the sort order will be reversed in addition, clicking on the right end of the underline will sort in descending order.

Quick sorting is a common feature for web applications.

The beauty of InfoSilk is that this facility is built into every report automatically so that your user can interact with the data.

All these features taken together make for an interactive live data feel for your reporting which create a superior user experience. More detailed customization options are described in the Customization Ease and Power article.

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