NGS Adds PDF and Excel Report Generation to BI Suite
December 1, 2009 Alex Woodie
Christmas came early this year for customers of New Generation Software (NGS). This week the business intelligence software company unveiled a year-end release of its flagship NGS-IQ suite that contains several handy enhancements, such as generating Excel and PDF reports from i OS data on the fly, and new developer options for embedding queries directly into Web portals and Web sites. The enhancements will go well with all those smartphones stuffed into Christmas stockings this year.
It’s been about six months since NGS debuted NGS-IQ version 7. That release was aimed almost entirely at boosting the product’s capability for the Web, which is the hottest technology in business intelligence (along with smartphones). Specifically, version 7 introduced a new Web reporting interface for the core IQ Server, called “Webrunner,” which could potentially save customers licensing fees, as well as “Web links,” which ensure that drill-downs from a Web browser have the latest DB2/400 data.
The Sacramento, California, software vendor continues the focus on Web functionality with the update to version 7, which was officially unveiled today.
Non-technical end users will be glad for the new report generation capability in Webrunner that allows them to output the results of their NGS-IQ queries as PDFs or Excel spreadsheets. Best of all, it lets them do this from any Web browser–even a Web browser running on a smartphone such as the iPhone or the Blackberry.
The update also brings something to NGS-IQ developers, who gain new keywords they can embed into HTML to add run-time query execution to their Web applications, portals, and home pages.
“It’s exciting to show our customers and business partners how easy it is to connect their IBM i to the Web and quickly give employees, customers, vendors, and others the ability to query their data,” says John O’Sullivan, NGS’ vice president of technology. “Some have considered doing this, but thought it would be difficult and time-consuming.”
NGS also added the capability to allow developers to prompt for variable input at run-time in the new Web reporting interface. This makes it easier for developers (or ISVs that use NGS-IQ in their own products) to fine-tune the behavior of their business intelligence applications with things such as record selection criteria, new field calculation formulas, output type, and output destination, the vendor says.
One potential use of these promoting options is to allow end users to write personalized e-mail messages using data in DB2/400 without having to change the query or bring in a programmer to modify the recipient list, which would have been required previously. The Web reporting interface makes it easy for end users to insert the values of database fields into the various fields of an e-mail.
The release is a surprise gift from NGS, which doesn’t usually issue major new features in release updates, according to Bernard Gough, NGS president and CEO.
“With the demand for Web 2.0 capabilities and SmartPhone access to the IBM i growing every day, we decided our customers should have these benefits immediately, rather than later,” he says. “We decided to surprise our customers.”
The update to NGS-IQ 7.0 is available now. For more information, see the company’s Web site at www.ngsi.com.