SEQUEL Streamlines Reporting with New Script Views
May 14, 2013 Alex Woodie
Business intelligence software vendor SEQUEL Software has made fairly extensive changes to how its ViewPoint client handles data with the introduction of a new objects, called script views. The new script views objects will not only simplify the steps required to complete common reporting functions–including displaying data on a dashboard, and emailing and printing–but provide a performance boost to complex data processing tasks as well.
The enhancements were added to ViewPoint version 10.13.087, the latest release of the Windows-based client that is one of the main ways that users interact with SEQUEL, the flagship business intelligence and reporting system of the Help/Systems subsidiary. The SEQUEL Web Interface (SWI) is the other primary way that users create and consume the results of queries on IBM i and other servers.
The new script views function combines the previously independent concepts of scripts and views within ViewPoint, and represents a major rethinking in how the product works with both.
Views are central to SEQUEL and represent the basic form of a query or a SQL statement in the product, says Mike Stegeman, a senior data access consultant with SEQUEL Software.
Previously, when ViewPoint users opened a view, they could execute several additional commands on it, which allowed them to display the view, print it, or save it in a PC format (.XLS, .RTF, etc.). Additionally, the view could serve as the basis for additional reports or tables within SEQUEL, or used to generate a SEQUEL Dashboard object.
Scripts were also important to SEQUEL. Just as Control Language (CL) helps to automate processes within IBM i, SEQUEL’s scripting language is used to automate common or repetitive SEQUEL tasks, such as automating a series of queries on DB2 for i, or extracting different pieces of data from the same file.
Scripts also played an important role in accessing external databases. A SEQUEL view could be created that pulls specific pieces of data out of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 for LUW, or MySQL databases, but SEQUEL scripting was required to go out and grab that data and place it in a work file on a common platform, Stegeman says. To view the results of a script in a dashboard, it required the use of an “action button,” he adds.
The new script view object combines elements of both views and scripts, and simplifies or eliminates many of the steps described above, particularly as it relates to dashboards. For starters, script view objects use a new command, SCRETURN, that takes the place of the DISPLAY, REPORT, and PRINT commands previously used.
Using a script view lets users take actions on views with a simple right-click of the mouse. Stegeman says the results of a script view can be “displayed, opened directly into Excel, printed, used to create PC or IBM i files, or used as a basis to build either of the report types and a SEQUEL client table. All of this from the one object, Script View. There is less of a need for interim steps.”
What’s more, a script view can be placed directly on a dashboard, so the results are displayed just as if it were a view. One SEQUEL and ViewPoint user who is looking forward to script views is Misty Jordan, a business analyst at Newell Rubbermaid.
“Twenty-five percent of the reports we run require multiple views, and therefore require scripts,” Jordan says in a press release. “So many of these requests required a complete redesign of the view because we couldn’t embed a script into a dashboard. Script views allow us to add our existing reports to a dashboard, without redesigning them. I’m convinced it will be a great help!”
Script views can be created with the same design tools that users previously used to create views, and utilize many of the same SEQUEL commands. Even users who run scripts in ViewPoint, but won’t utilize the script view objects, will benefit from performance increases that are the result of general changes in the way that scripts are processed, Stegeman says.