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Fix Translated Report Retrieve Specs to Ensure Correct Reports

From the Inside Sesame Help Desk

I have translated all of my Q&A databases and put them in a new Sesame application. All is working fine except for my reports. No matter what I try and do, they seem to include incorrect records in the final reports. Do you have any ideas?

First, we need to talk about the primary rules of Sesame reports.

  • You run a report only after you have retrieved the records you want included in the report unless there is an attached retrieve spec in the report.
  • Attached retrieve specs that are part of the report design take precedence over any records in the currently retrieved set of records.

Most translated Q&A reports will have an attached retrieve spec in the report design. This is because Q&A gave you the option of modifying the design each time the report was run. Unless the retrieve spec attached to the report will be correct under all circumstances (for example, Unpaid Invoices, where the retrieve spec is Amount Paid = zero) then you do not want to have an attached retrieve spec in the report design. Make sure you go into the report design and select Attach Specs from the Commands section of the design control panels. Then choose Select a Different Spec from the Attach Spec drop-down and [None] – Detach current spec from the Select a Spec drop-down. Click on Attach and then Close. Save your report design.

Now you have a report that will always include the records in your current result set.

Now, let's make it even better. Some users say it was easier when they could see a sample retrieve in Q&A (even if it was partially wrong) so they knew what to change. This was especially true if the report's retrieve spec was somewhat complex. You can do the same thing in Sesame with a little effort. Sesame has the ability to name and save retrieve specs and load them with a few clicks. You can save sample specs named the same as your reports, load them and modify them before running the report. Let's look at this approach.

The first thing you want to do is create a sample retrieve spec for use with each report. Enter that spec at the retrieve screen and open the Spec Manager (Alt-F8 or menu button). Click on the Save tab and give the spec the same name as the report it goes with. You can also use the comment section to make sure you know that this is a report spec that may need modification. Now, when you run a report you can look at and load the proper retrieve spec that goes with it.

This is actually more powerful than the old Q&A method of modifying a report before printing it because it gives you the ability to tell a user what to do in the comment field and stops them from accidentally messing up your report designs.

You can alternatively build yourself a simple command button that appears only at the retrieve screen (using the Sesame v2.x automatic code builder) to give your users a simple drop-down list of your saved specs to choose from, though without the comments.

To recap, remove any saved specs in your report designs and give yourself an easy way to select them before you run your reports. Teach your users to use the spec manager before running their reports.