INNOV-7: Can you create a report in
less than 15 seconds?
Rakesh Godhani
Software Architect
Agenda
EasyAsk Ad Hoc Reporting
 Business case / challenges
 Fundamentals of EasyAsk
 BIRT
 How EasyAsk brings it all together
 The little extras that go a long way
 Q&A
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Business case / challenges - Technology
 Huge capital investment in business data
 Few people have access
• Technical barriers
– DB schema
– SQL
– Query/reporting tools
 Time
• Data – what, where, how to get it, transform it
• Reports – layout, fonts, headers, footers,
subtotals, page numbers, etc.
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Business case / challenges - Complicated
 More data – more complex
• Joins, where clause etc.
 IT – Technically savvy
• Resource & budget constraints
• Please as many people as possible
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Business case / challenges - IT
 IT (cont.)
• ‘One report fits many’ approach
– Extraneous columns – clutter
– Missing columns/values
– Requests for follow-on queries
 Further delays
 All this results in …
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Business case / challenges - Frustration
USER FRUSTRATION
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Fundamentals Of EasyAsk
EasyAsk Goals
 Ease of information access to a broader set

of users
Lower the technical requirements
• SQL
• DB Schema
 Talk in a more familiar tongue
• Business concepts
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
EasyAsk is Smart
 When talking about concepts, EasyAsk
figures out:
•
•
•
•
•
Tables, columns, column values
Relationships (joins)
Formulas (e.g. age)
Grouping
Security
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
EasyAsk Natural Language Ad-Hoc Query
EasyAsk
DBMS
Conceptual
View
Logical
View
English
SQL
Physical
View
Translates Natural Language Questions into SQL
Using a dictionary in which each definition shows how
the word relates to the database
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
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© 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Sample Interpretation
Report
Employee
Name
And
Salary
Grouped
By
State
City
(built-in)
Stemmed root of Employees
First & Last Names
(built-in)
Column of Employees
(built-in)
(built-in)
Column of Employees
Column of Employees
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
10 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Generated SQL
SELECT PUB."Employees"."State" as "State",
PUB."Employees"."City" as "City",
PUB."Employees"."First_Name" as "First
Name", PUB."Employees"."Last_Name" as
"Last Name", "Salary" as "Salary"
FROM PUB."Employees"
ORDER BY 1, 2
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
11 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Sample2 Interpretation
Who
buys
Dairy
But
Not
Meat
Products
Cust First & Last Names
Cust.CustID = Orders.CustID
Value of Category Name
(built-in)
(built-in)
Value of Category Name
Table
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
12 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Generated SQL
SELECT PUB."Customers"."Company_Name" as "Company Name",
PUB."Customers"."First_Name" as "First Name",
PUB."Customers"."Last_Name" as "Last Name"
FROM PUB."Customers"
WHERE (exists(SELECT *
FROM PUB."Products", PUB."Line_Items", PUB."Orders", PUB."Categories"
WHERE ("Category_Name"='Dairy') and
PUB."Customers"."Cust_Id"=PUB."Orders"."Cust_Id" and
PUB."Orders"."Order_Id" = PUB."Line_Items"."Order_Id" and
PUB."Products"."Product_Id" = PUB."Line_Items"."Product_Id" and
PUB."Categories"."Category_Id" = PUB."Products"."Category_Id") and not
exists(SELECT *
FROM PUB."Line_Items", PUB."Orders", PUB."Products", PUB."Categories"
WHERE ("Category_Name"='Meat') and
PUB."Customers"."Cust_Id"=PUB."Orders"."Cust_Id" and
PUB."Orders"."Order_Id" = PUB."Line_Items"."Order_Id" and
PUB."Products"."Product_Id" = PUB."Line_Items"."Product_Id" and
PUB."Categories"."Category_Id" = PUB."Products"."Category_Id"))
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
13 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Supported Languages
 Dutch
 English
 French
 German
 Italian
 Portuguese
 Spanish
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
14 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
EasyAsk Review
 Masks the complexity of the underlying


DBMS
Allows use of accustomed terminology
Enables data access to broader set of users.
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
15 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
BIRT
 Business Intelligence Reporting Tool
• Eclipse plug-in – Open source
• Two Major releases
 What is it?
•
•
•
•
Report creation tool
Reports can be saved & re-executed
Easy to use layout tool – WYSIWYG
PDF Generation
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
16 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
BIRT Issues
 Suffers same pitfalls as all other reporting
tools
• SQL & Schema knowledge
 But it has a query builder
• Great for simple lists, BUT as more
information is required, the SQL gets
complicated quickly
– Multiple tables, more complex where & group
clauses
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
17 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
BIRT Issues (cont.)
 Query & report tightly coupled
• Additional column requires design change
• Easy-to-add parameters to restrict the where
clause, but the column display tends to be
fixed.
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
18 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
How EasyAsk Brings It All Together
 EasyAsk Ad Hoc Reporting – Takes a user
question and…
• Computes the SQL
• Identifies additional information that is used to
DYNAMICALLY create a report design
• Report design can be effected by templates
(report styles)
• Refreshes the report and presents it to the
user
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
19 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
THIS IS THE MAGIC!
EACH QUERY RESULTS
IN A
CUSTOM REPORT
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
20 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Design Information Returned By EasyAsk
 EasyAsk Returns
•
•
•
•
SQL
English column names and order
Grouping information
Identifies columns that need totaling
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
21 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Typical EasyAsk Data Retrieval
‘percentage of sales by state?’
DICTIONARY
QUERY
TRANSLATION
ENGINE
RESULTS
SQL +
RETRIEVAL
DBMS
ENGINE
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
22 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Ad Hoc Report Construction
DICTIONARY
QUERY
TRANSLATION
ENGINE
SQL +
DBMS
REPORT
REPORT
ENGINE
DATA RET &
FORMATTING
REPORT
GENERATOR
REPORT
DESIGN
ENGINE
RETRIEVAL ENGINE
TEMPLATE
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
23 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Sample Report
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24 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
DEMO
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
25 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
The Little Extras
 Templates
• Can change look & feel to mirror your
applications
• Certain rules must be followed
– Styles must have well-known names
 Header, footer, defaultgroupheader/footer,
groupheaderlevel1 … n, groupfooterlevel1 … n
– Must be in <install-dir>/server/reports/templates
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
26 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
The Little Extras (cont.)
 Template (cont.)
• Every custom generated report can have that
look & feel
 Emailing
 Scheduling
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
27 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Any Query?
 Almost any query
• Not crosstabs or comparisons … yet
 Let’s not forget charts either.
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
28 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
In Summary
EasyAsk Ad Hoc Reporting
 Removes the technical hurdles (SQL, DB



SCHEMA, Reporting Tool)
Reduces the burden on IT
Leverages acquired wealth of information
across a broader set of users
Makes life easier for users
• resets focus to making business decisions
• provides EASY access to data
• removes task of acquiring & formatting the
information with which to base their decisions.
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
29 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Questions?
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
30 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
Thank you for
your time
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
31 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
INNOV-7 Can you create a report in less than 15 seconds?
32 © 2006 Progress Software Corporation
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