Simply put, a methodology is a repeatable documented process. When applied to Crystal Report creation, it can be defined as a specification document or sign-off document. It is important also to consider asking questions to fully understand the report requirement and to think about continuity across a suite of reports.
This can be broken down into the following headings.
* Define the requirements
* Create a specification document
* Create a connection to the data source
* Build the report
* Test the report
* Deploy the report
* Maintain the report
It is also useful to have a business need for a report. Define what business problems could be solved by the production of your report. Create a statement that will define the report's purpose in two simple sentences.
Then, further analysis into the detail of the report can be derived.
* Define the report consumers i.e. include information for all parties.
* Define the data used i.e. which data source to connect to and how to join the tables together.
* Define the template i.e. where header and footer information should appear in the report.
* Define the fields required i.e. the body of the report (detail section).
* Determine the record sorting and sequencing i.e. sorting and grouping.
* Define the summaries required i.e. subtotals and grand totals.
* Define the report filtering i.e. do you want to see ALL records.
* Determine if there are any calculations required i.e. user-defined formulae.
* Determine if the data needs to be presented visually i.e. charts.
* Determine what format the report will be delivered or distributed in i.e. exported, printed or published.
A report specification document should include the information in points 1-10 above. But to be fully complete, it is worth considering additional criteria.
* Will there be any prompts for the report consumer to complete before the report is run.
* Will the report require drill down functionality.
* Can all the data be derived from the same data source.
* How will I document the report fully.
* How will I achieve sign off from the report requester.
Hopefully, this brief overview will give you a good starting point for your reporting project.
This blog was written by Steve Chapman, Senior BI Consultant DSCallards.