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Reporting Features

Many improvements have been made to reports, both in the classic report writer and to the newer, Layout Table Report writer. Also, there is now support for Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. The new desktop enhancements include:

  • QR codes - QR codes can now be added to your reports, allowing data to be scanned by smart phones and hand scanners.

  • Custom stylesheets for Layout Table reports - Stylize your reports with your own custom stylesheets, giving your reports a snazzier appearance, and letting you keep a consistent appearance from report to report.

  • Double line style - create boxes and lines that use the popular double line style.

  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) - You can now print reports defined in SSRS directly from within your Alpha Anywhere applications.

  • Growable vertical lines - A common requirement in reports is to create boxes around report sections. For example, you might want a box around the records in the Detail section. Now, with growable vertical lines you can create very attractive reports with neat boxes around sections.

  • Layout Table Report improvements - There are now options to keep rows together to prevent a break in the middle of a row and to suppress blank rows in the report

  • Custom report datasources - You can now define an arbitrary Xbasic function that returns data to be used in a report. This means (for example) that you can call a web Service (REST or SOAP) and generate a report based on the data returned by your Xbasic function.

  • Custom report datasources - You can now define an arbitrary Xbasic function that returns data to be used in a report. This means (for example) that you can call a web Service (REST or SOAP) and generate a report based on the data returned by your Xbasic function.

  • PDF Reporting in Windows 10 - Print Drivers have been updated so that you can produce PDF reports in Windows 10 (as well as prior Windows versions).

Xdialog Features

Xdialog is a central building block for many desktop applications, and big improvements have been made to the way Xdialog look, feel, and operate. These include:

  • HTML and CSS - Xdialogs can now embed the Chrome Browser controls. This means that Xdialogs can be styled using the full power of HTML/CSS to create stunning looking Xdialogs

  • Overlays - Xdialog overlays allow you to create floating windows over an Xdialog. A typical use case for this is to display instructions to the user, to reduce training a support requirements.

  • Google Charts - With Google charts, you can now display great looking charts using the extensive Google Charts API. Perfect for creating dashboard views.

Connectivity and Data Integration Improvements

Along with the native database drivers and DBF support, quite a few new data connection and integration options are now available in your desktop applications. These include:

  • oData Support - oData is emerging as a new standard for data connectivity. SharePoint, SAP, Office365 data are all exposed through oData. This means that your desktop applications can access and update data in any oData data source.

  • Direct SQL to File Exports - Execute a SQL query and export the results directly to an Excel, CSV or text file.

  • NoSQL Support - Connect directly to MongoDB, CouchDB and other NoSQL databases.

  • Cloud Database Support - Connect to Amazon RDS cloud databases, Amazon Aurora, and Amazon Redshift.

  • SQLite - There is now built in support for the popular SQLite database, which is now included as part of Alpha Anywhere.

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Here is a sampling of the Xbasic-related capabilities within Alpha Anywhere:

  • Send email using the SparkPost service. This is a much more reliable way of sending email from your Alpha Anywhere app than using your own mail servers.

  • New array methods

    • .push() -- push an element onto the end of an array

    • DIM arrays with default values

    • reversearray() -- reverse array entries

  • JSON has emerged as the de-facto standard for data transfer. Xbasic now has a huge library of functions for working with and generating JSON data. These functions make JSON a first class citizen in your Xbasic code and make it very easy to work with JSON data.

  • a5_json_to_excel() - export JSON data to Excel.

  • Xbasic function can now take array arguments and can return arrays.

  • Helper functions for working with SQL tables - e.g. sql_import(), sql_update(), sql_insert(), create_sql_table(). These functions make it easier to do insert/update operations against SQL databases than writing low level Xbasic code.

  • Node.js has emerged as a extremely important language. The public Node repositories have thousands of Node modules to perform specialized tasks. Xbasic can now call functions written in Node.js using the Xbasic node_request() function.

  • CURL to Xbasic Genie - REST APIs are extremely important for developers today. Many web sites make it possible to interact with them programmatically using REST API. For example, get the weather forecast by making a REST API call to a Weather service. The typical way in in which a developer will make a REST API call is using the popular CURL program. Additionally, most API documentation show CURL examples of how to make REST calls to their API. The Xbasic CURL genie will convert a CURL command into an Xbasic script so that you can use Xbasic to make REST API calls.

  • Whatt3Words is a popular new service that translates addresses(specified by a latitude/longitude) into 3 simple English words. e.g. The address of Alpha's headquarters is smoke.eggs.strike. Alpha Anywhere now has built in functions to convert addressed into What3Words addresses and to convert What3Words addresses into lat/lng locations.

  • QR Codes have become increasingly populate as a way of encoding information. You can now generate QR code from Xbasic. You can even include QR codes in printed reports.

  • Send SMS messages directly from Xbasic using the Twillio service (twillio_send_sms() function)

  • Merge data from a .dbf table or a SQL query into a Microsoft Word template documents

  • Generate PDF files from any HTML text

  • Xbasic classes -- more and more developers are using Xbasic classes when they write their Xbasic code. Classes can now define .get() and .set() methods that are called when you read and update properties in a class.

  • While REST services have become more populate in recent years, there are still many enterprises that continue to use SOAP services. You can now use Xbasic to call SOAP services.

  • Use the Xbasic a5_merge_json_into_template() function to use the full power of the Alpha templating features to generate documents by merging JSON data into templates.

  • Read and write files to Amazon S3 buckets. S3 has emerged as a very popular 'hard drive in the cloud' and you can now use Xbasic function to read and write data from/to S3.