Integrating RPV Reports to Your Existing Projects |
Published by: RPV
Migration or integration?
First of all, we should define at least the meaning of those two words.
When we say migration, we mean that everything is rewritten and/or redesigned. Nothing, except the ideas that work actually, will be used on the new project.
Integration instead means to add new capabilities to the projects that are running. This is the way that we prefer.
To use RPV will not mean to drop anything. In fact, we would say to drop NOTHING.
For that reason, we will talk about two different ways to integrate RPV Reports to your projects.
Depending on what you need and the time you have, you could choose between both options. Here we explain each.
RPV Reports can begin to work for you today opening your existing reports.
This is the best option for existing projects or for those projects that must be ready yesterday.
RPV is able to open TXT files, so if you are generating a report from your program in text format, integration can be immediate.
Is this your case? What do we mean with TXT files?
We mean those reports generated with systems that create simple output files, containing or not specific sequences for a printer. These files are plain files and usually they can be opened with the standard editor of the operating system. (Edit, Notepad, Vi, etc)
Other alternative is when you send the file directly to the printer not creating a file. (Opening the LPT or PRN instead)
How to integrate RPV in this scenario
First of all, if you are sending the files directly to printer, just redirect them to a file on disk with TXT, LST or PRN extension. You can configure RPV later to recognize each extension differently adapting it to your specific purposes.
After that, when the file is created and closed, RPV can print it, preview it, send it by e-mail, etc.
It is possible that your system is prepared to print to a specific printer. In this case, the program is sending some sequences or commands to the printer to control its behavior.
If this is the your case, all you have to do is to edit a conversion table in order to create the driver that connects RPV with your project.
We say driver but it is not so complex. The conversion table will be the driver in this case and it will translate the printer sequences into RPV commands to make them compatible with Windows, so with all the printers.
At this moment, your system (maybe created for a specific printer model or brand) is compatible with all the printers accepted by Windows.
This option gives you the chance to use more features and to obtain a better quality also.
It happens that TXT files have one limitation: the fonts to be used must be fixed-width.
We say progressive because it is not possible to convert all the files at the same time. This integration implies to convert the files to one format accepted by RPV. (Rpx or Rpd)
When is better this method?
In two main cases:
1) When the project (or some program) is new or have to be rewritten.
2) When the program has to be deeply modified.
Just evaluate the following:
If the program that generates the report and must be modified requires that you alter its logical structure, and you know that it will take more time than just a minute (and you have that time).
If YES, then you should convert the program to Rpx / Rpd format.
Ok, but... how?
Rpx and Rpd formats are only data. Your current reports are data exported from your programs.
The difference between both is that your current reports must be formatted by your program (by you) and Rpx / Rpd have no format. They contain data without format.
Let's see an example of an Rpx file:
What you see here is just data delimited by a char | (pipe).
That data is taken by RPV and combined with a template (an RPV file) and the report is formatted by RPV and not by your program.
The advantages of this kind of file are important:
1) The program is easier to be coded. You do not have to pay attention to any format.
2) The program is easier to be modified later. It will more readable by others (and yourself).
3) The most important: the program should not be modified to change a report. If the change is not really important, to change the template will be enough to alter a report. A recompiled program is a program that can fail again.
Please take a look at the Quickest Guide for Programmers #2 (PDF) to learn more how to use Rpx and Rpd formats.
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