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Report Professional (TM) - Dialog Software

Report Professional (TM) (RP) is a suite of programs designed to make the development of columnar reports easier. As most standard reports produced for users take this form it is likely to be of use to the majority of developers! In addition to helping make report production easier, it also aims to make it device-independent by bundling Printer Interface (TM), a well designed set of printer drivers for AREV. (In addition to all the expected features this also incorporates Soft Font support (with four supplied soft fonts) and an assembly language program to check Printer availability which the authors claim is more reliable than PRNSTAT of checking BIOS interrupt 17H.)

To oversimplify the way RP works - the developer specifies a set of standard options for reports using provided windows, all report output is then generated via calls to the supplied driver routines instead of the standard print statement and the programs looks after headers, footers, system delimiters etc. All features can be accessed from within R/Basic or the standard LIST command can be replaced with a VOC word to redirect list statements to RP. To summarise the major points of the package

     O    Automatically chooses best available page size for report
     O    Permits global margin settings
     O    Multiple font support
     O    Enhanced Page Numbering "Page nn of nnn"
     O    Improved speed on networks
     O    Automatic delimiter hierarchy control from within R/Basic
     O    Generates maintainable source code from R/LIST sentences
     O    Includes full source code - if you don't like it - mod it!

The only cons encountered thus far are that it does not support 2.1 printer drivers and some of the code is not optimised to take account of newer R/BASIC constructs (E.G. binary ICONV/OCONVs).

The pricing structure is reasonable considering the amount of source code provided, and a run time licence is available. Whilst it is subjective, I am always impressed by companies who package their product professionally. RP's documentation is well written and clearly presented. In addition, those people who I know to use it recommend it highly. It is a specialist product but if you frequently have to produce reports for clients you are advised to consider requesting more details from the authors.

Dialog Software, Box 9889 at 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 2220 9-0889, (703) 528-1505, 800- DIALOG-1. Developer price including Printer Interface $195.00

(Volume 3, Issue 4, Page 5)
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