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Rave Reports Visual Designer

Lesson - Quick Start with Rave

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RAVE (Report Authoring Visual Environment) is the visual report designer. This tutorial will quickly guide you through the minimum steps required to build your first visual report with the Rave visual designer and then give a brief overview of what makes up a Rave reporting project. Other tutorials will go into more detail on Rave so if you're ready, let's get started.


1)Start Delphi or C++Builder and create a new application.


2)Create a TTable, TQuery or some other database component and initialize it to a valid table. Set the component's Active property to true to insure that all properties are set correctly.


3)Create a TRvDataSetConnection component (located on the Report component tab) and set the DataSet property to the database component you created in Step 2. Change the name of this new component to "TutorialCXN".


4)Create a Project component (located on the Report component tab). Double-click on the new component or right click and select "Rave Visual Designer" to bring up the visual designer.


5)Once the Rave visual designer is finished loading, select Project | New Data View from the main menu to bring up the Data Connections dialog. Make sure that TutorialCXN is highlighted in the Active Data Connections listbox and press the OK button.


6)Locate the Project Tree (the treeview on the left side of the visual designer) and open up the Data View Dictionary. Select the new data view, DataView1, that was just created. Using the Property Panel (located below the Project Tree), change DataView1's Name property to TutorialDV.


7)Now we're ready to create a report. Select Tools | Report Wizards | Simple Table from the main menu to bring up the Simple Table wizard. Make sure TutorialDV is selected and press Next to advance. Select 2 or 3 fields in the listbox and press Next to advance. Change the order of the fields if you wish and press Next to advance. Change the report title to describe the contents of this report and the press Next to advance. Change the font sizes if you wish and the press Generate to create the report.


8)To preview this report, select Project | Execute Report to bring up the Report Setup dialog. Make sure "Preview" is selected as the report destination and press the OK button. You should now see a preview of your report.


Congratulations! You have now created your first Rave report. The following is a list of what typically makes up an application using Rave:


1)Data connection components - If you noticed in the above example, Rave uses data from your application. The standard data connection components, TRPCustomConnection, TRvDataSetConnection, TRPTableConnection and TRPQueryConnection provide a bridge between the data in your application and the Rave visual components. The TRPCustomConnection component can be used to access non-database data such as memory arrays or binary record files. TRvDataSetConnection can be used to provide access to TDataSet descendent components including 3rd party dataset components. TRPTableConnection and TRPQueryConnection are to be used specifically with TTable and TQuery components or their descendent's respectively. More detailed usage of data connection components is explained in much more detail in a later tutorial.


2)Project component - This component provides access to the reports and their components. The Project component contains many properties and methods that allow you to create, modify, print and design your reporting projects and will be explained in much more detail in a later tutorial. You will usually only require one Project component per application, but there is no limitation to having more. More detailed usage of the Project component is explained in much more detail in a later tutorial.


3)Report project file (.RAV file) - The report project file is where the report definitions are stored by the Rave visual designer. This is a binary file, similar to Delphi's .DFM files. All reports, global pages and data views for the reporting project are stored in this single file. You can export or import items from or to a report project file. Using methods of the Project component, you can also store the report project file in a database blob field or other location.


4)Reports - Reports are stored in the Report Library of the reporting project. A Rave report is made up of report pages and the visual reporting components stored on those pages. You can create as many page definitions as you want and combine them in a wide variety of methods.


5)Global Pages - Global pages are stored in the Global Page Catalog of the reporting project. Components contained on global pages, unlike those in report pages, are visible to all reports. global pages are a useful for storing templates that are mirrored on other report pages.


6)Data Views - Data views are stored in the Data View Dictionary of the reporting project. Data views provide an interface to data connection components. When creating new data views, you must have the data connection component active in either a running application or on a loaded Delphi or C++Builder form. The data view will then query the data connection component to retrieve meta-data information such as field names, data types, etc. Field components are contained within each data view allowing properties to be set for each data column.


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