InetSoft Product Instructions: Staged Flows in Interactive Reports

It is possible to have a parallel flow of multiple stages in a staged parameter sheet. This is desirable when the multiple stages are independent of each other. For example, one stage may have levels Country and State; while another stage may have levels Product Category and Product Name.

These two stages are mutually exclusive, and it wouldn’t be logical to place them in a single flow. To add a parallel stage simply drag an element to the region titled ‘Drag here to add a flow’ on the right of the Staged Parameter dialog box. Elements in the ‘Default Level’ are always enabled.

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Cascading Parameter Sheets

A visual interface is provided through which you can add multiple parameter sheets and control the sequence of prompting. Using a simple GUI you can specify conditional branching of parameter sheets, i.e., the parameter sheet to be displayed next in the sequence is decided on the fly based on user inputs. We will now explore a sample scenario where this functionality is useful.

Although it is possible to accomplish parameter chaining on the same parameter sheet through the use of staging, the use of multiple parameter prompts allows each to be reused independently.

Walkthrough: Cascading Parameter Sheets

Assume that a company needs a simple report which generates an invoice for the orders placed by its customers. The report displays order information like product, price, and discount, as well as some customer information like Name and ID. The user would need to enter the Company Name and Customer ID as parameters. Consider a scenario where some customers are resellers to whom the company provides a special discount scheme. It would then be necessary to display different parameter sheets depending on the type of customer. Such a conditional display can be easily achieved using cascading parameter sheets. We create three parameter sheets.

Note that when we link these cascading sheets to a report (discussed next in Using Cascaded Parameter Sheets in a Report), the report is automatically passed through an accumulation of the parameters entered in all of the sheets which were part of the user’s selection flow. Therefore, the report will always get all parameters from either the ‘customer’ and ‘reseller discount’ sheets or the ‘customer’ and ‘customer discount’ sheets, the two possible user selection flows.

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