Continuing with the theme of how our standalone 5-Series products differentiate from their widget counterparts in Geocortex Essentials, we wanted to demonstrate how much simpler reporting functionality is when using Geocortex Reporting.
It is now much easier to author reports, add in map images, attachments, and related data sources that may or may not exist in your site.
Below, we’ll demonstrate how to use both Geocortex Essentials and Geocortex Reporting to produce layer reports, and break down some of the key differences.
“Hi, my name is Ryan Cooney. Today, I’m going to be showing some of the differences on how you are now able to produce layer reports using Geocortex Reporting compared to how you use to able to do it in Geocortex Essentials. Let’s have a look!
I’ll be working with some fire hydrant data today. That’s these little red markers on the map, and they are represented in the Layer List by a feature layer called ‘Hydrants’.
When we want to work on reports, the way we add them is we drill into that layer, select the ‘Reports’ tab, and here is where we are going to add our reports.
When we add a report, we are presented with some options, and we’ve got the new variety which is adding an ArcGIS item that’s using Geocortex Reporting, there’s also the legacy option, which uses an RPX file and that’s called Geocortex Essentials Reporting or sometimes referred to as the 4.x version of Reporting.
I’m going to the RPX flavor first. This is going to require me to create and RPX file using the desktop design tool called Geocortex Report Designer. Now, what it does is that it gives you, the ability to lay out your report by dragging in components. I’m just going to drag in something really simple, just a label and I’m going to call that ‘Title’, and I’m going to save it. This will be the simplest report possible and I’m just going to call it ‘Hydrants’.
So, I’ve got an RPX file, now I can complete this wizard here in Manager. So, I’m going to select that RPX file, I just have to give it a name first. I need to select that file from the site’s directory, but since I was using the desktop version of this tool, I’m not on the server, I’m going to have to upload it from my machine.
Now, it exists in the site’s directory, and I can complete this. My RPX based report exists in the list and if I save the site, and load the viewer, I can now go to select a hydrant, go to its list of reports and there’s my RPX report available and I can run this. When I download the file, of course, I will be getting my very simple layout with just a title.
If I want to make changes to that, I go back to my design interface, and I can start bringing in more components, it would probably represent the field values and I save this, reupload it, and re-run the report. That’s my process.
One thing that is kind of tricky about this variety with the RPX flavor is that when I want to inject data, what I need to do is add a label and set this DataField to match the field names that exist in the data source. You’ll notice here that there is no data source that is actually attached. It’s all just going to happen to line up when the report actually runs. What I need to do is know those fields ahead of time and go and copy them. Which I can do from my FeatureServer, I’ve got the ‘Hydrants’ layer and if I look at the list of fields, I can go and copy one of these.
So I could take something simple like this model number field, and supply that here. Save this, and now I need to reupload that, right over the top of the RPX file. I’m going to delete that one and upload the updated one in its place. Now, I’ve swapped out that file just on the back-end, so I can just rerun this report. And there I’ve got my value injected. So, that’s the process!
Now, of course, there are lots of layouts you can do, there are also things like sub reports that you can add, and if you add those, it adds a complication, you need to add datalinks to the site that populate those sub reports. You can add map images, and those map images need to come from feature maps, and those feature maps have to be configured in the site. Now, let’s look at how we do something similar using Geocortex Reporting or the new 5.x flavor.
What we’re going to do is go to apps.geocortex.com, select Reporting, and it’s going to load web-based Report Designer. I’ll want to create a new report, I want it to be based on a layer. So, I can select a layer report, and I have the option to choose from an existing data source or plug in a new one, I’ll do that here. So, it’s an ArcGIS layer table. Now, my data is coming from a feature service, there’s the URL to my feature server, and I can supply that as the URL here.
Now, when I do that, I’m going to be presented with a list of all the layers and tables that are available. I can see there’s ‘Hydrants’, and what it will do is that it will generate me a report. It’s a standard tabular layout that I can now go in here and start modifying. We can see that in this field list, that we actually have all the database information populated here with all the fields. I can just drag and drop the fields onto this list to help build my report.
Another thing that’s nice about this web-based Designer is that I can actually preview this right away. If I click the ‘Preview’ button, it’s going to prompt me to some FeatureIds. This is a layer report that assumes it’s based on an ArcGIS feature data that has some ObjectIds or FeatureIds. If just plug in a FeatureId, I can see this. I can get a FeatureId quite easily, just by copying one out of the viewer here. And, I can run it.
There I have my report, it’s populated with some data, and I can quite easily just go back and forth, dragging and dropping field values doing my formatting and rerunning that preview and seeing the output. So, my iteration time on modifications to this report is quite fast.
One thing that is quite interesting is that this is all standalone. So, there’s nothing attached to an Essentials application yet. This is just the report being able to run on its own. That’s going to be really useful and allow us to run inside an HTML5 Viewer application, a Web AppBuilder application, and elsewhere.
Now, the last step is to attach this to the Essentials site. To do that, we actually have to save our report. This is going to save it as an item in ArcGIS Online or if you’re using the on-premises version of the software, it could be saved to your portal as well.
So, what that did is that it saved us an item. Just to keep things simple for this demo, I’m going to share this item with everyone, so I don’t have to sign into my viewer to see this report, but this represents my report item. Now, I can go back to Essentials manager and I can add another report and select the ArcGIS item variety. ArcGIS item, give it a name. This is going to search ArcGIS online, and if I search for ‘HydrantReport1’, that’s the one that I just created, and I can attach that.
Now, I’ve got my ArcGIS item, I save the site, and reload the viewer, I should now be able to go and see both. Run the report, and we can see that we had the exact same user experience even though we were running a different flavor of the report. So, the same user experience, I’m mixing and matching of 4.x and 5.x versions of reports. I can get them both integrated into my application.
We are really excited about the new style of reporting, we find it much easier to author reports, much easier to iterate on them, and also it introduces a lot of things that are really great. It’s really easy to add in map images, attachments, add in related data sources that may or may not exist in your site, there’s a lot of things that are much easier in the new style of the reporting.
We encourage you to try it out. Thanks for watching!”
If you enjoyed learning how to format reports in Geocortex Reporting and want to learn more, click the button below to dive deeper into the product or to schedule a personal demonstration.