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Thread: Existing a4v3 report: "Compressed print" no longer works?

  1. #1
    Member Dan Herauf's Avatar
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    Dan Herauf
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    Default Existing a4v3 report: "Compressed print" no longer works?

    Hello!

    I am a newbie to this forum (in fact, any forum!) so please excuse any rookie mistakes I may make. Thanks, in advance, for your time, in any help you may provide. My background is many years as a programmer (mostly IBM AS/400 (Series i)) so hopefully I will be able to quickly grasp any 'greasy' details that may be provided, regarding the Alpha 4 product.

    I have been running the Alpha 4 Version 3 for many years, on an older PC: Windows 98 on a Dell Dimension XPS 400 Pentium II (yes, I agree that I seriously need an upgrade!). I am running custom written A4 reports (Expenses, Orders, etc.) that have been (until yesterday) all working and printing fine. I have been using the 'compressed print' option with all the reports, as the reports are greater than 80 columns.

    Yesterday, after 'Quitting' a4 and then returning about 1/2 hour later (without turning off the PC), my 'Expenses' report will no longer print with 'Compressed print' working (only prints 80 columns. When printing to 'screen' though, all info is there). My 'Orders' report STILL prints 'compressed' so I don't think the problem lies with the printer.

    I have tried going into the 'Expenses' report and (under the 'Range and Print Settings') turning the 'compressed print' option off and on but still will not 'compress.' I tried 'borrowing a report' to see if the 'old' report got corrupted. 'New' report will not print 'compressed.'

    I tried selecting other printers ('default,' 'current,' etc.) but those all print without 'compressed print.'

    Under the Main Menu: Other: Configuration: Printer Configuration: Create/Edit Printer Configuration, I looked at the details for my printer: HP LASERJET III/IV. I'm pretty sure all the information there is 'default' (I don't think I changed anything) and I have not messed with the 'Printer Density' fields: Compressed on / Compressed off codes.

    I tried creating new versions of the printer (copying) but still prints without 'compressed print.'

    I had my printer linked through a scanner, then through an Iomega Zip Plus drive. I removed the scanner and the zip drive and connected the printer directly to the CPU tower. Same problem: will not print 'compressed.'

    I am ready to give the PC the 'distance test' (that's when you carry the PC to the roof top and throw it off. You walk back down and try the PC again. If it works, it passed the 'distance test').

    Any suggestions? If necessary, I can provide more details or A4 codes.

    Thanks, in advance. Have a great day!

    Dan.
    (posted 2009/02/23 10:40am ish MST)

  2. #2
    Member Dan Herauf's Avatar
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    Dan Herauf
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    Default Re: Existing a4v3 report: "Compressed print" no longer works?

    Update (I didn't know how to update the original document so I am 'replying' to myself):

    2009/02/26 at 9:45am MST

    For some bizarre reason (I have not changed this application over the last umpteen years so who knows why it all of a sudden manifested itself into a problem?), the problem lay with the 'filter' on the 'Range' used on the report (which was built over a 'set,' not a single DBF).

    The 'filter' is allowed to be 254 characters and can include any sort of 'selection criteria:' "Only include records for a specific Company," "only include records in a selected 'date range,'" etc.

    The filter I had built (and been using for years), had 6 'selections' included in its string. The filter string itself was well below the 254 character limit (and I tested the 254 limit and a string of 254 does work). The problem ended up being a limitation of HOW MANY 'selection criteria' can be described. The limit ended up being ONLY 4 'selection criteria' are allowed (let's just say we had about 100 different tests of the report to come up with that 'bug' - in all the documentation, there is no mention of limits of numbers of 'selection criteria').

    Problem: I still need 6 'selections criteria' to correctly select the data I want (data is 'multi-company, multi-currency').

    Work around: I built a 'filter expression' into the actual database INDEX used to get into the data. I removed 2 of the 'selection criteria' from the Range filter (and now have only the 'maximum' allowed number: 4 'selection criteria' tests there) and placed the 2 'selection criteria' tests right onto the INDEX.

    The only downside to this work around is now this INDEX is specific to a certain set of data. If I want to get different data, I just have to update the 'selection criteria' on the INDEX 'filter expression' and 'update the INDEX.' I could also create another INDEX, if I wanted a 'generic' (no 'selection criteria' given) INDEX.

    Thanks!

    Dan.

  3. #3
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    Moy Wong
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    Default Re: Existing a4v3 report: "Compressed print" no longer works?

    Hello Dan,

    It sounds like you devised a workaround to your printing problem, but I do have some comments. I can only speak from my experience with A4v2, but here it goes:

    I found the 'filter' function a little irritating for some uses, especially when moving around in a browse screen. The filter has to work on-the-fly, causing A4 to inspect each record (even more if the rule looks at fields in linked databases), potentially making things quite slow. Also, one can get really lost in how the filter's function was originally defined. I can't recall exactly, but I seem to recall some really strange screen update quirks with some of the filtering stunts I've tried.

    You can do some really cool things with clever indexing rules, but with similar costs in efficiency and programming clarity. You also get in to the quirkiness of what 'find' will expect as input when you utilize complicated index rules.

    I like to keep my own thinking clear (as well as to have the ability to document what's going on), by building the index biased towards making it easy to 'find' a particular record, but then to apply a saved 'search' against the index-ordered database to select the desired records for further processing. I may even simplify the selection formula into separate saved searches so they can be run one after another. This can be useful for very large databases--run the search that's likely to be more exclusive first. The subsequent searches will then have much fewer records to deal with.

    The plus in using 'search' is that the resulting search list will persist, allowing you to perform other activities on that selection of records, such as running reports--just don't edit any records that are contained within the search without re-doing the search from scratch. The minus is that using searches and search lists adds quite a few steps and complicates any A4 application you may have built.

    -moy

  4. #4
    Member Dan Herauf's Avatar
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    Dan Herauf
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    Default Re: Existing a4v3 report: "Compressed print" no longer works?

    Moy, hello!

    Thanks for your input - I truly appreciate your insights and you taking the time to reply. I will look into applying your method to my 'problem.'

    As my databases record counts are not too high, any solution used (yours or mine) will not cause my application to slow down too much so it is good to have more than one option.

    Thanks, again and have a great day!

    Dan.

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