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Submitted by NAV Insights on 26 July 2012

Hurry! Act Now! Report Transformation for NAV is Coming!

“Hurry! Act Now!” It’s a statement used and overused by television marketers to instigate buying their product on impulse.  They don’t want you to think about whether you need it or not – just BUY! Buy NOW!  They know that if you wait, you will figure out you really don’t need that lighted collar for your dog, the lettuce spin dryer, the leaf taco, or even the bug zapper!

For that reason I hesitate to say it, because I feel the statement has lost value.  But …well…here goes…“Hurry! Act Now!” But this time, it will save you both time and money!

Many of you are facing the inevitable upgrade to RTC reporting.  Yet with possibly hundreds of custom reports in your database, the thought of upgrading them is like a black cloud hanging over your head, following you about every day.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Do you know why?  Well, listen carefully and I’ll whisper it to you: Not all those reports are being used.  In fact, probably MOST of them are not being used.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew which you needed to upgrade, and which were most important to your users?  There is a way to find out, and I’m going to give you the instructions to create the code to do it.  (Note: I’m not giving you the code, I’m showing you how to code it yourself.  I’d rather teach you to fish than give you a fish. smiley)

Now, lest you think I’m some sort of code genius, we should thank Mark Brummel for sharing this solution.  Yes, I’ve tweaked it a bit, but all the thanks should go to Mark.  Lots of you may have already seen it, but maybe not implemented it.  But now is the time to reconsider.  The history you will build up as your users run reports between now and the day you have to analyze your report usage is only as good as the length of time you have it in place.  If you’ve got a year before you upgrade – you’re going to cover a lot of ground.  Six months, not as much.  Next week…stop reading now…it’s too late my friend…R.I.P. your weekends.  For the rest of you that are being proactive, let’s get started! 

The coding is very simple.  You’ll need two small code additions to Codeunit  1 “Application Management”, a custom table, and a custom codeunit. That’s it!  After the code is in production, you just sit back, sip a glass of sweet tea, and wait for the day to come when you harvest your report usage data!   

How does it work? When a report runs in NAV, it automatically calls the function from CodeUnit 1 called “Find Printer” (in RTC as well as Classic client).  This is the point at which we will call code from our new codeunit to write to our new table the report being printed, and a few statistics.  But because we’re writing to a table in Codeunit 1, it must be a temporary table.  Sorry…that’s just how it is.  But the temporary table will be held in memory until the user signs off because we open it in a single-instance codeunit.  So in the “LogInEnd” (a.k.a . “Log Out”) function, we’ll extract the data from our temporary table out to the new “permanent” table we’ve created. 

First, let’s create our table to store our report usage.  There’s no code on the table itself, just these fields:

 

 

 

 

You may want to add other statistics, but we’re going to just store the report number, who ran it last, when they ran it, and how many times the report has been run.  That’s enough for you to determine what reports are most important to users in your database.  And if you have a custom report that never shows up in usage, you know it’s not being used, and you can archive the report object.

Secondly, let’s create our codeunit.  The codeunit has two functions: AddReport, and SaveUsage.  ReportUsageTemp is a temporary variable referring to the table just created, and ReportUsage is the actual table (not temporary).  ReportID is an integer, which references the report number being run.

Pay close attention to this little statement or it won’t work:  THE CODEUNIT PROPERTY SINGLE INSTANCE MUST BE MARKED YES.  Otherwise your temporary table will not be held in memory until you log out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that remains is to hook our codeunit into Codeunit 1 so we process the report usage to the tables.  This is very simple.  First, we go to the “FindPrinter” function and record the usage using the “AddReport” function we just created.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we go to the “LogInEnd” function and at the very end, right before the session is ended, we call the “SaveUsage” function, and clear our codeunit variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to make RptUsageMgt a local variable referencing the new codeunit in both functions.

And that’s it!  To test it, go ahead and sign out and back in, and run a few reports.  Then look at your table.  You should see them listed.  You won’t notice a performance hit on this either – it’s very noninvasive.  

The point in all this is, as we say in the south, to “put a bug in your ear”.  I’m not sure what the origin of that idiom is, but it is meant to call you to action.  So…HURRY, ACT NOW! Upgrade time is coming, and you can save time and money if you know which reports you have to upgrade.