New history report feature.

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New history report feature.

Post by daleadmin » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:14 pm

I am changing the history report. In the past you could only get a report stretching back from today to a chosen number of months. For example if you wanted to do a report from today to 3 months back it would tell you your merchandise sales history from Dec 1, 2012 to Feb 20, 2013 (today). NOTE: History data is saved only for the last year, after that new data writes over the old data. For example on the first day of May when you open the register the program will erase all sales data for May of last year to allow the merchandise sales data for May of this year to be written there.

But what if you wanted a specific month total? Then on the last day of the month you would have to do a history report on the last day of the month and set 1 month back. If you missed doing it on the last day of the month then you were out of luck. Plus if you wanted a report for any time period that did not end on the day you were doing the report then you were screwed.

So I am changing the program to allow you to pick a any particular month for a start and / or end of the report. Since the data in the program is saved by month only full months can be reported with the exception of the current month. So if you set the start month to NOV and the end month to NOV then you would get a report containing only the full month of November.

So I have this little program I want you to test at http://keyhut.com/fileyear.exe It is only the interface and does not actually do anything. I would like you to run the program and see if you can figure out how to pick the start month and end month and if anything is confusing to you.

Report back here.

Dale

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Re: Report Date Range Selection Method Feedback.

Post by brucef2112 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:45 am

Dale,

First, this is a big improvement to the reporting feature. Trying to get a snapshot of a particular month for a report has been very cumbersome at best.

I tried your sample program and it is an unusual method for date selection. It is not intuitive upon first use .
To the average user the "START < = END" at the top isn't very explanatory of the date range 'rules'. (one would have to have knowledge of writing database queries or at best, passed high school math and then recall the day that the teacher explained what the '<' and '=' signs mean and then what they mean when one follows the other!?!?!).

Obviously the end date shouldn't be before the start date however the way you implement this by stopping the scroll without any indication to the user of why it stopped is one issue that makes it difficult to understand. As it is, when I first scrolled around I thought my wireless keyboard stopped working as I held the arrow key down. I didn't immediately realize I was violating the logic of date selection.

If, as I scrolled the start column, the non-select-able END column row choices would 'grey out' it would indicate to the user that it can't be selected. So when scrolling in the END column and upon reaching the upper limit, the grey'd rows would give an unspoken notice to the user as to why the scrolling stopped.

Also I don't know if real world that this would be an issue. but in testing it seems that if I select AUG|AUG but now realize I want NOV|NOV, it would seem intuitive that I would go to the start column (because its a human thing to do) and scroll down. However as it is now I first have to stay in the END column and move it to NOV then switch to the START column to then scroll it to NOV.

It would seem more intuitive AND easier if I would go to the START column and be able to scroll down to NOV. And in doing so the END Column would also move down as to not violate the date range rule. This combined with the 'grey out' of the non select-ables makes it easier to use and makes the rules of date range selection intuitive without further explanation.


The eye candy of this interface is cool but you may just want to go with a simple 2 field selection. Not at all sexy but very clear and familiar to users. ie, users understand this when using online banking/credit card statement searches.

The user can TAB between the two fields. The user uses the up/down arrows to 'spin' the (MMM-YY) through the available selections then TABs to the next field and repeats. As suggested above, invalid selections would be either remove from the spin or 'greyed out'.

Actually something as simple as your 'Results' displayed may be all that is needed ie.

Start Date = <spin control MMM-YY>
End Date = <spin control MMM-YY>


OR your narrative combined with the spin control fields in it. This would be similar to some of the configuration choices in the POS setup where the narrative includes the field(s) that set a configuration choice.

"History report will start at month <SPIN CONTROL START MMM-YY> and end at month <SPIN CONTROL END MMM-YY>."

There is also more room to change the "START < = END" instruction to be expanded to a less cryptic: "The Start Date Cannot Be After The End Date."
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Re: This, is a test.

Post by brucef2112 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:29 am

Another thought,
Does the data detail behind the report allow a report to be created by day?
If so, you could present the user with the available data's date range. ie MAR 1 2012 thru FEB 21 2013. (the range of available data)
Then provide two fields the user can TAB between and allow the user to manually type in the date range they want that fall within the available date range.
This provides a very simple user interface and also would allow a weekly report to be created or other custom ranges the user wants.

Thanks again for all your efforts and hard work,
Bruce
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Re: This, is a test.

Post by daleadmin » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:34 pm

Bruce,

I am sticking with the slider thing for choosing the dates. I have added more instructions at the bottom. I may make another change by forcing the other slide to move if you try to go past it. I will not "gray out" parts of the slide that cannot be accessed.

The history data is stored in the database by month therefore there is no way to get data for a part of a month (except for the current month if the current month has not ended.)

I have a working copy of the reports program with the new feature and you can download http://keyhut.com/fileinfo.exe into your current POS folder.

Before downloading this make and print some history reports with your current version then backup the current version. Now download the current version and make the same reports from now to n number of months back. Do you get the same exact data on the old and the new reports?

I have one point to make. Since the list of the months in the slider changes as the current date moves to the next month you may want to reconsider setting up a history report when setting up "automatic reports." Or you might want to use it since the "current" month will always be the one at the bottom. However if your current auto reports make a history report you will have to re-program it since the controls are now different.

Dale

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Re: New history report feature.

Post by daleadmin » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:31 am

Here is the release version of the new history feature. Make sure that you backup your current version. At the top of the "Reports" menu it will be Version 7.1k http://dhpos.com/fileinfo.exe

If you try to pass the start month with the end month (or the other way around) the other month will move too instead of the one you are moving coming to a stop.

Also when printing at 80 characters the pieces and money amounts figures for the category or vendor totals were lined up one character to the left. I have fixed that. Also on all 3 history reports there is now a grand total for pieces and money amounts at the bottom.

Dale

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Re: New history report feature.

Post by brucef2112 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:08 pm

Hey Dale,
I tested with DHPOS version 7.1g2

The Good:
The modified user interface is much better. Date range selection is much easier and intuitive. 8)

There is a minor issue with Save To Data. Because a historic range can be selected I'd propose that the SAVE TO DATA choice also include the date range info in the data file just as in the SAVE TO TEXT does up in the header. As is now, a SAVE TO DATA will not have any 'date relevance' to the range selected.

I also noticed another thing, probably part of your testing and is benign, but with the new version, selecting Reports from the Main Menu there is a quick flash of black screen with "ACTIVE CODE PAGE: 437". just saying...

The Ugly.
I ran all three history reports between the new and old version. Unfortunately none of the three reports matched.

In the old version I selected 3 months with 1.All Items.
In the new version I selected DEC to FEB with 1.All Items.
Both text reports show a header of: "SALES HISTORY 12-01-12 TO 02-23-2013"
After this nothing matches.
Within each report it seems the new version is leaving out some items and items that are listed have different counts and totals between them.

I'd post results but they mean nothing to you without the data behind it. I'm willing to share my data with you for testing purposes.
The data is confidential and cannot be used for any other purpose or shared in any way. Blah, blah, blah, more legal, blah, blah, blah.
Let me know which files you need to test and I'll email them to you in a ZIP file.
===========
just before hitting submit I also tested with DHPOS version 7.04x2 with same results. actually there was a massive difference in the reports.

I think this may have something to do with no register activity. As if the code for the report is assuming there is data when there may be none. ie I tested with a backup from December (DHPOS version 7.1g2). So there was no data for JAN or FEB. ie nothing rangup on register.
and the test with the the DHPOS version 7.04x2 was last rangup on 2011.

let me know what's needed....
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin - Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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Re: New history report feature.

Post by brucef2112 » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:30 pm

Did some more testing with my data.
Seems if the register hasn't been open for a while and reports are run it causes the data difference.

I used the same data and set the clock back on the PC to match the last time register rangup stuff.
The reports between the two reports is the same. However if there is no activity (ie i set the pc clock back to the current date) the reports do not match. Yes I adjusted the reporting range to match the PC date changes.
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Re: New history report feature.

Post by daleadmin » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:56 pm

Bruce,

One thing I did not mention that I added to the program is that the history feature now checks the year. This means that it looks at the month / year of the saved data and compares it to the month / year calculated as belonging to the report.

For example, if you make a history report for the last 3 months those months should be FEB 2013, JAN 2013, and DEC 2012. But let's say that you did not use the program at all last month. This means that the data for JAN is still labeled for the previous year, ie. JAN 2012. The old version would have compiled the data for JAN anyway but the new version would not.

Could this be causing the difference in the amounts on your reports? To check the dates in your history file go to the "Sales history - Z Reading" feature of the POSCONFG.EXE program and when there press [F4] to see the raw history data. The month / year will be at the top of each column.

Dale

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Re: New history report feature.

Post by brucef2112 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:10 pm

It looks like that is what's happening.
I checked the Sales History z-report and is shows data for 1-12, 2-13, 3-12, 4-12, 5-12, 6-12, 7-12, 8-12, 9-12, 10-12, 11-12, 12-12
which would represent the fact that the register was last opened 12-31-2012 for sales, and not reopened until Feb of 2013. As you described, Jan is therefore data for 2012 and is why one report is different than the other because the new one is century aware.
Thanks,
Later,
Bruce

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Re: New history report feature.

Post by daleadmin » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:22 pm

Bruce,

Every once is a while I am correct, go figure.

Dale

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