Building a Documentation Report
It is possible to compile reports on generated models and diagrams separately for the database modeling environment. Usually such tools are additionally supplied and are represented by add-ins to the modeling tools. Developers of the ERWin environment included the reporting tool in the tool itself and provided extensive customization capabilities.
You can access the report editor through the menu system "Tools/Report Designer". Selecting this menu item takes the developer to the report configuration mode using templates that are generated based on the generated reports. Adding a new report takes the developer into the configuration mode of the report elements, where the main objects and their properties are defined. Initially, the developer must define the name of the report and its type: Logical, Physical, Logical/Physical.
The name of the report is an internal name and allows the developer to separate reports of different types and contents from each other. Also this report name will be used by default when naming the report file generated as a result of its execution.
The report type (Report Type) is used to identify the set of objects and their properties that are available to the developer for generating the report. In the case of using the third type of report (logical-physical model), all the objects of the logical and physical levels of modeling with all the properties that they possess are used for its construction. If you use the first two types of report types, the developer will be offered only those objects that correspond to the selected simulation level: logical or physical.
Below the domain for defining the name and type of the report, the developer is invited, using the "Report Design" tab, select objects (left area) and their properties (the right area), and in the "Definition" tab the developer can provide a meaningful description of the report to be generated, providing a thorough understanding of the essence of the report being generated, since the report settings, in fact, are report templates for use in a variety of database models and a correct understanding of the features of the generated report allows you to use it correctly (Figure 3.33).
Fig. 3.33. Report Item Settings Dialog BoxThe
Selecting a database model type in the left pane of the database model displays in the right pane a set of elements that characterize the selected object in a hierarchical structure, providing ample opportunities for the subsequent design of the report. Specifying characteristics will subsequently provide the developer with the ability to design the kind of report that needs to be generated.
For example, if you want to publish a model diagram to a developer in the report, you must select the "Subject Area" object in the left pane (working area) and in the right-hand area specify the characteristic "Graphical Members", below which level you specify which chart objects you want to display in the model picture, including the indication of entities, attributes, keys, links, and many other elements.
Similarly, the developer specifies that the report should use information about entities, defaults, relationships, and other objects. The description of all selected elements of the database model will be presented in a tabular form, divided by object type into individual mini-reports.
When creating a report, the developer defines within one mini-report no more than one database model object, but the set of object characteristics allows to create a sufficiently large amount of information displayed in the report. The main report window is divided into two parts (Figure 3.34), where the list of reports configured for export (upload) is displayed in the left pane, and the result in the right pane is the result of the report including the definition of the model elements for the report.
Fig. 334. Prepared set of reports for forming and exporting
At the end of the report, which is called from the report setup dialog using the "Run Report" button, (run the report) or through the context menu of the report "Run (run), the developer can export it to text data for use in an MS Excel office tool or to HTML format for opening in a browser (Figure 3.35).
Fig. 335. Sample report for model entities
In the case of generating a report on the model diagram of the database, the report generator generates the actual picture of the model and in separate elements "Tabular" (list) and Hierarchical (hierarchically) - a description of the objects used in the diagrams: entities, links, defaults, etc., depending on which elements were selected by the developer when configuring the report on the diagram (Figure 3.36).
Fig. 336. Sample database model diagram report
The ERWin reporting system is used in cases where it is necessary to generate summary information about the elements used and it is not the task to give a detailed description of the database model. However, the detailed filling of database model objects with meaningful descriptions makes it possible to get a report whose consideration allows developers to accurately understand the essence of some decisions taken while modeling the database, and the formation of a report with only descriptive characteristics allows creating a document that can be used by the customer for understanding database model.
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