Lotus Domino: Reports and Connectors ? Crystal Reports, XML, ODBC/JDBC, OLE

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Lotus Notes Domino is very efficient in electronic document workflow automation. Unfortunately the electronic document workflow can not replace paper documents completely. For example some documents should be sent to your suppliers or customer in paper form. Lotus Notes (as a client) has built-in tools for printing documents, views and folders. But inbuilt Lotus Notes mechanisms providing such services as printing on the paper Domino database contents can not solve all reports generation objectives.

Regular printing mechanisms of Lotus Notes client allow the following:

? Print one or several documents from Domino database vis Lotus form. A developer can create the form in Domino, which will be used for the printing. In simple cases the printing will be correct. If the form is complex (for ex. It has many design elements, such as inbuilt views, sections, etc.), then the problems may begin to show up (wrong indents, fonts, text imposition, etc.);

? Print data from view, folder in table format. So in this case developer is very limited in report' s design;

? In Domino R6 two more mechanisms were added some-how connected with printing:

? automatic preparation for contact information from a document printing (function Contact print). In other words ?information printing from document in envelope label form;

? copying of selected in view/folder documents into clipboard (menu Edit -> Cope Selected as Table). Later the information may be pasted in another application (for ex., MS Excel), and create needed report on this data.

Thus, as we can see, regular Lotus Notes mechanists cannot solve all tasks in reports creation. For instance, using such the mechanisms it is not possible to create histograms, based on Domino data.

In order to create full-featured reports in Notes/Domino it is necessary to deploy integration technologies. Following technologies could be used:

? Creation in Notes/Domino functionality which loads data into external applications in the required formats. In this case developer is limited only by integration mechanisms which are supported by Notes/Domino (for ex. XML, ODBC/JDBC, OLE, etc);

? External application way, pulling data from Notes/Domino. For example, it may be Crystal Reports;

? OLE. OLE allows reliable connection to Lotus client and data extraction and even processing. Author is familiar with two successful projects in this field, realized by IBM business partners. Both use OLE technology, which works seamlessly at the Notes client side (not on Domino server).

The summary of this article is ? Complex reporting of the Notes/Domino databases is possible, but usually we see the common needs to go beyond standard built-in printing mechanism, inbuilt in Lotus Notes client.

Good luck in your system setting up and contact us for any help in USA: 1-866-528-0577, Germany: (0177) 8349 806!

P.Gottmann is a technical writer in Ronix Systems ( ) the European branch of Alba Spectrum Technologies ( ), IBM and Microsoft Business Solutions Partner, serving clients in Chicago, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Germany, UK, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Moscow.

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