Back to 8/96 Reviews SW: Visual Voice Pro 3.0
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 8/96 Reviews SW: Netriever

8/96 Reviews SW: InfoReports 2.0

Listing of August 1996 Reviews

Interface Interferes with Report Writer

By Joel T. Patz

There's a lot to like in Platinum's InfoReports. The program can build reports from multiple data sources, including DB2, Informix, Ingres, ODBC, Oracle, Red Brick, Rdb/VMS and Sybase/Microsoft SQL Server, and you can mix and match files within the same report.

It's possible to create calculations with database fields, sort and filter. A two-pass system, InfoReports provides the total pages in a report so you can display page x of y. It can chart data and convert it to crosstabs. I particularly liked the way InfoReports rearranges a report when you select group breaks, indenting existing detail and adding a new level.

InfoReports 2.0 supports OLE 1.0 for embedding objects and MAPI for distributing reports via e-mail, and converts output to RTF format.

You can trim the list of tables and give them more descriptive names so other users don't have to plod through long lists. This also keeps users from accessing database lookup tables. Sets of rules can be designed for particular circumstances, such as when you want to display information from an additional column when a specific column is selected. There's also a Query Governor that controls performance, limiting a query.

InfoReports offers most of the features of its competition. However, it has a tedious user interface. Since it doesn't use the standard "banded" report paradigm, simple tasks like adding a header or footer are labor intensive. Adding the current date to a report header requires too many steps, for example. Moving a field in a section of column totals should be easy, but the product resisted common drag-and-drop techniques. It lacks wizards to help you prepare standard reports-an absolute must for most of us and a time-saver even for experienced users. The product ships with four templates but they do very little to get your report off to a fast start.

There is no right-mouse-button support (you can double-click on a report option to change its properties), and performance using the latest Microsoft ODBC drivers and a 2,000-record dBASE file was sluggish, even on a Pentium 133 with 16MB of RAM.

InfoReports does the job, but should do it with more finesse.

-- Info File --
InfoReports 2.0
Pros: Works across multiple databases
Cons: Interface Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Disk Space: 17MB
Platinum Technology
800-526-9095, 708-620-5000
WinMag Box Score 2.5
Back to 8/96 Reviews SW: Visual Voice Pro 3.0
Up to Table of Contents
Ahead to 8/96 Reviews SW: Netriever