Conditions - Understandable for Everyone. Article Four: Color Scale Condition. In this article we will continue our acquaintance with the Conditions of tool. Today we will review the Color Sсale Condition and its nuances.

The Color Scale Condition allows you to highlight a component with color, in a manner of speaking, to add color to the drabness of the report. The color scheme of a component, its background, will be replaced in accordance with a condition. There are two ways of applying a Color scale: with two and three values. Their work is quite simple. If the color scale consists of two values, then the first value is the minimum one with a specific color assigned and a second value is the maximum one with a specific color (different from the first value) assigned too. The color scheme of other values in the range of maximum and minimum one will vary according to interpolation of two selected colors. Similar effect can be observed in the rainbow (smooth flowing of one color to another). Each component takes the hue, depending on how close the value is to the maximum and minimum one. Similarly, the Color Scale Condition works with three values, except that the color of the middle value is selected manually. The picture below shows the conditions editor.

c1

1) Field Column. Indicates data from which values will be taken to fulfill the necessary conditions.

2) Field Color Scale Type. Used to select the type of color scheme: 2-Color Scale or 3-Color Scale.

c2

3) Filed Type. Specifies the type of the minimum and maximum values for the color scale: Auto, Percentage, Value. In case of a 3-Color Scale, the average value is selected from the same list.

c3

4) Field Value. Used to set minimum, medium and maximum color scale values.

5) Field Color. Used to select color from the palette for the minimum, medium and maximum color scale.

6) Field Sample. Shows a user the color scale that will be used in the report, i.e. color gradient from minimum to medium and from medium to maximum. If you select a 2-color scale, then, in this field, color blend from a minimum to maximum value will be shown.

Let's review an example for better understanding how the Color Scale Condition work. For instance we have a report in which we should visually identify a data column with the population of the US states:

c4

What should we do with the Color Scale Condition? Read an instruction below.

Select the text component {States.Population}, to which a condition will be applied.

c5

Clicking the Conditions, invoke an editor of conditions selecting the Color Scale Condition from the list.

c6

Indicate in the data column on which to focus our condition in the field Column of the conditions editor.

c7

Specify the type of the color scale. In our case it is a 3-Color Scale. And also select the color for minimum, medium and maximum values.

c8

Clicking the Conditions, invoke an editor of conditions, selecting the Color Scale Condition from the list. After clicking Ok, go to Preview. The result of applying the Color Scale Condition is a report, shown in the picture below:

c9

In the next article we will close the theme of Conditions, and review the Icon Set.

A Few Words

What we all know about clouds? They fly high in the sky, there are cumulus clouds and cumulonimbus clouds, and we can store and process information in them.

For those who did not know, we are representing "Cloud Computing" or "Cloud Technology." In this article we will try to find out what is cloudy and heavenly friendly in them.

First of all, what exactly a "Cloud Computing" is? Cloud Computing is a technology of data processing, in which a remote group of servers takes upon itself the basic data. Servers provide all its possibilities to the user as an Internet service (the service or on demand service). In short, the user’s PC now performs the role of a monitor and the group of servers takes all the work of a system unit. The group of servers is like a single virtual server.

Let's talk about everything in order, starting with the birth of the idea itself of the cloud technology.


History

Despite the fact that the first buds of a technology, similar to the Cloud, were mentioned in the 70s - 80s, the official date of birth is considered 2006.

Amazon Company, the world's largest online retailer, introduced the Web infrastructure that provided remote client computing facility. A Cloud relay race took up such titans of the Internet world like Google, Sun and IBM.

Two years later, in 2008, Microsoft announced the release of an operating system Windows Azure, entirely working in the Cloud field.

Also in 2008 a computer magazine PC World published a list of top 10 IT revolutionary events which seriously alter the user's life over the next ten years, where the first place took the development of cloud computing.

It was in 2008, the Cloud became a full term, not a metaphor. According to the document IEEE, published in 2008, the Cloud Computing is a paradigm within the bounds of what information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and temporarily cached on the client side, such as personal computers, game consoles, laptops, smart phones, etc.

In 2010, in addition to the official release of Windows Azure, great many cloud services, oriented to ordinary user, not just for developers, appeared.

Components

To understand the principle of cloud technologies, it is not necessary to be a guru, but at least have an idea what components they consist of.

There are at least three items: cloud storage, cloud gateways, and quite non-cloud users.

There is no need to write about non-cloud users, just look at the mirror to see who it is, but it is worth talking about other components.

Roughly speaking, a Cloud Data Storage is a virtual hard drive where data are stored on multiple servers, distributed in the network. The data is stored and processed in the cloud.

Server clouds can locate not only in different rooms of the building, but different cities, countries, continents, and a user will not notice this, because the structure of servers, with the client's perspective, is one big, virtual server.

The benefits of Cloud Storage are:

Instead of renting an entire server, the client pays only for the space of cloud storage he/she uses. It is very convenient, because often all the space of rented the server is not fully used.

The production costs significantly reduced, as there is no need to be engaged in acquisition, service and support of its own infrastructure for data storage.

Also, all work to store data takes a provider of the cloud center.

Cloud Gateways. If a Cloud Storage we imagined like a hard drive of your computer, then in case of Cloud Gateways we can draw analogy to a cable that carries information.

Cloud Gateway is a technology that provides a fast connection to the data held in a cloud. If you have a good, fast connection with the cloud, a client cannot see the difference between working with the data of his/her own computer and data stored in other parts of the world.


Get Started

Now consider the principle of Cloud Computing.

Instead of purchasing, installing and managing servers to run applications, a company rents a server from a cloud technologies service provider. Then users manage servers over the Internet, paying only actual use for data processing and storage, not overpaying for unused resource. At the same time, if necessary to use a larger resource of the server, then there is no need to think about the scaling, a cloud infrastructure will connect the additional server, and you again have to pay only for the consumed resources.

For example, you have a web-site, with attendance average ten thousand visitors per hour; the rest of the resource remains untapped. It would seem, so what? It is always possible to replace the equipment and ask qualified IT staff to configure parameters. But no, because sometimes, the number of visitors exceeds the limit and attendance are twenty, thirty, fifty thousand people per hour. So there is a new need for more server space and, as a result, additional and unnecessary costs.

And you can place your site in the cloud and only pay for the consumed facility. That sounds tempting, doesn’t it? After all, it is much easier to pay for temporary usage of more computing resources than increasing the power of servers for a temporary jump of users’ visits.

What is the On Demand Service? You can use the software you want directly from the cloud, paying just time spent on working with the software. This is extremely convenient, because it keeps you away from problems associated with purchasing programs, their further registration, configuration, administration and support.

A simpler example of use of Cloud Technology is on-line games.

For example, using the cloud service OnLive gamers may play the latest games on simpler equipment. This happens because the game is handled on a remote server and the user gets the game without spending much money on increasing facilities.

Every day we use the services of cloud technologies and do not know about it.

Examples of cloud technologies, known to all:

Social Networks.

Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, popular by almost everyone, are directly related to the world of cloud. All video clips are placed there directly in the cloud storages.

Microsoft Office 365.

Certainly it’s worth talking about Microsoft Office 365. This is a set of cloud applications that work directly with the Microsoft Office programs, complementing and enhancing their capabilities. For example, using an indicator of presence of other users, you can quickly communicate with other users, thereby improving efficiency. The main advantages of Microsoft Office 365: there is no need to relearn a new software, because it's all the same, familiar Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office, working only on the basis of cloud technologies, this package works with existing browsers, mobile phones and software, so a virtual office is always at hand.

Google Docs.

Free online Google Docs office, which has online cloud file storage service with the possibility of file sharing. Google Docs does not need to be installed on your computer, because it is a web-based software. All documents are stored in the cloud storage, developed by Google. Access to data can be done from any computer which has Internet connection.

4shared.

4shared is a service for uploading, storing, and downloading files. Daily traffic exceeds 300 terabytes. That would be impossible without cloud technologies.

Amazon S3.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a next file hosting cloud-based technology designed to store and retrieve any amount of data at anytime from anywhere.

Windows Live SkyDrive.

Windows Live SkyDrive is a Microsoft offspring. This is an internet service with the ability to store files and files sharing.

MobileMe.

MobileMe is service offered by Apple. Service includes email, calendar, address book, file storage, photo album and a tool for finding lost iPhone. The main advantage this is that Apple provides a unique set of interactions of Internet services and applications on a computer, phone, player and iPad. There is no need to use browsers. All data of Mac, iPhone and iPad programs are stored directly in the cloud.

Dropbox Inc.

Another representative of cloud storage owned by Dropbox Inc, which allows users to store their data on servers in the cloud and share them with others.

Online Offices

Today, thanks to cloud technologies, offline office software is no longer in favor. So, for example, Zoho Writer and Google offer their own online word processors enable you to format, save, check spelling in any language and provide export/import of documents to other formats. To work with tables, you can use tabulated online services such as Google or Editgrid and many other services.

Do not forget about online radio, video portals such as YouTube? Opportunity to buy, burn, download music on Rhapsody and every minute the number of such services is growing.


Disadvantages

Despite such global benefits of cloud technologies and convenience of working with them, there are shortcomings, still confusing users and pleasing skeptics.

One of the main problems is security of stored information: starting from the panic of confidentiality of information in the cloud to the risk of losing of all information. For example, in 2009, a service for storing information Magnolia lost all their data. It is necessary to account for the fact that the data passed in a cloud are not in the memory of your hard drive but somewhere in the Internet network. Since no one has yet invented absolute protection against burglary, we must remember that your data may be public or entirely lost. However, 21-st century is in its prime and similar issues, we hope, will remain a long shot!

As a disadvantage we can specify the problem of uncontrolled data. This is information left by the user, which cannot be removed or otherwise modified. Thus, these "stored" data simply litter cloud areas.

Another drawback is insignificant loss of productivity when working with data in the cloud as compared to local copies of data.


Epilogue

Cloud technologies, supported by strong IT titans of the world such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Ubuntu and others, exist many years and every day become more progressive. It is quite obvious that the Cloud technology is not a temporary phenomenon, but a new age of development. So welcome to the clouds, the way is now open!
Conditions - Understandable for Everyone. Article Three: The Data Bar Condition. In previous articles we have described the Conditions, why to use it, and examined in detail Highlight Condition. This article describes the essence and principle of the Data Bar Condition.

Data Bar Condition allows more vividly and visually displaying the dynamics of changing the values of one of the data columns. The Data Bar Condition works in a simple way - the report generator analyses all values in the selected data column, determining minimum and maximum values. The minimum value is assigned to zero percent, while the maximum is one hundred. Then, the percentage of each component value in the selected data column for a given range is calculated. Depending on the percentage, the data bar is created: the closer a value is to the maximum, the greater the length of the bar is and vice versa - the closer a value is to the minimum, the shorter the length of the bar is. As a result, in the selected data column, in addition to numerical values, we get a bar, showing changes of values.
It was not long time passed when a new article of the series "Conditions - Understandable for Everyone" is published. In the first part we introduced you to Conditions as a standalone tool, without considering the basic techniques of using it. Why do we need this in general and how to find it in the report generator Stimulsoft Reports. In this article, we will review in detail the Highlight Condition, its basic items and how it works.
About What All This?

Now it is time to discuss such a possibility in the reporting tool like Conditions. This tool is important and frequently used, so it needs detailed description. This article will reveal all the secrets and drowned flows of using Conditions, understanding the usage of which will be difficult to imagine how many different actions can be obtained.

Why We Need This?

There are situations when a report contains multiple data but it is needed to pay attention only to specified information. What should I do? Users are sitting and laboriously, manually, "separate the wheat from the chaff," visually searching of the necessary data, but it is difficult, long and extremely unproductive! Efficiency of such work purposefully moving towards zero result. You can spend your own time, but you can learn the principle of operation of the Conditions tool in Stimulsoft Reports. As it was already clear, this tool is aimed at visual formatting of the output data and (or) changing their visual parameters according to a specified condition.

Naturally, there are several ways of work: from the visual designing to ability to hide a component on the report page. Selecting a component on the page of a rendered report will make it much easier for report users, because the component will be visually highlighted, without spending too much time of a user for viewing the entire page, each row, each column searching for relevant information. In simple phrase, if a user wants to mark or make components visible in the total number of rows, it can be quite simply done: specify the condition under which data will be selected, and design the appearance, which will be applied to a component, if this condition is true. In accordance with your desire you may change the font, fill components with color, and draw histograms, icon sets, color scales and other things on your cultivated taste, up to using the style of the report.

In addition to the visual selection of page component, there is another advantage of using Conditions - marked improvement in visual perception of a report by graphic demonstration of selected components in the report. Many might think that Conditions work similar to Filtration, but that is not the case. Despite the fact that both instruments select necessary components from the total amount of information by specified conditions, the final result is much different. After using Filtration in the report only those data that fit the criteria for selection are output. The remaining data rows are not displayed at all. In the case of Conditions, data rows remain in a report, but their appearance is changed, without modifying the functional purpose of the report. Conditions is a higher-level tool than Filtration, because Filtration can only reduce the number of printed data rows. The main purpose of Conditions is formatting but this tool also provides the ability to filter data. Let’s consider some of the features of Conditions. For example we need to summarize by the year, quarter, month, etc. For visualization, you can select positive values of totals in green and negative in red. This can be done using Conditions.

The Conditions property have all components, pages and bands. But keep in mind that the Conditions property is not available for the Report, because it cannot be disabled and has no visual design options. Conditions is divided into the following types: Highlight Condition, Data Bar Condition, Color Scale Condition and Icon Set Condition.

c10

Each of these types has its own distinctive features: Highlight Condition is used to set the font and background style; Data Bar Condition is used for graphical dynamic changing of values; Color Scale Condition is used for selecting a component color, which varies from a minimum value to a maximum one; Icon Set Condition is used to mark a component with an icon, on which the condition is covered. All of the above conditions are working with components placed on the band, besides the Highlight Condition which can work not only with the component but also directly with the band.

Where Can We Find And How to Use This?

To use the Conditions, you must know where it is located. The most logical way resulting from the name "Conditions property" is the properties panel on the right side of the screen. For example, for a text component as well as for a DataBand, the Conditions property is located in the Appearance tab on the properties panel.

c11

Also, the window of the Conditions property can be invoked by clicking the Conditions on the control panel. The exact location of this button depends on the type of UI. When using Standard UI, the Conditions button is in the end of the Formatting toolbar.

c12

When using the Ribbon 2007 UI, Conditions can be found on the Home tab, in the Styles group.

c13

In Ribbon 2010 UI, Conditions is also located as in the Ribbon 2007 UI - on the Home tab, in the Styles group.

c14

Sorted out with location. Then, when you click the corresponding button, in the Conditions Editor box, select the desired options and set parameters.

c15

Several buttons can be found in the Condition dialog box:

c16

1) Add Condition. This button adds a new condition to the list of conditions for the selected component. For each component it is possible to create one, two, three, four and more conditions. There are no restrictions in this way.
2) Remove Condition. Removes the previously selected condition from the list of conditions of a component.
3) Buttons which are used to change the order of conditions.

This article is the first one which covers the features of Conditions. In the next article, we will review Highlight Condition.