One of the reasons that Visual Basic 6 is such a popular programming tool is because of its sophisticated support for database programming. Tools such as the Visual Data Manager and the User Connection component greatly simplify tasks that were very time consuming. Another powerful database tool that VB programmers have at their disposal is the Data Report Designer, which lets you create complex reports from almost any data source.
The Data Report Designer creates banded hierarchical reports. These are the most common type of database report; you've probably seen many of them, with headings, subheadings, details, and summaries organized in a hierarchical manner.
A Data Report is similar to a VB form in that it has a visual designer and a code module. Using the visual designer, you can divide the report into two or more sections, each with its own headings. Each section can contain controls to display the report details. The design of the details sections is simplified by drag-and-drop functionality. The available controls are distinct from VB controls but have similar functionality. In particular, the Function control lets you easily perform calculations on field data (sum, average, minimum, and maximum) and display the results as the report is generated. Headers and footers can be defined for the report as a whole and for each page of the report.
At run-time, output options are quite impressive. For instance, the Print Preview mode shows what the printout of the report will look like. Printing is a simple matter of calling the PrintReport method. Export to a file is supported in both HTML and text formats.
The Data Report Designer is a very impressive tool. It's not suitable for every type of report, but when it fits your needs, it can save you a tremendous amount of time.
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