Reflex Reporting: Ask Thor
Thor, our in-house question and answer guru, helps you get to grips with commonly-asked questions surrounding the Thor Apps Reflex Reporting product.
Q) ‘Isn’t it enough just to query the SharePoint content databases directly – why do we need Reflex Reporting?’
There are three main issues with using the above approach:
1. The developer has to figure out which field to access as SharePoint stores all list content in a single table with fields named like nvarchar1, nvarchar2 or datetime2, datetime3.
2. Querying the SharePoint content database directly voids support from Microsoft as it can cause table locks and prevent SharePoint from working correctly.
3. The developer has no control over the reliability of the content the report reads and users can change the fields in lists, breaking reports and providing users with invalid information.
Reflex Reporting solves these problems, by creating a reporting database specifically for reports to read content. The reporting database is made up of tables that represent the list structures defined in SharePoint and use easy to identify field names (i.e. the same field names the user sees in a list).
Q) ‘Why should I choose Reflex Reporting – doesn’t SharePoint web services provide everything I need to produce reports?’
SharePoint web services has the following issues which can cause problems:
1. You can't query content from list instances across a site collection (unless it’s via another 3rd party data connector for reporting services)
2. The sorting, grouping, and summing functionality is very limited
3. SharePoint web services is very slow to execute because queries must run through XML, web services and then SharePoint before eventually hitting the SQL database and then the data has go back through the same channel again before the report can read it.
4. It’s slow to develop because the developer usually needs to manually craft a SOAP request (web service call) in a simple text editor.
5. The developer still has no control over the reliability of the content the report reads and users can change the fields in lists, breaking reports and providing users with invalid information.
Reflex Reporting avoids these problems, by allowing the report to query content directly from a SQL server database, providing all the performance and functions of SQL server (i.e. table indexes, sorting, grouping, summing etc). Virtually all reporting tools provide developers with an easy to use interface to query SQL server tables and most developers know and understand how to create a SQL query.
Q) Do you have more questions? Please contact us and we'll respond ASAP.