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Reporting - what does the future hold?

One of the most interesting sessions I attended at IBM's Data and AI Forum was Rachel Su's reporting update. It was a very early 8:30 am session on the fourth day of the conference so it was lightly attended but it had a lot of great content.

She covered some of the 11.1.3 and 4 updates (the biggest one, in my mind, being the updated consumer filter dialog).

She also talked about the new default font for all tools - the IBM Flex font. That will make its way into reports in the near future.

She demoed the new Report Page - a page that gives you an overview of what is happening inside of each report. This is a useful feature if you inherit reports from someone else or you have to support reports built by other users. I do wish this was clickable or it listed all the objects.

Another new feature available today is drill through on a visualization. We still can't do master-detail on a viz but we are getting closer and closer to the replacement of charts (hurry, please!).

The best part about the drill through fixes? You don't have to click on the drill button anymore. You just double click on the bar and it drills. Magic.

So, those are a few things that are new today. Here is an update on what is coming. Some of these things are probably next release (11.1.5 which should be out before 2020) and some are R6 or R7.

One thing that is in progress is making Jupyter notebook installation available on Windows. Rachel said this may be in the next release.

One big thing she announced is that we should be able to report using schematics in the near future. These will be svg custom visuals that can be uploaded and then used by any user. There will be new capabilities added to manage and create schematics.

There will also be a new Social Insights tool.

The most exciting thing she announced was that we are finally (FINALLY) getting new prompts. I was one of the first trainers of Cognos's real web product ReportNet. ReportNet was the first time we saw Report Studio and were introduced to prompts that look almost exactly like they do today. That was spring/summer 2003. By 2004, people were complaining about the prompt controls.

Here is some of the stuff Rachel mentioned regarding the new prompts:

* more modern looking

* search on any type of prompt

* only one prompt control - set everything with properties

* less back and forth to database

* define default values from data items (<-------- FINALLY)

* buttons as prompts

* searchable tree prompt

* sliders

That's the basics of what I remember. I was squealing inside and wondering why the heck no one was clapping. Was it too early and they didn't have enough coffee?

This won't be R5 but it will likely be early next year.

She also mentioned expand and collapse in crosstabs and lists. Again, another thing that has been on the list forever.

Exciting stuff! I can't wait to see what 2020 holds. Lots of great improvements to the products.

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