Reading the title, you might think: I know all those words but what are they doing in the same sentence?
Well ... starting with SAS Visual Analytics 8.3.1, the report summary functionality became an option when designing the reports. I will explain what it is and how to use it.
SAS Report Summary helps to describe the report in a few sentences to replicate a speech-template. The functionality provides a dynamic description of the report:
The report summary is impacted by the data and the current report view. For example, the report groups data by brands and a graph displays the brands ranked by their sales. The report summary can display the top brand name with the sales amount. If the top brand changes across time, there will be no need to adapt the report summary as it will automatically be updated based on the latest view in the report.
Simple report summary examples:
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The report summary displays:
Pro Tip: To enter the data item names, you must use the arrow below the Summary box to select the data item. If you type the variable name, the substitution will not happen and it will appear as text in the report summary.
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You can use functions to format data item values. The functions that are available are provided by Apache Velocity. According to Wikipedia, Apache Velocity is a Java-based template engine that provides a template language to reference objects defined in Java code. It aims to ensure clean separation between the presentation tier and business tiers in a Web application (the model–view–controller design pattern).
Within SAS report summary, some functions are implemented mainly to format numbers. Other functions to perform simple calculations and simple grammatical manipulations are also available.
You can easily use the following functions to format numbers using NumberTool:
MathTool can be used to perform mathematical functions:
LangTool is managed by SAS R&D and can be used to perform simple language functions:
Using these format functions we can adapt our code and format the Invoice with currency. The code will look like this:
And it will generate:
You can also use IF/THEN/ELSE statements.
#if(some condition) Text to display
#elseif(some other condition) Another text to display
#else Yet another text to display
The code will look like this:
And it will generate:
Executive/management summary, elevator speech are what managers and end-users are looking for. At the first read, they should understand what's in it for them. This is exactly what Report Summary brings to them. If your report has a well designed summary, all users at all levels of the company will get the same message. They will have one version of the truth.
As you can see, it is quite easy to generate a report summary that will provide meaningful information to the report user about how to interpret the report. It might help reducing misinterpretation of the data.
The functions that are available to format the numbers and text are documented on the Apache Velocity website. The Documentation team at SAS is working on improving the documentation as R&D increases the number of functions.
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