I am relatively new to SAS VA. I have a report connected to a database loaded into SAS VA that is the overlaid w/ contextual additions/ changes including variable renaming, changes to the data type, duplication of variables, variable sorting, custom calculations, creation of geo-location items, creation of data hierarchies, custom filters, etc. These changes can be saved as part of the report (which seems to be permanent) but can also be saved as extra-report context information called a "DataView".
Problem #1 (no co-existence): If I try to save a different DataView for the same report (for instance, if I make a set of simple context changes and then a set of more complex context changes), SAS VA only seems to overwrite the existing DataView and updates the old DataView w/ the new name. It would be ideal to have 2 DataView attached to the report that I could apply as needed, but it seems that 2 DataViews cannot co-exist for the same report.
Problem #2 (non-detachable): Likewise, if I save the report w/ the DataView changes loaded, it does not seem that I can ever remove these DataView changes from the report... or even identify what changes the DataView was responsible for (except by comparing to a new no-context report).
Problem #3 (de-synchonization): Then, if I create 2 reports using the same database, and save context changes to both reports (using the same DataView to which they are both attached), sometimes I end up w/ conflicts between data items in the second report (shows duplicate data items, one of which is highlighted as a duplicate) when I re-apply changes made to the first report and DataView.
Problem #4 (limited utility): Finally, given these issues, it would be very useful to keep a backup copy of my blank report and database with no context changes (and no DataViews applied). Or I may have an updated version of the database which has all the same fields and which I also wish to report from. However, if I do decide to create a new report using this fresh database, I am unable to attach the existing DataView (into which I have poured a lot of effort creating context changes) to the new report/ database.
Given all of these issues, I fail to understand the value of a DataView. Unless I am using it incorrectly or perhaps it has been installed incorrectly by IT, it doesn't seem to add the value that one would suppose. Frankly, its almost easier to just work w/o the DataView and save all the changes directly in the report and, if need be, start from scratch again on the next report.
Please let me know if anyone has some advice or solutions.
It's been a few weeks.. wondering if there is any progress on a solution? I have moved to a new environment recently (different Dept) and I noticed that DataView is behaving differently here.
Firstly, I am now able to save multiple DataViews (Problem #1 resolved). This means I can have a keep a clean (no formatting) copy of my datasource and add (or remove) layers or variations of context/ formatting via the multiple saved DataViews (so long as the underlying/ imported field names don't change). Unfortunately, Problems #2 (non-detachable - still can't remove a DataView once it is applied to a report... I can only change it) and #3 (de-synchonization) still do not work.
One of the ways I was compensating for Problem #2 was to take a newly loaded (no context/ formatting/ DataView) datasource and apply the context formatting to it by opening up a report that already had all of this formatting embedded (either directly or through the single DataView that was permitted - problem #1 - for it's original datasource). In this way, I could change the datasource to my newly loaded datasource and (so long as imported field names had not changed), I could adopt the context/ formatting and save it as a DataView attached to my new datasource or just save the report (and it would become permanently attahced to my datasource).
This did not resolve Problem #3 (de-syncronization) and I still often had problems. However, now (not sure if it is due to the new environment and how DataViews are implemented) it seems that I can't even apply the old context/ formatting from on older report to my newly loaded datasource. All that happens is, once I change the report datasource to my new datasource, ALL of the old report context/ formatting is lost. Completely. Irrespective of whether this context/ formatting had been saved w/ the report directly or in a DataView attached to that report (actually to the report's original datasource). This behaviour makes even less sense than before.
I'm hoping the Product Manager for VA has received these issues since this. Unless I have totally missed the mark in how to use DataViews, I need to ask SAS to make some some quick fixes or work-arounds to the DataView functions. I update my reporting once a quarter and, since field names sometimes change, I retain older copies of the datasource. So, every quarter, I need to create new quarterly datasources but these need to be attached to existing reports. I can't have the new datasource wiping out all of the context/ formatting every quarter in my report (now problem #5).
The product management and development teams have been recently discussing the challenges you've experienced working with Data Views. We have some ideas that we think will help. I need to work on a response a bit more and will be back shortly.
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