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Understanding the Query Process

Understanding the Query Process

Reporting is selecting and outputting a specific set of data to suit your interest. When you select data it is referred to as a query. A query is the question that is asked of all the available data. The query narrows down and specifies exactly what data you are targeting. After the data is selected by the choices you make in a query, it can be displayed. In the set up of the report, you control how you want the data to be displayed.

The Query Builder is designed to allow access to a virtual table of data. This table represents the category of data you are seeking. The table is a collection of fields (can be thought of as columns) and records (can be thought of as rows). Each record holds a complete set of related data. The record is constructed of many fields which each hold one piece of data making up a complete set.

An example of this concept is work orders. Work orders are a category of data that exists. When you select the Work Order Table, you access a virtual table of data related to work orders. Each record (row) in this table represents a work order and all the related data associated with a work order. Each field (column) on the record makes up the individual items of that set. Some of the fields that make up a work order record are work order number, type, scheduled date, completed date, and work description.

When you build a query you select which fields you wish to see from the selected table(s) for all the records that will be viewed. When you run the query, only those fields will be placed into a smaller version of the table of data; that smaller table will be displayed on your screen. The order in which you view the selected fields can be modified after the fields are selected. You order the records by selecting which field(s) in the table should organize the data.

Usually, when building a query, you are only interested in seeing a small portion of the records in a table. Filtering is the concept of allowing or disallowing certain records to be viewed. To filter, you specify what data must be contained in a field to allow the record into the query. The records that meet the filter conditions will be brought into the query (added to the smaller table). Next, those records will be arranged into the order you specified. The resulting table will display only the fields you selected. This table will appear on your screen in different ways depending on the file output you select.