simongoldstone's blog

Importing data from Sage Line 50 Accounts

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve released a connector for Sage Line 50 Accounts. This new connector means that you can easily import data from any Sage Line 50 database, such as invoice lists, customers lists and nominal accounts.

To get the module, all you need to do is download it from the version update screen. The next to you run ActiveDataTools, you will then see a new option on the Enterprise Systems menu.

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When you click this menu option, the connection setup window will appear, where you can enter the appropriate connection details.

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All you need to do is locate your ACCDATA.INI file and specify the username and password here When you click OK, all the Sage tables will appear.

Creating your own extensions in ActiveDataTools

Today we released a powerful new feature in ActiveDataTools that enables you to create your own extensions. This means that you can now connect ActiveDataTools directly to your own systems, without having to use generic database drivers, etc.

This fantastic new feature provides you with the ability to create really powerful imports and exports, that delve deep in to your enterprise systems and that work the way you want them to.

Some of our clients have created their own extensions to read customer data from their SharePoint site and save data to their corporate CRM system.

For more information about this powerful new feature, check out www.activedatatools.com/developer.

Generating Realistic Test Data

If you're a software developer who works on systems involving lots of data, you will probably have had the need to generate test data. This can be really tedious work! Let's look at some options:

1. Do it manually

This is probably the best way to get extremely realistic data, as you will take great care to ensure that the data looks real. However, what if you need to create 10,000 records, complete with names, addresses, dates of birth, etc.? You probably won't have the time to do that, right? And, you'd probably lose the will to live after the first 100 records!

Reading lists of files from the file system

One of our clients recently told us how ActiveDataTools helped them quickly solve an urgent issue. The business sends out approximately 30,000 invoices each month to its customers. The invoices get generated from their billing system as PDF files and then get placed in a folder on their server, ready to be printed.

This particular month their billing platform crashed in the middle of generating the bills. Unfortunately, it doesn’t generate bills sequentially, so there was no easy way of knowing which bills it had produced and which it hadn’t.

They needed to set a flag in their billing database to mark which bills hadn’t been generated, so that the bill run could be restarted. Then they realised that ActiveDataTools could help them, using its powerful “Open from File System” feature.

To start with, they used the File System Importer to create a list of all the PDFs that had been created in the output folder of the billing system.

The system retrieves the list, along with other information such as filesize, filetype, etc. and creates a new worksheet:

The filename is in the first column. You can clearly see that each file is named “Invoice_” and then a invoice number. Once we have the list, the next thing we do is remove “Invoice_” and “.PDF” from the data, using the Find and Replace feature.

We now have a list of all the invoices that were successfully generated. Next we need to create a SQL Script to mark these invoices as ‘complete’ in the billing system. To do this, we use the Output Template Generator.

If you’re not using DevExpress, Start!

ActiveDataTools is a Windows application that helps manage, convert and cleanse data. Using ActiveDataTools, you can read and write dozens of popular data formats, correct and format data, query and filter information and quickly validate datasets. The system contains hundreds of ways to manage data, like correcting padding and letter case, making date formats consistent, correcting number fields and more.

The central component of ActiveDataTools is the grid. Because of this, we spent a huge amount of time researching all the grid components available in the market place. We even considered writing our own but quickly realised that that just wouldn’t have been feasible!

We downloaded and installed many components and spent a long time building test scenarios. After reviewing as many different grid components as possible, we quickly established that there was only ever going to be one choice for us – XtraGrid by Developer Express. XtraGrid is clearly the most powerful grid component available. Not only can it handle huge data sets incredibly quickly, but the number of end-user customisation options is staggering. From dynamic groups and sorts to filters and summaries, there is virtually no limit to the ways in which our customers are able to present their data.

Of course, all these features are automatically built in to our product, meaning that we are delivering these powerful options straight to our users.

Version 2011 Launch Day set for Wednesday, 27 October 2010

We're delighted to announce that we will be launching the 2011 Edition of ActiveDataTools on Wednesday 27 October 2010. This exciting new edition contains a huge number of new features, including:

  • Powerful new Active Query Builder
  • Links with more database systems, including Firebird, Mimer, VistaDb and others.
  • Logic and Relations queries, such as "A not B" and "A xor B".
  • Import from OpenOffice

Please see our Feature Tour page for a comprehensive list of new features.

If you're ready to make a purchase now, visit our Online Shop.

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