Metadata driven report parameter screens
Original Publication Date: 2001-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Disclosed is a mechanism for dynamically constructing screens for report initiation and parameter entry from metadata. Metadata is used in this context to refer to business data separated out from the business logic. In many applications, there are screens that have different fields and layouts based on user selections. In this particular case, there are a large number of reports, each requiring a screen that contains different "filter" fields. The "filter" fields provide query parameters for the report, such as a date range. When the user selects a particular report, they are presented with a screen that contains the "filter" fields for the selected report. The filter information is then entered into the fields, and that information is sent to the report engine. This invention handles the filter screens by describing the filter fields in metadata. The metadata for the filter fields is composed of Metadata Elements that contain different parameters to describe the fields. The filter parameters describe the type of field, the format of the data for the field, any default values that should be used, and the field’s location on the screen. The metadata also contains a list of all of the filtered reports, stored within Metadata Report Elements. Each Report Element contains the Filter Elements that are associated with that report. The filter screen becomes a generic widget that parses the metadata information and lays the screen out according to the filter parameters. The screen is provided with the Report Element, which contains all of the Filter Elements. When the user has entered all of the filter information, the filter screen collects the data from the fields into a data structure such as a collection for further processing.