If you plan to use custom analyses and reports in the Report Center, then you will be using Formulas. Formulas are based on a programming language called SQL. SQL is a standard programming language for accessing and manipulating databases. Most programs have their own unique extensions and the Report Center is no exception. Even if you are a wizard with formulas in Excel, those formulas will not work in the Report Center so it is good to have a foundational knowledge of SQL itself.
What can SQL do?
- Retrieve data from a database
- Update records in a database
- Create new tables in a database
- Create views in a database
The data from databases is stored in tables. Tables consist of columns and rows. If you've made a custom analysis, this is an example of a table. The Dispatch Board is another example of a table. All of the information in your SA account is stored in tables that you can't see from the front end and they can be large and complex or small and simple. Every table is broken up into smaller entities called fields. Fields are the columns in a table. Think about the Dispatch Board in SA - Client, Service, Date, etc. are all fields. A record, also called a row, is the individual entry in a table, the horizontal entity in a table. To use the same example it would be an individual client or Service.
How does all of this tie in to your custom reports? In the Report Center, Formulas are SQL commands that will either pull or manipulate data from the database into your analysis. For more information about Formulas, see this article.
*The information in this article was found mostly from the SQL tutorial on w3schools.com.