The A–Shell Preview and EXport function provides enhanced capabilities to customers using ATE or A-Shell windows. The two features are, not surprisingly, (1) print preview, and (2) export to Excel.
When a report is printed to an A-Shell PC (i.e., one running either ATE or A-Shell/Windows), the report can be redirected to APEX. Instead of the report beginning to print, or displaying a Windows print options dialog, the print preview window comes up and displays the report. The display is very flexible: it shows one or many pages, has convenient zoom in/out controls, permits text searching, gives the user the ability to view as much or as little of the report as desired. etc. On exit from APEX, the user returns to the print dialog or exits the report process entirely. All options and controls are set by either the user or the calling program, and are available to the user from the “Preview Preferences” menu in both APEX and A-Shell.
The export-to-Excel function, which is simply one of the many possible report manipulation processes that can be run at this point, is executed by the user clicking on a toolbar icon. There is a corresponding icon for setting options about how the report is to be processed. The net result of the export-to-Excel process is a spreadsheet which is optionally opened in real time. Please note that the export-to-Excel function is offered
strictly on an as-is basis, and will not be subject to the normal feedback-and-development process; there are simply too many variables in reports and spreadsheets for an automated process to produce a perfect spreadsheet from every imaginable report format. Developers and resellers wishing to customize the export process so that it works perfectly with their reports are encouraged to develop their own export routines.
APEX is purchased as an option for ATE and A-Shell Windows. All ATE or A-Shell/Windows nodes at a particular site must have or not have APEX; it is not possible to have some nodes with APEX and some without. APEX is available in A-Shell 5.1 and later.
APEX is built in to A-Shell and ATE, and is therefore operable on all A-Shell PCs. By default, reports going to the PC print do not invoke APEX. But APEX can be invoked, with no additional software, by either the user or by program control. When it is invoked, the report preview will be displayed. If APEX is not licensed, a conspicuous message to that effect will be displayed over the top of the report. When APEX is licensed, the message will not be shown. It is hoped that resellers will be able to use this capability to show end-users the benefits of APEX.