Speeding Up Standard Reports
Many factors can slow down report generation in ABRA Suite, including the number of users, other processes running on the system or within ABRA, as well as hardware issues. If reports seem to be running more slowly than usually, here are some steps to take to make sure that the ABRA data and system files are up-to-date. Additional steps include logging onto the ABRA server (either at the server or via Terminal Server) and running the report ‘locally’. Another step is to log into ABRA as the MASTER user and run the report to see if it runs faster. (This was an issue recently with running Crystal Reports.)
When you delete a benefit from an employees benefit panel, or a dependent from coverage, Abra does not delete it at that time. Abra marks the record for deletion and removes it from your access. The process of Optimizing the database actually deletes the records you have marked for deletion from the files and then reorganizes the files to minimize the space required to store them. It is important to remember that this process does not change any information stored in the system.
The “Optimize Databases” system process permanently removes all deleted records from the database files in the data directory you are logged into. The purpose of this process is to free up disk space and to improve system performance. This process should be run prior to every payroll or at least once a week.
Every database file in Abra has a corresponding index file. These index files are used to sort the data within the database. The Reform Indexes process refreshes the index and rebuilds all Abra HRMS database files. It does not delete any data within the system.
Running the “Reform Indexes” system process rebuilds all Abra Suite index files in the data directory you are logged into. The process uses DDINDEX.DBF to determine the index files to rebuild, and what the keys should be for each index. Generally, you need to run this process if you receive a “Record out of Range”, “Index file is damaged”, “Index does not match table” error (or something to that effect).
Pressing Ctrl + R at the Log-in screen is identical to running the Reform Indexes process. This ‘hot key’ is primarily used when a corrupted index prevents you from accessing the “Reform Indexes” process from the menu or Activity Center.
When should I run Optimize Database and Reform Indexes?
- Prior to running final payroll
- Hardware failure, power outage
- Import information in from another application
- Trouble accessing or processing data, trouble printing reports
- Delete a number of records – massive cleanup
- If you had to restore from a backup
- Error messages
Make sure all users are out of the system.
Rebuild System Files
This system process (it appears under the System Rules menu) rebuilds certain system files in both the Live and Sample data directories. The process is primarily used for installing customizations made with Abra Toolkit. It is also used for resolving problems with custom panels or problems with accessing tasks and steps during security setup.
These are the specific functions the Rebuild System Files process performs:
- Rebuilds Security files (SYTASK.DBF, SYSTEP.DBF, SYSFIELD.DBF, SYFILTER.DBF, SYSRPT.DBF). These files contain the security privileges that have been assigned to each security group in SYUSER.DBF. The Rebuild System Files process does not change any security privileges that have already been assigned. However, it makes sure that each file has the appropriate records in it, based on the following rules:
- SYTASK.DBF – This file contains the security privileges that have been assigned to each Abra HRMS task (actions, processes, etc.). The Rebuild System Files process makes sure that every security group in SYUSER.DBF has a record in this file for every task that is in the master tasks file. If Abra Toolkit is installed, the master tasks are in SYTCUST.DBF in the CUSTOM subdirectory; otherwise, they are in MTABLES.EXE. In addition, SYTASK.DBF only contains tasks for products that have been purchased; in other words, if a customer did not purchase Payroll, then SYTASK.DBF does not contain any Payroll tasks. The Rebuild System Files process also deletes any tasks that no longer exist in the master tasks file. It also makes sure that the MASTER user has access to every task for every employer that has been set up in SYEMPLOY.DBF.
- SYSTEP.DBF – This file contains the security privileges that have been assigned to each Abra HRMS step. For the most part, each Abra HRMS task has a single step associated with it. However, actions, reports, and custom panels can have more than one step per task. The Rebuild System Files process makes sure that every security group in SYUSER.DBF has a record in this file for every step that is in the master steps file. If Abra Toolkit is installed, the master steps are in SYSCUST.DBF in the CUSTOM subdirectory; otherwise, they are in MTABLES.EXE. In addition, SYSTEP.DBF only contains steps for products that have been purchased. The Rebuild System Files process also deletes any steps that no longer exist in the master steps file. It also makes sure that the MASTER user has access to every step for every employer that has been set up in SYEMPLOY.DBF.
- SYSFIELD.DBF – This file contains the field level security privileges (Address, EEO, Salary) that have been assigned to each security group in SYUSER.DBF, for each employer in SYEMPLOY.DBF. The Rebuild System Files process makes sure there is a record in this file for each security group and each employer. It also makes sure the MASTER user has “Update” privileges for each type of field level security in all employers.
- SYFILTER.DBF – This file contains the product group filters that have been assigned to each security group in SYUSER.DBF, for certain products (HR, Payroll, Applicant, Attendance, and Training). The Rebuild System Files process makes sure there is a record in this file for each security group and each of those products.
- SYSRPT.DBF – This file contains the report writer security levels associated with each security group in SYUSER.DBF. The Rebuild System Files process makes sure there is a record in this file for each security group. It also makes sure that the MASTER user has a report writer security level of 9 (highest security).
- Rebuilds Data Dictionary files (DDFILE.DBF, DDINDEX.DBF, DDFIELD.DBF). The Data Dictionary files describe most of the database files that exist in the data directory you are logged into. The Rebuild System Files process makes sure that the data dictionary files match the master data dictionary files in MTABLES.EXE, with a few important differences:
- Only files that are associated with products that have been purchased get added to the data dictionary files. In other words, Payroll files don’t appear in the data dictionary files if the customer has not purchased Payroll.
- The Report Writer Security levels required for each field are stored in DDFIELD.DBF. These values can be different in Live and Sample data.
- Audit Trail setup information is stored in DDFILE.DBF and DDFIELD.DBF. These values can be different in Live and Sample data.
- Any custom fields that have been created are stored in DDFIELD.DBF, and any multi-record custom panels have files and indexes defined in DDFILE.DBF and DDINDEX.DBF. These values can be different in Live and Sample data.
- Installs Pre-Populated tables. Certain Abra HRMS database files come with pre-populated values (HRTABLES.DBF., HBEPLAN.DBF, HBEDEF.DBF, HATPLAN.DBF, PRCODES.DBF, PRTAXCDS.DBF, SYTTABLE.DBF, SYTALLOW.DBF, SYTCREDT.DBF, SYSRATE.DBF, SYREPORT.DBF, AFTABLES.DBF, AFSETUP.DBF, AFLETTER.DBF.). The Rebuild System Files process will update each of those files with the pre-populated values if the corresponding file in the data directory does not exist. Normally, this only occurs when a new system is installed.
In addition, the master report writer control file (SYRRCTRL.DBF) is copied from MTABLES.EXE into each data directory, regardless of whether or not it already exists.
- Checks for Rule Records. Most Abra HRMS code tables that are not related to the Applicant product have rule records associated with them. The rule records indicate whether or not a particular employer uses the enterprise tables or has employer-specific tables. The Rebuild System Files process makes sure that each of these code tables has a rule record for each employer in SYEMPLOY.DBF.
- Updates Report Libraries. At the end of the Rebuild System Files process, a screen is displayed that lets you overwrite the custom report libraries in the Live data directory with the corresponding libraries in the Sample directory. The only libraries overwritten are the CUSTOMHR.RP5, CUSTOMPR.RP5, CUSTOMAP.RP5, and CUSTOMTG.RP5 libraries that are shipped with Abra HRMS. If you choose “Don’t Install”, then the libraries in the Live data directory are left alone. If you choose “Rename”, then the sample libraries are copied to the Live data directory with whatever names you entered on the screen.
Crystal Reports Running Slowly – Group Security / Error 5, When Rebuilding System Files
The SYSRPT.DBF file controls Security Group access for running reports and creating Secure Query / Crystal Reports. If this file becomes corrupt, Crystal Reports may run more slowly. Further evidence of a corrupt SYSRPT.DBF file is receiving ‘Error 5 ‘when rebuilding the System Files. In order to correct this issue:
- Copy the current files (SYSRPT.DBF & SYSRPT.CDX ) to a safe 'Temp' location and then delete the files from the Data folder.
- Access Abra HRMS
- From the Activity Center, select System, Rules and 'Rebuild System Files'
- Reform Indexes
The above steps will recreate the two files that have been deleted. If this does not speed up the report processing, consider creating a new Security Group and reassign users to the new group.
- Update Database Structures
The Update Database Structures process is triggered by pressing Ctrl+U at the logon screen. This process makes sure that the standard Abra HRMS database files in both the Live and Sample directories have the correct file structures.
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