RD Menu: reducing report time from hours to minutes

Background

The RD Menu generates housing reports for Residential Life staff. These reports provide a range of options from generating a complete roster of students in alpha order to finding housing information for individual students.

The Problem

The original menu was created in Microsoft Access approximately five years ago; however, many of the reports took more than 20 minutes to run and some took nearly all day. The housing coordinator found this delay especially frustrating because she depended on those reports to accurately assign student housing.

Problem Solved!

Although originally tasked with optimizing the SQL in Access to reduce report times, the minutes saved were not satisfactory enough. I suggested, as a test, to re-create a report as a web application to discover if we could reduce the time it took to generate reports more. Reports which took 15-20 minutes in Access became virtually instantaneous in the web interface. Problem Solved!

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