A fundamental and powerful element of fSeries is its ability to gather data for use in documents and panels presentations. The data can be simple or complex, from a single source or many sources, and accessed in many different formats.

The core definition for data gathering is the Data Set Definition or DSD,

A DSD is a complete definition of everything required to gather a collection of data and prepare it for use in fDocs templates or fPanels presentations.

DSDs are meant to be shared between any number of templates or panels. For example, a simple DSD that gathers client demographic details for a client may be used for any number of letters and forms that require the client’s name address and personal details.

More complex DSDs are more likely to have specific uses, such as a merged chronology for a client. But even in this example you may have several templates for different audiences.

Some DSDs will be very simple and set up only to obtain a list of records to offer as items in the menu. For example, a list of a client’s activities, each one of which can be generated as a separate document.

DSDs may be exported and imported in order to exchange them with other users of the system.

The articles within this section describe how to set up and maintain the data gathering facilities available using fData, a standalone desktop application that enables users to create and manage DSDs.