Reports: Ad-hoc database queries

Maintained by Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary Tim Hunt, at the OU (Perry building) Mahmoud Kassaei
This report plugin allows Administrators to set up arbitrary database queries to act as ad-hoc reports. Reports can be of two types, either run on demand, or scheduled to run automatically. Other users with the right capability can go in and see a list of queries that they have access to. Results can be viewed on-screen or downloaded as CSV.
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64 fans

This report, created by The Open University, lets Administrators set up arbitrary SQL select queries that anyone with the appropriate permissions can then run. Reports can be set to be runnable on-demand, or automatically run weekly or monthly.

The results are displayed as a fairly plain HTML table, and can also be downloaded as CSV.

The idea is that this lets you quicly set up ad-hoc reports, without having to create a whole new admin report plugin.


Screenshot #0


Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Tim Hunt (Lead maintainer)
at the OU (Perry building)
Mahmoud Kassaei: Developer
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  • Picture of Nicola Fern
    Tue, 12 Sep 2017, 10:03 PM
    Hi smile are there any plans to certify this for use with moodle 3.2/3.3? I have a managed site and the provider won't install any plugins that aren't listed as supported. Many thanks.
  • Picture of tim st.clair
    Tue, 10 Oct 2017, 12:28 PM
    I can't get scheduled reports to email at all.

    Email from my server works. I've set up two users: 1 a site admin, and 1 with `report/customsql:view`, and set these usernames as the recipients of a weekly report. I can see that the report is running: It tells me the latest time it ran and shows me the previous outputs that it generated, yet I get no emails. In the standard log for the report_customsql component there are entries for viewed and edited but none for notification.

    How do I test that a scheduled weekly or monthly report runs? - I'd like a "run now" sort of option so I don't have to wait a week to find out that my query was actually buggy.

    What is the first day of the week? Is that a Sunday or a Monday? The accepted answer is different depending on where you live. Here people respond "Monday".

    I'm confused by the `%%STARTTIME%%` and `%%ENDTIME%%` settings. There's no explanation of how this relates to the date it runs in the interface and even the code seems a little confusing to me. Is the start time the beginning of the *previous* week and the end the end of the day before the report runs again? That's what I expect, so I could report on things that happened in the last week up until right now. I can't test these in a normal on-demand report since they don't get replaced.

    Minor niggle: If I set up a report as "on demand" then run it, then change its type to "daily", I see "this report was run on (date)" in the text next to it. If I then open the report, the screen then says "This query has not yet been run.".

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Tue, 10 Oct 2017, 6:32 PM
    To answer most of those questions with full certainty, I would have to check what the code is doing. And, I know that you are very capable of understanding the code yourself, so would you be able to start trying that? Most of the back-end stuff is in locallib.php, and the method names are quite clear. Of course, if there is anything you can't work out yourself, please ask again. Thanks.
  • Picture of Andreas Obst
    Thu, 4 Jan 2018, 11:09 PM
    Dear all,

    thanks for this very useful plugin, we use it to communicate weekly reports of participants on security trainings in our plants.
    As I can see, the plugin creates automatically an archive of the queries. My question: Is there a chance to delete the archived Versions without deleting the whole query?
    Or is the archive a result of the SQL query?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    CR Andreas
  • Picture of Luis De Sousa
    Sat, 6 Jan 2018, 11:40 PM
    Hi. Thanks for this plugin, it is very useful. One question: Can I create my reports with paging and sorting? Thanks in advance
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Mon, 8 Jan 2018, 8:37 PM
    Paging and sorting are not currently an option. All the data is shown on one page. This is simple and seems to work.

    For sorting (or any other more complex processing) any report can be downloaded as CSV, and then manipulated in a spreadsheet program like Excel or Libre Office.
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Mon, 8 Jan 2018, 9:14 PM
    @Andreas, there is no automatic way to delete the archive.

    You can do this manually if you have access to the server. The archived reports are stored in [moodledata]/admin_report_customsql, in folders named for the report id (which you can get from the URL) and the filename clearly includes the date and the time. You can just delete those files from the server.

    Of course, it might be nice for someone to code a new feature for this report to automatically delete old reports after a certain amount of time.
  • Picture of Andreas Obst
    Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 3:42 PM
    @Tim: Thanks for the explanation, very helpful, problem solved ...
  • Panthers fan
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 2:35 AM
    I'm looking into why a scheduled report is not being emailed. It is failing a write to the database. After enabling $CFG->showcronsql and $CFG->showcrondebugging, it looks like it fails saving to the mdl_message table before emailing. Question - is there any size limitation to saving to the table? The reason I ask is if I cut down on the number of columns or the number of rows returned from the query, the report is successfully emailed. If I add back the information that I need in the report (it returns almost 3K rows now), it fails. For what its worth, it does create the CSV file in /moodledata/admin_report_customsql. Any ideas?
  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 3:07 AM
    Sorry, I can't think why that would be happening. You will probably need to debug it. Message size is a good guess. What size is that column in the DB?
  • Panthers fan
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 3:42 AM
    If I'm reading the information_schema correctly (still learning my way around SQL), the field mdl_message.fullmessagehtml is a longtext and character_maximum_length is 4294967295 (4G). So, its probably (!) not the message size. By my meager calculations, the message is at most 350K.

    For debugging, other than enabling $CFG->showcronsql and $CFG->showcrondebugging, what else would help? My complicating factor is we only have email enabled on our production system. So I can't enable debugging for too long.


  • Panthers fan
    Fri, 19 Jan 2018, 6:12 AM
    Some more information - after doing some more debugging, I noticed the following in the SQL debug output:

    eventdata as \stdClass is deprecated. Please use core\message\message instead.
    line 67 of /lib/messagelib.php: call to debugging()
    line 641 of /report/customsql/locallib.php: call to message_send()
    line 582 of /report/customsql/locallib.php: call to report_customsql_send_email_notification()
    line 131 of /report/customsql/locallib.php: call to report_customsql_email_report()
    line 78 of /report/customsql/classes/task/run_reports.php: call to report_customsql_generate_csv()
    line 104 of /lib/cronlib.php: call to report_customsql\task\run_reports->execute()
    line 292 of /lib/cronlib.php: call to cron_run_inner_scheduled_task()
    line 91 of /admin/tool/task/schedule_task.php: call to cron_run_single_task()

    What caught my eye is the report_customsql_send_email_notification call.

  • Panthers fan
    Sat, 20 Jan 2018, 6:18 AM
    Fixed it. After a LOT of debugging (and reading lots of documentation), I updated my.cnf with group_concat_max_len=8M and max_allowed_packet=16M. So far, so good - I'm finally getting emails with the large report in my Inbox.
    Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for your help...
  • Picture of Michael Milette
    Wed, 31 Jan 2018, 5:31 AM
    Hi Tim and Mahmoud,

    Will there be a version of Ad-hoc Database Queries compatible with Moodle 3.2 and beyond? If so, when do you think we can expect to see an updated 3.4 compatible version?

  • Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
    Sat, 17 Mar 2018, 5:14 AM
    I have finally done a 3.2+ compatible version.
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