Thursday, August 30, 2012

NextReports Server: A good-looking login screen

Application login screen must offer more than just a simple form for credentials. This screen can be the place where user has access to information. Here users can learn what's your application about and can access links to everything they need like manuals, tutorials, license policy and so on.

NextReports Server login was improved to show more info about NextReports Suite in following releases.

Besides all previous links, now users can go directly to next-reports web site to read about engine, designer and server.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

NextReports: Easy way to use subreports

Following previous post "NextReports: Parent and children reports"  it's time to show a simple example of a sub-report usage.

A sub-report is just a simple report with one or more parameters. Let's think about a report which shows a list of employees and the hours they worked for a specific project:

This report has a $P{Project} parameter. When we run it, the value is asked:

and after selection the result is like:

To use this report as a sub-report, we have to create a master report. We use as example a report that selects a list with projects and total hours worked for projects. In one cell we will insert the sub-report, making the layout looking like:

To make our sub-report have the $P{Project} parameter completed for every column $C{Project} NextReports has a simple convention: The column from master report must have an alias with the same name as the parameter from sub-report. In our case both alias column from master and parameter from sub-report have the name Project.

When we run this report we will get a nice PDF. We just use some colors to see what is from master and what is from sub-report.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NextReports: Simplify Perspectives

NextReports Designer uses a concept called "perspectives".  Any report or chart can be seen from two perspectives : query (sql) and layout.

Because NextReports has two types of layout entities (charts & reports), designer main toolbar contains three perspective actions:
  • Query Perspective
  • Report Perspective
  • Chart Perspective
Report and Chart Perspectives cannot be enabled at the same time, so a nice improvement can be done here.

In the new 5.3 release only two perspective actions will be shown, making user interface more concise:
  • Query Perspective
  • Layout Perspective

Practically, "Layout Perspective" will show a report layout or a chart layout . "Layout Perspective" action will be disabled when just a query is loaded and enabled when a report or a chart is loaded.