Monday, October 29, 2012

NextReports: Custom paper size

Version 5.4 will allow to select a custom paper size for a document to be used for PDF and RTF exporters.

Users have to select CUSTOM to paper size property and then to edit custom definition property to enter width, height and measure unit. Custom definition property is seen only when paper size is set to CUSTOM.

To exemplify this let's consider our business card report.

 We select 8,89 x 5,08 cm for our business card:

Generated PDF will have all pages with the size of a business card:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NextReports: Use a background image

In NextReports 5.4 user can set a background image for report. You have to select "Report" root and add an image to 'background image' property.

 Then any generated PDF or HTML will show that image and all cells background colors will be ignored.



Friday, October 19, 2012

NextReports: Total Pages Number

In documents like PDF sometimes it may be needed to have a Total Pages Number to be shown on every page header or footer.

In version 5.4 a new variable TOTAL_PAGE_NO can be used to accomplish this. This variable is a bit different than all other variables which can be evaluated as the records are read.  TOTAL_PAGE_NO variable can be evaluated only when the document is closed. Because of that, you cannot enter this variable inside an expression and you should always use it standalone.

So, how do you create an expression like "Page 1 of 10" in your header? You have to split this into two elements:
  • an expression for the part that is evaluated as the document is created ("Page 1 of"). In this expression you will use PAGE_NO variable

  • a simple TOTAL_PAGE_NO variable inside a cell near the expression
Your layout with these two elements inside a page header row will look like:

As you see, first cell element is right aligned, while the cell with variable is left aligned. And the pdf result will look like:

Friday, October 12, 2012

NextReports: Charts Dynamic Series

When you define your chart in NextReports Designer, you have to select what to see on X axis and on Y axis. By selecting more columns (series) on Y axis, user will be able to see comparative data.

Till version 5.4, NextReports was able to select static columns and legends. But there are situations when you want your chart to show all existing series from a specific business. For example to see the type count  for some products, but you have a dynamic list of products: some products may be removed or some may be created in the future. And you do not want to change the chart anytime a change to that list of products is done.

To establish this:
  •  user must create the chart query  in a dynamic mode (no hard-coding)  with a simple sql query or  with a procedure call (a procedure call may be more suitable in most of the cases)
  • user will leave the  Y column unselected in chart layout (also no legend has to be entered)

  • user will enter an sql (simple query or procedure) inside a  new property called "column query" which must return string pairs of {column name, column legend}

When the chart is run, the dynamic columns are computed and they are used as the series. In this way any new changes to our list of products will be automatically seen inside the chart.

This new feature will bring more flexibility to NextReports starting with 5.4 version.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

NextReports: Business Cards

NextReports is a very flexible tool to generate any kind or reports / documents. Because it offers possibility to select column sizes, you can practically generate anything from business cards, envelopes, invoices. To illustrate this we can show a simple report to generate business cards for your employees. This can be arranged as you like and printed on an A4.

Layout can be for example as:

Any dynamic fields can be expressed through database columns or expressions, image can be inserted wherever you like, you can adjust your horizontal size by setting columns dimensions, you can adjust your vertical size by setting properties like font size and padding for any cell.

Generated report looks like:

Do you want to generate to a business card A4 template which has two columns? Just use this report as a sub report with a parameter "Employee" which you will use in your query:

Your master report will have a simple  query where you will select the employe column with the alias "Employee", identical with sub report parameter name:

 and in your layout you will add two sub reports:

So your generated report will be :

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

NextReports: Widgets with dynamic parameters

NextReports widgets (charts, tables, alarms, pivots) can show you important and live data inside dashboards. The entities behind (charts or reports) can have or not parameters. You can have for example a chart showing exchange rates for the last two weeks without using date parameters (like the one found on the demo server).  The query used to perform this using MySql is:

If you want to have parameters, to tweak them for server UI, you must define them with a default source inside designer definition. You can define start date for example to be with 7 days previous to current date like:

End date parameter will be just the current date:

NextReports is able to schedule a report with such parameters using a dynamic check flag. By selecting it, the server assumes that the values for those parameters will be computed at run time instead of using the computed stored (static) default values.

For widgets there was not possible to have dynamic values for parameters. With the forthcoming 5.4 version it will be possible to select dynamic flags for widget settings like in scheduler definition:

In this way you can play with same widget both in seeing data for a dynamic period of time and in analyzing data for a specific static period of time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

NextReports: Barcodes

Because version 5.3 brought possibility to insert a report in another report, now you can generate even invoices with NextReports. For that a new bar code element was added.

An example with EAN.UCC-13 type looks like:

Do you need to a QRCode? You can do it:

The following bar code types are supported: EAN.UCC-13, EAN.UCC-8, UCC-12, UPC-E,  SUPP2, SUPP5,  CODE128, CODE128-RAW, INTER25, CODE39, CODE39EXT, CODABAR, PDF417, DATAMATRIX, QRCODE.