The Q3 2009 release is now in the past, but the newly introduced features are here to stay. Although the newly introduced JustCode productivity tool stirred quite a bit of excitement at PDC and in our forums, it cannot yet shade the native Silverlight support for reports created with Telerik Reporting.
Telerik Reporting Silverlight Viewer
Although there are several Silverlight viewer implementations out there, most notably for SQL Reporting Services, there is no reporting product that offers true native support for Silverlight. The Telerik Silverlight Report Viewer is designed to render Telerik Reports within Silverlight projects (see demos). The Silverlight viewer uses the same rendering engine and offers the same functionalities (including parameters and exporting to all supported formats) as the other viewers, so it guarantees that you will always get the same look and feel of your reports, regardless of the environment.
True Printing from Silverlight
What makes the viewer special is not just its native support for Silverlight, but its printing capabilities. Yes, it features True Print support – a feature that is not yet available in Silverlight 3, but is available in Telerik Reporting (printing will be available in SL4, as announced at PDC 2009). By using True Printing we do not depend on the browser's printing capabilities; instead we use our own paging and rendering capabilities for positioning the elements exactly when printing through the Silverlight (or the ASP.NET for that matter) report viewer.
The most significant difference between the Silverlight viewer and the other two report viewers is that the new viewer, being Silverlight, lives entirely on the client side, while the reports and the rendering engine are on the server side. The viewer is built on the MVVM pattern that has already become standard in the Silverlight and WPF worlds, with almost completely separated UI and model that allows unlimited customization of the viewer's UI. In order to display the reports in the viewer, we had to introduce a few new features to Telerik Reporting, one being a new
XAML rendering engine
Quite self-explanatory, the engine helps us render and send the reports in XAML format in order for the viewer to show them. There is an extra benefit that we got from the new engine however, and it is the ability to
Export Reports to XPS format
Since reports can be rendered in XAML on the server, Export to XPS is available in all supported applications (Win, Web and Silverlight).
Telerik Reporting WCF Service
In order to pass the XAML to the SL viewer, we added a WCF service that enables the remote access to the Telerik Reporting Engine, i.e. the service acts as a communication interface between the client programs and the report server:
RadControls for Silverlight
Naturally, the new viewer uses Telerik’s RadControls for Silverlight, which need to be included in the application in order for the viewer to work. We reused the controls’ Office 2007 Black theme as the viewer’s default theme, but you can nevertheless easily customize the viewer, because we provide
Full support for Microsoft Expression Blend 3
Getting started with Telerik Reporting Silverlight Viewer
We have created a 5 minute video on Getting Started with Telerik Report Viewer for Silverlight, which will show you how to add Telerik Reporting to your Silverlight application. You can also check the online documentation: Silverlight Viewer Introduction or check out the demos.
Well, there are a few minor things already planned for the next version. For one, we plan to extend the viewer’s Theme support to be consistent with the themes, available for our Silverlight controls.
We are also working on improving the parameter support.
What else would you like to see added to our Reporting Silverlight support? Are there any specific features that you are missing?