Suggestions for Templates

4 posts, 0 answers
  1. TonyG
    TonyG avatar
    239 posts
    Member since:
    Feb 2006

    Posted 31 Mar 2013 Link to this post

    I understand that templates are new, and I thank Telerik for this welcome addition to the stand-alone designer. Here are a couple new ideas for consideration:

    1) It doesn't look like there is a way to generate a .trtx via code. Until this changes, the process for deployment of new reports is similar to what it used to be: Load the report into the designer, export as template, then distribute the templates. Might there be a way to generate a TRTX from the command-line using an existing TRDX? Or perhaps even from a DLL with an embedded report?

    2) In the designer, go to File>New and you see the list of Available Templates. Great. But close all documents and start on the Welcome page. Click New and there's no option to create a new report based on an available template. And click Open and there's no way to open an existing template. Given the plentiful amount of space on the Welcome page, I'm hoping a New from Template option can be added, and perhaps a Open Template option. As to what "opening a template" actually means, I'm thinking this would mean opening a template for modification, rather than creating a new report from a template, and then re-saving that with mods on top of an existing template. It's seems more elegant simply to open/save any given template.

    3) The Recent Documents list doesn't include templates. It would be nice to be able to click a recent template to open it and create a new report from it.

    4) Related: I think it would help if "Clear Recent Documents" gets changed to "Clear Recent Reports", and a new label button get added for "Clear Recent Templates". I can easily see someone wanting to remove all of the recent reports from the list without having to lose their recent templates from which they would create new reports.

    Thanks.
  2. Elian
    Admin
    Elian avatar
    435 posts

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 Link to this post

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for your interest in the product and that you share your ideas. When considering the further development of the product we will discuss your suggestions and if we find them valuable we will make sure to implement them accordingly. 

    To comment your suggestions individually:
    1. The idea of the template is to create a base definition which will speed up your development process. The number of templates is expected to be relatively low and thus the Export Template function is part of the Standalone Report Designer with no current plans of providing a public API. Can you please share with us what is your scenario where you need to export many templates so that a programmatic approach is needed?
    2. The idea of the designer is to manage the Open / New operations through the File menu. The Welcome page is not meant to be the main means of controlling the designer actions but a rather a "quick start" page providing convenient shortcuts. Currently it lists Opening a report and Creating a new Telerik Report but this might as well change in future. 
    3. (see 4.)
    4. Our vision of using Report Templates doesn't include adding them to the recent documents list as they are not documents that the designer works with but we do have intentions of increasing the usability of the designer and your recommendations may come in handy. 
     
    Greetings,
    Elian
    the Telerik team

    Have you tried the new visualization options in Telerik Reporting Q1 2013? You can get them from your account.

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  4. TonyG
    TonyG avatar
    239 posts
    Member since:
    Feb 2006

    Posted 03 Apr 2013 Link to this post

    Sincere thanks for your considered responses. I'm digging deep into the report designer and reporting in general, and I understand that (a) my thinking might be different or ahead of where we are now with this, and (b) my understanding of the reporting process in general is flawed in many respects. So thanks for bearing with me.

    1)
    Users have different roles:
    a) you have developers like us
    b) there are IT people who can use the tools to create templates
    c) there are users who can create reports from existing templates
    d) there are people who just run reports.

    I'm thinking you have been grouping the b and c types together. The b types will be the advanced users who understand how to apply datasources to subreports and then add subreports to main reports. The c types are just going to change the detail from each of the sub-reports, maybe some of the styling, labels, etc.

    That said, I'll review why I was looking at generating templates and will get back to you if there is a business case for it.

    2,3,4) With all of the unused real-estate on the welcome page I was just wondering why I needed to use more clicks to get to something that seems like a common operation to me - creating a report from a template (created by the 'b' types above). This is a new feature and you probably don't have a lot of user feedback on it yet. When you do start getting more feedback I'm predicting you'll have people wondering why they need to go to another screen to perform this operation when the screen they have in front of them only has two options. The problem there is that since report consumers aren't in your client base you probably won't hear much from these people. So I thought I'd play user and bring it up. :) Really, what's wrong with adding a shortcut to the welcome page, unless you're planning on putting something else there?

    HTH
    Thanks again.
  5. Elian
    Admin
    Elian avatar
    435 posts

    Posted 08 Apr 2013 Link to this post

    Hello Tony,

    Thank you for the effort of explaining your thoughts.
    For 1) the Standalone Designer is aimed at everybody who wants to create reports, whether they know how to code or not. Even for developers, if custom code is not needed, the Standalone Designer provides fast and intuitive report creation that can speed up the whole work process, compared to VS. We still wonder for the motivation of the programmatic template export request and will be interested to hear a scenario where this is a must-have.

    For the 2), 3) and 4) - the Welcome page, like mentioned before, provides a quick access to some functions that we believe are often used. It is still not in its final form and will surely be enriched in the future so we will have your suggestions in mind when considering further improvements. 
     

    Greetings,
    Elian
    the Telerik team

    Have you tried the new visualization options in Telerik Reporting Q1 2013? You can get them from your account.

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