In the first post of this series, we detail the unlimited possibilities of the Telerik Reporting .NET Report Designers for web and desktop.
Telerik Reporting is a powerful
reporting engine built on .NET with lots of great benefits. One of these benefits
is the Report
From developers to report designers and stakeholders, Telerik Reporting is the tooling of choice
for creating and designing beautiful reports. As a result, I have created this series to illustrate this.
This series covers a little of the past, a little of the present, and, most importantly, future opportunities. The
later posts will be more technical, so you can skip ahead using the links below or read along at your leisure.
Web and Desktop Report Designers for Everyone – Telerik Reporting. (This post)
Web Report Designer in .NET – Getting Started. (Coming Soon!)
Desktop Report Designers in .NET – Getting Started. (Coming Soon!)
Interestingly, the first version of Telerik Reporting was released in
April of 2007. Now, 13 years later it has matured into one of our most beloved
products. Although the industry and the way people work has changed as well. In 2007, the desktop was the most
widely used computer in businesses. At the same time, Report developers only wanted reporting tools
that could be used on the desktop which, coincidentally, was Visual Studio.
Presently, the internet has made it
easier for people to achieve great things. For example, some businesses could be run from anywhere in the world.
Furthermore, an increasing number of employees are finding that working remotely enables them to collaborate and
perform just as well or better than from an office. Unsurprisingly, this may be why a feature-rich, Web-based,
ad-hoc report designer has been one of our top three requested features for a long-time running.
Throughout this series, I
will review our designer capabilities, specific features, where to get the most
up-to-date information, and illustrate what report designers and developers can
achieve. To accomplish this, I will build a sample application, but in this
post, I will provide a brief overview of what our report designers can do, where
to find the latest information on features spanning all our
designers, and talk about the possibilities that are now available. Let me briefly
review the report designer tools next.
Telerik Reporting Designer Tools
At the heart of Telerik
Reporting is designing the report. Therefore, we include tools for rapid report
creation and beautiful styling. For example, a report designer can use drag and drop report
creation with maps, charts, tables, sub-reports, and much more. Additionally,
designers can now visualize and communicate business data with ease using a WYSIWYG
approach in the new Web-Based Report Designer.
Figure 1 - Visual Studio Report Designer
Adding the Web Report
Designer enabled us to better organize our Report Designer tools. To elaborate, we are now
grouping our designers by platform type. For example, the Visual Studio Report Designer
1) and the Standalone
Report Designer (figure 2) are
considered our Desktop Designers. As these are our most mature designers, we have mainly focused
on bug fixes in recent releases.
Figure 2 – Standalone Report Designer
In the next release, we are delivering a
full-featured version of our Web
Report Designer (figure 3).
This addition complements our existing Report Designer Tools by enabling developers to build what they
want, and allows report designers to work where they want. This puts Telerik Reporting among the most
feature-rich Reporting Engines available. More on this in the next two sections, starting with the
Figure 3 - Web Report Designer
Desktop Report Designers; The Present and Future
The other week I caught some flak
for owning a desktop computer. I understand that to most, this may be unusual, although at one point
this was normal. However, there are a few that still enjoy the seemingly endless hardware configurations that
come with using a Desktop PC. This unspoken understanding is no different from the users of our
Desktop Designers and this section is for them.
To the end-users that are working
in Visual Studio designer or the Standalone Report designer, we have not forgotten about your
workflows. We know that you enjoy additional control when Programming the Report
Definition or Extending the Standalone Report Designer.
Want to see or participate in
the future changes of Telerik Reporting? Our Roadmap is where we list upcoming features and we always
welcome your feedback through the Telerik Reporting
Feature Request portal.
Release History (The Present)
There have been a lot
of recent fixes in the Desktop Designers and reviewing all of them would take a whole
article, which is not the goal of this series. Instead, what I would like to do
is provide direction for finding more information about our Desktop Designers and
highlight some fixes that are coming in the next release. Let us dive in.
As a Technical Support
Engineer, there are times when I need to provide additional information on bug
fixes and feature enhancements. In these cases, I end up referring to our Release History.
The good news is our release history is
publicly available and is organized by element type, when possible. For example, a
section will be dedicated to Desktop Designers, the Standalone Designer, etc. Furthermore, with
each major release, we post a new blog article highlighting items that are
included which can be found at https://www.telerik.com/blogs/reporting.
Armed with this information, we
begin to understand the full picture of our Desktop Designers and where to find the most relevant
information. More specifically, our Desktop Designers are mature, stable, and
complete designer tools for the Desktop user. Summarizing the Desktop Designers, we
find thorough documentation, new
feature requests in the feedback portal, and
the latest fixes in the release history. Next, I
will review what’s coming soon.
What's Coming (The Future)
One fix coming in the Standalone
report designer is for when the context menu would not appear upon right-clicking an element in the report explorer.
For details about this, see the report explorer context menu bug report. This meant
right-click was not working for adding parameters or deleting sections. The workaround for this was to
use the properties panel of the report or right-click on the design surface.
Figure 4 - Right-click Report
While there are many new fixes and
features across Telerik Reporting, this concludes an overview of the work we have done
specifically related to the Desktop Designers. Now let us shift our focus to the new Web
Web Report Designer; The Present and Future
Nowadays, there are new form
factors for computers. Some might say, gone are the days of the PC. I mean, all of us have a computer in our
pocket now. I must admit, I have always been slightly envious of the laptop users. They seem to get the same
amount of work done without a complaint in the world. All they need is a browser and a simple hardware
Besides, more people are working
remotely. Some studies would indicate that we are more productive at home. Regardless, working
remotely has become increasingly popular and has been made possible because of the internet; everything is a web
These concepts hold true for our
Report Designers. We want you to achieve the same level of success without any barriers to entry. This makes a
Web Report Designer a great addition to our designer tools.
Release History (The Present)
As the Web Report designer is still in
active development, there have been numerous fixes making their way through the pipeline. Instead of rattling
off a seemingly endless list of items, I will focus on the feature enhancements. Most importantly, I will
focus on the enhancements which are driving feature-parity with the Desktop Designers.
As with the Desktop Designers, the
Web Report Designer includes thorough documentation, the
portal, and an organized release history. However, since the Web Report Designer is
a new tool this includes new features, and everyone loves new things.
The Expression Editor
When I first started using the
Standalone Report Designer, I felt like I was using Excel on Steroids because of the powerful
Expression Editor. This is now available in the Web Report Designer. It includes the same expressions
and functions. See the below image for a visual reference.
Figure 5 – Expression
Editor in the Web Report Designer
The Web Report Designer would
not be complete without a SQL Data Source Wizard. The data source wizard even allows building a
new connection string. For a web application, this is quite powerful.
Figure 6 –
SqlDataSource Component Wizard in the Web Report Designer
The real power of Excel
on Steroids is tying a Table to a SQL Query which is exactly what the Crosstab/Table wizard
does. As shown in the below screenshot, the wizard starts by selecting a data
source and ends with drag and drop capabilities for the row and column groups.
Figure 7 – Crosstab Wizard in the
Web Report Designer
In this section, I just wanted
to highlight a few feature enhancements of the Web Report Designer. Rest assured, I will get
further into the technical details of these items and more in the technical posts of this
series. However, I started my technical career as a web developer, and I cannot get
passed the exciting opportunities that are now available with the Web Report Designer. I will discuss
Unlimited Opportunities (The Future)
Generally, when new tools arrive the fun
begins when we start working with them. For example, just before I start working with a new tool, my imagination
wanders about how and what I can build. As previously mentioned, the Web Report Designer is still in active
development and many new features will be coming in the next release. I will review most of them.
However, in this section, I want to review what is possible now with the Web Report Designer aside from new
Looking for more technical
information about the Web Report Designer? Check out the official documentation.
With the Web Report designer and our
existing designers, it is now possible to deliver a fully-featured application platform for collaborating on and
delivering reports. This is powerful for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). Imagine an application that has
role-based authentication for admins and designers. Telerik Reporting already includes many options for
delivering reports. Now, with the Web Report designer, we can add collaboration and design. It would be
amazing to see a WebRTC application that shares the browser and enables collaboration on a report through the
browser or application. Something like this is now possible with the Web Report Designer.
This concludes part one of the Report
Designer series. We reviewed where Telerik Reporting started 13 years ago. Following that, we went over the
Desktop designers by reviewing our release information and how to provide more feedback. Lastly, we
reviewed important feature enhancements of the Web Report designer and some potential opportunities
I hope that you enjoyed a brief review of the past, present, and future of our Report
Designers. I intended for this post to be an overview suitable for any reader. In the next two
posts, I am going to focus more on the technical side of the report designers and walk
through building an application.
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