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 Designers. 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)
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.
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 (figure 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.
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 Desktop Designers.
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.
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.
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.
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 Report Designer.
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 configuration.
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 application now.
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.
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 feedback 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 them next.
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 features.
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 with it.
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.
Telerik Reporting is a complete, easy-to-use, and powerful .NET embedded reporting tool for web and desktop applications that support: ASP.NET Core, Blazor, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET AJAX, HTML5/JS, Angular, React,Vue, WPF, WinForms. Create, style, view, and export rich, interactive, and reusable reports to attractively present analytical and any business data. Add reports to any business application through report viewer controls. Export the ready reports in more than 15 formats. Download a FREE trial today.
Eric is a Technical Support Engineer at Progress. He covers all Telerik DevCraft products, specializing in .NET tools like UI for Blazor, AJAX, Telerik Reporting and Fiddler.
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