We are starting a series of articles dedicated to data analytic and visualization. Namely, it is the main tool – report designer. In the series, you will learn everything about working with the application and creating reports and dashboards in general. In today’s world, it isn’t easy to imagine any sphere of human activity without reporting services. Starting from large transnational corporations to small businesses, all need reports.
There are a lot of services and reporting tools, but their main element – report designer. This application is used for creating, designing and editing reports and dashboards. Apart from these features, Stimulsoft report designer provides access to download of developer packages for various platforms, publishing a report to a project, work with cloud and much more. However, sometimes new users face problems with the first run of the application and further work with it. Let's clear things up.
In fact, everything is much easier than it seems. First of all, you should download the application. You can do this on our website, on the main tab, or on the Downloads tab. Anyway, you have to go to the download page, in which you click the Download button, and the file will be downloaded to your storage or any path you specify. If you are using our tool already, then when a new one appears, an update dialog will pop up, and you agree with it, having clicked the Update button. After that, the setup file will be downloaded automatically.
To work with the Stimulsoft report generator correctly, we urge you to update to the latest version of our products constantly.
Now, let’s go to the installation process. You should run the downloaded file, get acquainted with our license agreement, accept it and click the Install button. After the application is installed, click the Finish button to complete the process.
To work with Stimulsoft Designer, you should have a user account, which you may create both in the application and on our website. To do this, you can log in when running the report designer and in the following subdomains:
This is the Admin panel for users. You can view invoices issued, check subscription expiration dates, check information about users and purchased product licenses, and download license keys.
After successful installation and authorization, you should select a skill level of the report designer. The number of properties, options, element settings will depend on the skill level you choose. There are 3 skill levels:
Professional. It’s the most advanced level for proficient users. It contains a full functionality of options, settings, and tools.
Standard. This skill level includes a full set of report components and dashboard elements but with a limited number of settings.
Basic. This is the best option for those who do the first steps in report design. It contains a minimum set of settings.
Skill level selection
To set the skill level, you should go to the report or dashboard editing mode, open the account menu in the upper right corner by clicking on the account name and selecting the Account item. After that, the profile window will pop up. You will find the Skill Level option there, where you may choose the level you need. Also, you can use another way – select the level you need in the properties panel settings or select it from the context menu of this panel. More detailed information about it, you can find here.
Download developer packages
To download them, you should go to the Downloads page (the page where you downloaded the report designer), find the Stimulsoft Packages for Developers section. After that, a zip archive with Stimulsoft libraries and scripts, which you can use to develop your applications, will be downloaded to your computer.
In the next article, we will move on to working in the tool and give information about connecting data in the report designer. If you have any questions about downloading our tool, installing it, or choosing a skill level, please contact us or check out our documentation where you can find step-by-step instructions for each item.
This article will tell you about features of remote access to view reports and dashboards, Share command in the report designer. In addition, we’re going to give you helpful advice on setting files and access levels and discuss all the details of the process.
Frequently, after creating a report or dashboard, some people don’t know how to use it further. For example, everything is clear if a report is intended only to display in a user application. Still, it’s entirely different when a ready report needs to be shown to other people. By the way, we’re not talking about specific people: they can be your subscribers on social networks or members of your team.
There can be many solutions to this question:
report reference by email;
sending a report by email;
using third-party file storage, etc.
But today we’re going to tell you about Stimulsoft capabilities which allow you to solve the issue of remote access to view a report.Did you know that? Cloud Service has been operating on the Stimulsoft platform for a long time. Every licensed user can use the cloud when the subscription is active. Also, you can acquire a separate subscription to the Stimulsoft Cloud Service. So, creating a report or dashboard, you just in a few steps can arrange remote access to view via a link, QR code, get a code to embed in an HTML page, or immediately publish a report on such social networks like Facebook and Twitter. To do that, you should select the Share command on the Ribbon tab or the File menu in the report designer and follow the instructions. There is a step-by-step instruction to set up remote access in the documentation, also, you can watch our new video tutorial.
When arranging remote access, you should consider:
Stimulsoft gives you capabilities of remote access only with using Stimulsoft Cloud service;
According to the first point, you should have an active subscription to our Cloud Service or other programming products. If product subscription has expired, you can separately acquire the ability of using Cloud Service;
All reports and dashboards are saved in the storage with the calculation mode Interpretation. Firstly, you should consider this when using events in a report. We described the interpretation mode in detail in this article.
These are the main moments you should consider when arranging remote access to view a report. The rest, generally, is not different from viewing a report in the viewer or on the Preview tab in the report designer. You should remember that when dashboard remote access, it’s recommended to add the dashboard mobile design, especially when a dashboard is viewed on mobile devices. More detailed information about this is here.
When organizing remote access, you can define three access modes:
No access. A report will be loaded to the cloud storage, an access link will be generated, and a report view will be impossible;
Team access. A report can be viewed by all users who are added to your workspace. In this case, when following the report link, you should log in. If your colleague is added to the workspace, a report or dashboard will be displayed for him;
Common access. Everything is easy here – your report or dashboard can be viewed by any person who follows the link.
You can change access levels whenever you want. To do that, you should run the report designer, open a report from the cloud and call the access menu. In addition, you can make it from the work space in the Stimulsoft Cloud Service.
Before you start creating reports and sharing them, we want to remind you about two important things. First of all, you can define the access date of your report by the link, set a deadline for access. After this date, the report access level will be set to the «no access» mode. Besides, you can override the access expiration date or disable this option at any time.
Secondly, you can select document format, where the link will transfer a report. In other words, when a user follows the link, he will be able to see not the viewer window with a report and a PDF document or SVG-image. You should remember that if a web browser cannot open a particular file type, this file will be downloaded using the browser features. In addition, please note that a list of file types to convert a report or dashboard may vary. Life hack! You can add the «/» character to any report access link and specify the type file you want a report to be converted to. When following the link, a report will either be opened in a browser or loaded as a file using the browser features. For example, our shared dashboard converted to a PDF file.
We have described how you can share your report with whoever you want using it. It’s quite easy to make using the Stimulsoft Cloud. If you have any questions, contact us.
Today in the article, we will talk about the structure of the components in the report. Components can be parent and child, thus forming a hierarchy. Depending on the subordination of one component to another, the sequence of its processing in rendering a report is determined. You can see the structure on the Tree panel in the report designer.The hierarchy of report components and their events is shown on the Report tree panel. It's very convenient when editing a report with events - you can clearly identify the components in which they are used. In addition, on this panel, you can easily change the order of processing components while designing a report. The rendering process starts with the upper hierarchy level and moves consistently to the lower. Accordingly, the higher the component is in the tree, the earlier it is processed.
It's easy to change the order of processing within its level, and you should select the component you need and drag it upper or lower in the hierarchy. Also, you may drag a component from one level to another. It's important to remember that in this case, a component will be dragged into and in the report template, too.
There is another common case when a component is moved off the page. Visually, a component will not be displayed on the page, but it can be found in the hierarchy. You should select a component, then either click the delete button to remove it from the template or change the values of position having opened the properties panel to return it to the scope.
The Report Tree panel, as well as other panels, contains the following controls: it is present in the search field of components by component name; it has the context menu with commands to collapse or expand all levels of the hierarchy, as well as commands to control the visibility of components and their events in the hierarchy.The Show Component command allows you to enable or disable the display of report components, having displayed only a list of events.
The Show Events command allows you to enable or disable the display of the component event list, if you need it.
Using all features of the Report Tree, you can easily edit complex structured reports, having saved time on searching for the necessary events and components.
Today, in this article, we will tell you about the expression calculation mode in a report. Actually, there can be only two – Interpretation and Compilation. These are common concepts; however, this article will be about their meaning within the Stimulsoft platform.
Report calculation mode
The expression processing mode is defined for each template separately. By default, when creating a new report in the Stimulsoft Designer, the Compilation mode is used for it. When creating a new dashboard, the Interpretation mode is used. Since this setting refers to a template, you can change the processing mode using the report template called the Calculation Mode. In turn, its value can be either Interpretation or Compilation. Please note that all our dashboards work in the Interpretation mode.
What mode should I choose?
The thing is that the Compilation mode is not supported for some platforms and accordingly our products, too. In this case, all expressions will be processed in the Interpretation mode. As a result, the following will happen - what worked locally, for example, will not work in the cloud. And it’s not about errors in a product, but about services and platform safety.
Conclusion. Before defining the report calculation mode as Compilation, you should be sure that the platform supports it. By default, when creating a new report in products, where the compilation is not supported, the calculation mode will be defined as interpretation. To process a report in interpretation, our engine uses its own interpreter.
Since our article is about the expression calculation mode and report processing, we should remind you that our designer allows you to see report code, which the compiler or interpreter will process. You should open the Code tab, which is hidden by default, to see the code. You can enable it from the context menu of the report template page header, having checked the box next to the Code parameter. Two important things - first of all, Professional skill level should be selected in the report designer. About skill levels, you can read a detailed article. Secondly, the Code tab contains a code of the entire report, not a certain report template page.
So, after you open the Code tab, you should check the box next to the Show auto-generated code parameter in the context menu of the code editor area. As a result, report code will be generated, which when creating will be processed by the translator.
Now, we will tell you how all of this refers to Stimulsoft. As far as you know, the compilation is a program translation written in a high-level source language into an equivalent program in a low-level language. Firstly, the code is analyzed, then it is translated into a low-level language and execution. When interpreting code analysis and its execution is carried out line by line. However, our engine uses its interpreter, but unfortunately, it can’t process expressions in events. So, event scripts in the interpretation mode will not work. However, there is always a solution, and you can read about it below.
When creating reports, you can use component events or report events. In other words, you can define an action that will trigger when a situation occurs. For example, before starting to render a report or when it is exported or if the number of rows in a report will be more than 10. Generally, we can write many articles about events in a report, and using events and scripts in them is limited only by your requirements for reports.
In our engine, an interpreter is used, which can’t process expressions in events at the moment. That’s why event scripts won’t work in the interpretation mode.
What does Blockly have to do with it
Not so long ago, we integrated Google Blockly into our products. This feature allows you to create event scripts using visual blocks. When an event occurs, a script is processed using our special library to analyze and calculate the expressions created using blocks. This way, the scripts created using Blockly will work in the interpretation and compilation mode. That’s why creating scripts using blocks is a solution when the report calculation mode is set as interpretation.
When creating a script using visual tools, the syntax of the programming language is not used. Processing this script is implemented separately for each platform. The script created using Blockly is a universal one, and it doesn't depend on a product where it is implemented. This is relevant when developing a report, for example, in Reports.Net and then its rendering in Reports.JS.
The main points in a nutshell
So, we have told you a little about the report calculation mode. In addition, we would like to repeat main points:
The calculation mode is defined using template properties and can be set as Compilation or Interpretation;
Not all products support the Compilation mode;
Expressions in scripts are not processed in the interpretation mode;
The scripts created using Blockly will work in the interpretation and compilation mode. Also, these scripts are not dependent on the platform or the programming language you use. In fact, they are a universal solution for all platforms.
Today, we temporarily omit the topic of reports and talk only about dashboards. Our report designer is a powerful tool for designing dashboards, which you can save, convert into a document, or make available via a link, using Stimulsoft Cloud after creation.
It's quite easy to share and publish a dashboard on social networks, for example, Twitter and Facebook, on our website or in an application.This time, we will talk about a more subtle thing for dashboard developers. But before we get to the point, we want to remind you of one important thing. A dashboard, when previewing it, can be stretched over the entire area of the viewer, stretched only in width with the aspect ratio intact or not stretched. The Content Alignment parameter value defines this behavior in dashboard settings. All components will change in sizes proportionally with any stretch option, too. And here lies the main point - you have created a great dashboard that looks perfectly on your large 4K monitor.We shared a link to the published dashboard with our partners, which they will open on a mobile device. The viewer will be stretched across the width and height of the device display, and the dashboard will be displayed in it. It is unlikely to cause delight, especially if more than 5 components are on the dashboard.But don't hurry to redo the dashboard trying to please everyone. A great solution is to add a bit of tuning to an existing template: a mobile version of the dashboard design. In other words, a particular version of the dashboard will be displayed on a mobile device.It's pretty easy to make. Create or open a dashboard in the designer. Go to the Page tab. You will find two buttons of the current dashboard design version control – Desktop or Mobile. You should select the mode for which you want to create a design version. Suppose that the Desktop version is already developed, and we are talking about adding a version for mobile devices accordingly, you should select the Mobile mode.
If your template does not contain the Mobile version, an empty dashboard and menu with dashboard components from the Desktop version will be displayed. The dashboard design version may include all components of the Desktop version or not include some of them.
What you can and can't do in the Mobile dashboard design version is the main thing.
You can add only some dashboard components, change their position and sizes. Enable or disable headers of these components. Define options for enabling the display of the mobile version of the design on your device (more information about that you can find below);
You can't add new components to your dashboard, having not added them to the Desktop version, override data, completely change component design settings such as style, etc.
The Mobile dashboard design version can display the current dashboard on mobile devices but not change it conceptually.
And now a crucial question - when exactly, when displayed in the viewer, will the mobile dashboard mode be enabled, and when will it be the desktop mode?
Everything is easy here – when creating the Mobile design, a dashboard contains the Device Width property. The value of this property is defined in pixels, and it is a boundary property. As soon as the device screen width, where the viewer is deployed, is less than a specified value, the Mobile version will be displayed. In all other cases – the Desktop version. You can define when to display the Mobile version of the dashboard design. To do that, you should change the width limit of the device. By default, the mobile version will be displayed at a width of up to 480 pixels. The mobile dashboard design version can be deleted, if you need it. To do that, you should use the Delete Mobile Surface command. Another important thing, design view – Desktop or Mobile, where the dashboard template was saved will be used during the next opening of this template in the report designer. So, don`t be afraid if suddenly you open a template and the Mobile design version is displayed. You should go to the Page tab, enable the Desktop and save changes if you need to use the Desktop mode by default.Thus, the dashboard template may contain two design versions, each of them will be used under certain conditions (it depends on the value of the Device width property). It allows you to create a universal dashboard, which can be viewed on various devices.A video with a detailed description of dashboard design creation for mobile devices.