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We continue to announce new features of the new version of Stimulsoft 2022.1, which will be available very soon. Today we will tell you about new data sources for the Stimulsoft Reports.Blazor product.
You used to be able to use only file sources: Excel, XML, JSON, CSV, DBase, when connecting data in the report designer. This introduced significant restrictions in the process of developing reports.

In the new version of Reports.Blazor product (included in the subscription product Reports.Web), you will be able to connect all available types of data for Server components:
  • SQL (MS SQL, MySQL, Oracle etc.);
  • NoSQL (MongoDB);
  • Azure (Blob and Table Storage, Azure SQL, Cosmos DB);
  • Google (Firebird, Google Analytics, BigQuery, Google Sheet);
  • online services (data.world, QuickBooks);
  • REST (OData).
To use these data sources you should add an adapter to your project, a list of supported version is on our website. The ability to connect various types of data sources substantially expends the functionality both of our report generator and your applications, which were written for Blazor.
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In today's note, we will tell you about an important improvement of our products, which will be available, starting from version 2022.1. We are talking about a significant reduction of code size due to the JS scripts optimization.
The Optimization includes both packaged and regular files. First of all, let's deal with pack files: we've changed the archiver's algorithm from Deflate to Brotli here. The total amount of code reduction was about 20 percent.

In regular files where using a packer is impractical, the code was rewritten to reduce. We also optimized the minification procedure: in fact, we developed our methods for the minifier, which functions before using the UglifyJS compression tool. As a result, this tool receives an already minified code, which increases the efficiency of compression.
Code optimization results in a more rapid loading without increasing the time of running both in minified and pack-scripts versions. The code optimization affected Stimulsoft products, which use JavaScript – Reports.JS, Dashboards.JS, Reports.PHP, and Dashboards.PHP.
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On November 8, 2021, Microsoft company officially announced the .NET 6 release. This is a popular platform for software development.

Unfortunately, this led to some difficulties in the work of software products. The thing is that Microsoft company decided that the System.Drawing.Common library is compatible only with Windows. This was done due to the inability to fix errors in third-party operating systems - macOS and Linux.

The problem of incompatibility of the System.Drawing.Common library affected users of Stimulsoft products, too. As a temporary solution for the project using the .NET 6.0, we offer you to install the previous version 5.0.3 of the System.Drawing.Common library, which is backward compatible with the .NET 6.0 and, as before, it supports Linux and macOS systems.

The second solution to the problem is to set the special option System.Drawing.EnableUnixSupport to true in the runtimeconfig.json file, as described in the Microsoft documentation:
{
   "runtimeOptions": {
      "configProperties": {
         "System.Drawing.EnableUnixSupport": true
      }
   }
}

Right now, we at Stimulsoft are revising our products, the main task of which is to avoid dependence on the System.Drawing.Common library and, thus, to make the Stimulsoft report and dashboard engines completely cross-platform.
In the new article, we are telling you about a topside innovation of the Stimulsoft Reports and Dashboards 2021.4 – implementing the Blockly tool for creating event scripts in a report. Principles of work and integration of the tool, basic capabilities, and examples for your understanding.

A bit of history

In 2012 Google released a new visual programming language which was called Blockly. The tool is applied to create programs and scripts without typing some text or symbols. In other words, development is not carried out with the help of manual coding but by using connecting logical blocks. In Blockly, you can connect ready-made blocks in such a way to get a full-fledged script where you can make various changes and edits. Visually, the process looks like a puzzle collection. Take a look how it looks like:

Blockly Google Editor
Blockly is technically implemented in JavaScript and freely distributed with a source code under the Apache 2.0 license.

Blockly in Stimulsoft products

Now, let's figure out how this tool is used in the report designer. After Blockly was implemented in the 2021.4 version, our product could make changes, creating scripts without writing a code.Previously, an event script from a code was created in the platform programming language. For example, for the .NET Framework, it is C# (VB.Net), and for JS components, it is JavaScript. Therefore, a report with event scripts written in C # did not work in the JS report generator. Blockly tool allows you to create universal scripts of events in a report. Thus, a report with Blockly scripts will work on all platforms.As an example, let's take a report and add an event script to it. See the image below how it looks in the designer:

Designer
Let's create a script of component style replacement when report designing. After that, change the component style when exporting the report. Go to the Properties panel, open the Events tab. Since we will change style when report designing, the script should be created in the Begin Render event.

Begin Render Event
To call the event editor, you should click the Browse button of the Begin Render event.Note! The event editor mode can be changed in the Options window, which you may find in the File menu.After, the Blockly editor will be opened, where an event script is created:

Blockly Editor - Begin Render
According to this script, a new style will be defined for each text component, which is Header. To do that, you should use the Component Style property, component name, which style should be changed, and style name - «Header3Blue». Also, you should redefine the style of even rows of the Data band.

Go to the Preview tab to check the result of these changes.

Report
The color of data header components was changed, and the color of even rows in the data list was changed, too.

Now, let's change the style of headers when exporting a report. To do that, you should go to the Properties panel again and open the Events tab (don`t forget to select the report template area). To execute any script before converting the report to a document, you should use the Exporting event.

Exporting EventNote! When rendering, the necessary number of component copies is created. In our sample, three copies from the text component with the TextAddress name will be created when processing.To replace the style of all component copies in a rendered report, you should use loops and local variables. Let's refer to the copies of components in a rendered report by component names. Then let's define the "Header3Red" style for all these copies.

Blockly Editor - Exporting
After you create a script, you should go to the Preview tab and export your report, for example, to a PDF document.

Report
At the beginning of the export process, a new style will be assigned to the data headers. Here's a live example to see how changing the style of components works when exporting a report. Follow the link and export, for instance, to PDF.


We hope that this article was helpful for you, and now you will be able to use the Blockly tool when working with reports. To better understand the functioning of this tool in our products, we prepared a playlist where you will find various examples of using Blockly. We will constantly replenish the collection of videos. Subscribe to our channel not to miss any video.


If you have any questions, contact us – we will be glad to assist you.
Hello everybody! Unfortunately, summer is over, but a wonderful fall is coming. The season is time when we get started to work with new strengths and set the most ambitious goals for ourselves. To quickly and efficiently achieve goals in management, marketing, manufacturing and other spheres, you need high-quality and reliable software for data visualization and analytics. We are developing reporting tools and components to work with data and today we will tell you about creating reports, and specifically about how to do this work efficiently and quickly.
Creating a report with a large number of data is quite a long process. That`s why the Stimulsoft report designer contains special tools, which are used to make this work much easier. But first things first.

Ways of report creation

Firstly, let's figure out how we can create reports. There are three basic ways:
  • Manual design. This means adding, changing components, data connection, and manual design of elements.
  • Using code. Everything is clear here - all report parameters are specified with a programming code.
  • Report design using embedded tools. This is what we will tell you about in more detail.

Wizard

First, we will tell you about the main special tool – The Wizard. It is used, particularly, to develop simple and Master Detail-lists. To create a report with a simple list, you should follow the step-by-step instruction, which looks like this:
  • Connect data;
  • Selection columns;
  • Place data columns in the order you need;
  • Sort, filter, and group data.

If needed, you may design your report - select a theme, apply a style, etc. To design a Master-Detail list, you should connect a data source with a relation, select several sources, and define relations.

In any case, after you create any report, you can edit it – for example add or remove some component, create and apply a style to it, add conditions, filters and much more.

Wizards of special reports

Also, the Stimulsoft report designer contains wizards to create definite custom reports, for example, invoices, business invoices, purchase orders, orders, and much more. In comparison with the Wizard, which was described before, these assistants are template customization.

When choosing them, you can go in two ways:
  • open a template in the designer;
  • customize it, not only connect data but define the attributes of your company and select parameters of a report culture.

You should know that these assistants contain three examples of translation strings - German, English, and Russian. You can find more detailed information about translation strings in this article.

Besides, you can find wizards in our report designer, for example, with a label or a chart. They are hidden in the File menu, but you should type the request you need (chart or label) in the search line to display them.

You can find more detailed information about work with wizards on our YouTube channel following this link.

Online storage

Another variant that can be used to reduce the time spent on report creation is online storage. You should select a report in the storage, open it and reconnect your data.

Online Storage
In conclusion, let's consider another exciting capability that allows you to create a list instantly. This capability is actual when you select the manual design mode. You should just drag a data source into the page, then define a component for data in a report in the opened window: the Table or the Data band. In addition, you can select data columns and report style, add the Header and the Footer bands.

Data on Band
We hope this article was helpful for you, and now you can use the assistants and create reports within the shortest time. If you have any questions, contact us – we will help you solve your problem.
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