Reports come in various sizes and shapes: simple top to down tables, nested master/sub tables and charts and graphs. They are needed for various purposes too, for instance to include with other documents, making presentations, distribution to various people and so on. A good reporting platform would come with support for all these elements and Active Reports for .NET is one such example.
Active Reports for .NET 3.0 integrates with both Visual Studio .NET 2003 and 2005 with code-behind support for VB.NET and C#. VB.NET developers can script the reports to make them more interactive for the end user. All reports can be previewed as you code them, with design-time data binding to all kinds of data sources. Developers can use the familiar UI of Visual Studio.NET and build dynamic and interactive reports quickly.
Reports can be created either at design time or during run time. For instance, an application may have several reports that have a fixed set of parameters on which they operate, like generating periodic performance reports of various departments. These can be created at design time by the developer with fixed format and input parameters. Still other reports would be generated on the fly and they even let the end-user pick from a set of available options before generating a report. Both these methods of generating reports are available with Active Reports.
Active Reports for .NET bundles features to let you add a Table of Contents as well as Bookmarks and Thumbnails for your reports. To do this, all you need to do is use the Report Viewer control on your Windows Form designer. These features (TOC, etc) can be setup from the Report Viewer control's properties, either in the designer or in code. The Report Viewer also has a Web Viewer analog that allows you to view reports over a Web browser.
Add the Data Dynamics Chart Control (bundled with the Active Reports package and a wizard takes over to configure the parameters for your chart be it a bar, pie, doughnut, funnel or a dozen other kinds. Then data bindings are setup and the chart can be previewed at design time itself. Reports generated by your applications using Active Reports can be exported in a variety of formats, namely Excel, PDF, RTF, HTML, TIFF and plain text. For each of this, the component provides controls that can be dragged on to the designer form (or accessed using just code) and used directly. Deployment can be made using XCopy.
|The Active Reports control can connect to different backends for data, create rich reports with graphs and tables, and display them across different pages|
Bottom Line: A quick and strong alternative for reporting needs in .NET applications.
Sujay V Sarma