This was a huge issue, that has been bugging us for years. While – generally speaking – List & Label’s level of printer control is unmatched by any competitor I know of, we always required a printer driver in order to execute this control. On the desktop, that’s all fine and well, as Microsoft conveniently provides the XPS Document Writer and – in more recent versions of Windows OS – the Microsoft PDF Writer. Those are always present and accessible. However, on the web and in the cloud, it’s a different story.
In our last blog post, we already announced it: this time, we’d like to address further challenges we encountered during our development of the Web Report Designer. Take advantage from what we learned, and maybe even use some bits for your own projects.
This is another often overlooked feature – you can add scripts to your projects and use your favorite language to do so. Since a couple of versions already, List & Label supports C# Scripts. However, the performance was less than perfect, making it a good choice for complex calculations but not so much for using it on a line-to-line base. In List & Label 26, we were able to push the performance quite remarkably – now using scripts is perfectly feasible.
The rapidly increasing number of web apps has led to a great demand for web-based reporting solutions. We followed this trend with List & Label, and moved the Designer to the web – from version 27 on. One huge benefit, brought by the new Designer: way less effort, because only one front- and back-end needs to be developed and subsequently maintained. Naturally, the development of the new Web Report Designer presented us with technical challenges which we’d like to share with you – maybe knowing about our own learning curve is going to help you with your own projects, too.
PDF is by far the most important export format and one of the targets virtually every user is actually working with. Over the years, we've employed a number of different SDKs and versions of these SDKs in order to write decent PDF files. While the results were excellent already for "normal" cases, there were a couple of restrictions in more advanced scenarios. This has changed in version 26.
Thanks to all participants for taking the time to answer our questions. One thing that I can say straight away: your time was well invested. Your feedback has given us many good ideas and suggestions on how we can further improve List & Label and which new features and technologies are important to you. We do not want to withhold the results, so here are your answers from the survey.
The Report Server saw the light of day in 2014. At that time, version 1.0 was implemented using the ASP.NET MVC framework and was based on List & Label 19. But as the number of users increased in subsequent versions, so did the requirements and ideas for new features. Some of the customer requests were difficult to realize with the underlying technology. Many developers have certainly been faced with the same question: What should we do next?