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.
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.
Often reports consist of similar, repetitive sections like a number of charts or crosstabs just filtered for different categories but otherwise identical. Or tables and subtables that have a preselected set of columns you want to have wherever this table is used. List & Label 26 now helps you and your users to get rid of the tedious task to maintain such reports and apply changes to all instances of objects. You can add real subreports that contain exactly the required items and maintain those in one single place.
Complex data is usually processed visually in dashboards in order to be able to capture trends, outliers or up-to-date data at a glance. The design of dashboards depends on important details. These details make the difference between whether the information is interesting for the target group and whether conclusions can be drawn from it or not. For example, a bar chart is better to capture than to work your way through hundreds of table entries. Dashboards are often used incorrectly and are hopelessly overloaded with numerous different charts and gauges, such as traffic lights, speedometers and hardly readable tables.
While I've been blogging about the major and most-UI-visible features during the last few months, of course there are gazillions of minor and less visible changes underneath the hood in LL24. This blog post sums up some more reasons to be cheerful.
Continuing our quest for an improvement of the Designer's refactoring features, it's obvious that finding text alone is only halfway to quickly and easily refactoring your projects to accomodate them to changed field names, table names or other identifier changes. So we decided to take this project one step further and offer a powerful replace feature in LL24.
One of the most wanted features from our feature portal will finally be available in List & Label 24: a powerful find feature for the Designer.
As with every release, we've added a lot of finetuning to the Designer and its objects. We haven't been able to cover each of the new features in the past LL21 blogpost feature marathon – there are just too many gems to uncover. So here are some of these new Designer features you don't want to miss that make working with LL smoother than ever before.