Making-of: Web Report Designer in Development Part I

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.

Add Your Custom Objects and Functions to the Web Designer

Extensibility is a first class citizen in the List & Label universe. You can add your own functions and objects to the Designer, enabling complex calculations within your code or custom objects. However, there was one important link missing so far – all this code just runs on the desktop. If your application runs on a server and you're using the Web Designer you're hosed – until version 24.

New Web Designer

Until version 21, we used browser specific plug-ins or ActiveX controls in order to display the Designer right in the browser. However, browser vendors are more and more restrictive and begin to ban plugins from their browsers altogether. Thus, it was time for a new technology.