With ReportBuilder Enterprise, you get everything included in ReportBuilder Professional, plus the RAP language, which allows developers and end users to code calculations and complex event handlers at run-time. RAP enables the entire report definition (data, calculations, and layout) to be stored outside of the application executable. (See What Is RAP?)
In the introduction to ReportBuilder, the reporting equation is described. The reporting equation divides reporting into four main activities:
In ReportBuilder Enterprise, the goal is to deliver a full-fledged reporting solution to end users. This goal is achieved by delivering visual, easy-to-use solutions in each of these four areas. This screen shot of the ReportBuilder Report Designer shows the ergonomic design of the user-interface.
Each of the four areas of reporting has a representative notebook tab containing a visual environment for the creation and configuration of components within that area. The results of each area then become inputs to the next area: data feeds into calculations, calculations feed into components within the report layout, and the report layout is rendered into a preview of the report. The implementation used by ReportBuilder Enterprise for each area of reporting is described below.
Within the work environment of the Data tab, end users can quickly create dataviews, which can then be used to supply data to reports. Dataviews are usually created via the Query Wizard or Query Designer. Both of these tools are visual; they also allow the end user to select the tables, fields, search criteria, and sort order necessary for the report. Behind the scenes, an SQL statement is generated and used to retrieve the data from the database. A screen shot of a completed dataview is shown below.
The solution described above is the standard behavior within the data workspace. However, the developer can customize this user-interface by doing one of three tasks:
1. Register a replacement query wizard or query designer.
2. Remove the query wizard or query designer.
3. Create new dataview template classes that can simplify the data selection process even further by establishing the relationship between the tables in the database and presenting an alternative user-interface (such as a single form that allows search/sort criteria to be entered).
The bottom line is that the Data area contains a turnkey solution that can be used out-of-the-box, but if customizations are needed, an architecture has been provided so that those customizations are possible.
The Calc workspace is used to manage the RAP code associated with the Report. The Calc workspace contains a tree view of the report, all the bands within the report, and all the objects within each band. When a band or component is selected, all the events for that component are shown in a list. The user can then select an event and code the event handler in the syntax-sensitive code editor at the bottom. The following screen shot shows an OnPrint event as coded for a Line component.
This screen shot shows the Calc workspace in its most feature-rich and complex configuration. Development work completed here can be passed on to end users so that they can modify it, locked down so that end users can only view it, hidden completely so that end users do not know it is there. The most scaled-down version of the Calc tab is provided by the dialog only interface, where no Calc tab exists at all, and a single syntax-sensitive code-editor dialog is accessible from the Calculations?menu option of the variable component. The user-interface and behind-the-scenes architecture has been made highly scalable in order to meet the various needs of developers.
The Design workspace contains the actual layout of the report. The user-interface is identical to the one presented to developers using ReportBuilder at Delphi design-time; in other words, it is full-featured and professional. The Office97 interface-style makes the Design workspace especially easy to learn for end users. A Report Wizard is available for creating reports quickly. You can customize this interface by replacing any of the dialogs it uses and by registering your own report wizards.
The Preview workspace contains the rendered report. The report can be printed to the printer or to various file formats from this workspace.