Creating the Report File
Creating the Report File is straightforward, and handled
through the following steps:
Right-click the Reports folder
in Solutions Explorer.
Select Add from the
context menu that appears.
Click Add New Item from
the cascading menu, as shown in Illustration 6.
The Add New Item dialog appears, as shown in Illustration
Click Report in the Add
New Item dialog.
Click the Open button at
the bottom of the Add New Item dialog.
The design environment
opens. We see the Data, Layout and Preview tabs appear.
Our report has opened in Data View, as shown in Illustration 8.
8: The Design Environment - Data View Tab (Compacted)
environment that we see is known as Report Designer. As is probably
obvious, this is a busy place. Report Designer's strengths are legion,
and include local report processing and report-rendering capabilities. This
means that, from one central workspace, we can define layout, position content
(with robust drag-and-drop functionality) and preview the end results of our
efforts, as easily as we can use Print Preview to see what a Microsoft
Word or Excel document will look like after printing.
feel a bit intimidated at first blush - I have often heard from clients that
some staff thought Crystal Reports (as an example) too much like "programming,"
when compared to other products such as Cognos Impromptu, which they thought
far friendlier. While coding can be accomplished here, it is not required. But
the capability to add functionality through coding, at the same point that
drag-and-drop report authoring can take place, and to do so within a rich,
controls-laden environment will likely lead more "standard" report
writers to enthusiastically become at least sometime-coders, when they begin to
see the power that they can assemble in this workspace. Moreover, the immense
power of working from the Report Designer interface will win over many
report authors with only a few report building experiences.
We will build
a simple tabular report, to begin the authoring portions of our series, returning
to do more complex reports in later articles. The idea now is to get a feel
for the general steps, and to see how easy it is to replicate anything you can
do with the current tools that are in place in your organization. (For that
matter, migrating existing reports is significantly easier than one might