News combit Dev Blog

Six Hints for Developer Presentations

Thursday, April 13, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

One of the nice parts of my job is getting around quite often. Through the years, I've held some hundred presentations. At developer conferences, user group meetings and our own roadshows (the next will happen this fall). I thought I'll share some hints and tools I've found valuable.

Tags: Hints, Live coding, Musings, Presentation, Visual Studio

combit's Visual Studio Love Story

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Today marks the launch of Microsoft Visual Studio 2017. We're also celebrating 15 years of .NET and 20 years of Visual Studio. It's been a long way! Actually, I had the honor to attend the VS Live in San Francisco when .NET was released.

Tags: .NET, List & Label 22, Visual Studio, VS2017

dsListLabel - Simplified Xbase++ Integration

Friday, February 24, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Years ago I started developing a class to simplify the integration of List & Label into Xbase++ which I used for all my client's apps. The range of functionality grew with every new task. By now it supports real data preview which is handled in a separate thread.

Tags: Addon, List & Label 22, Xbase++

Ready for Takeoff: Clarion Template for LL22

Friday, January 27, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

The Clarion community has been working with List & Label for many years now. Starting with the Solace templates, those were donated to the public domain in 2010. Since then, various contributors have been working on them.

Tags: Clarion, Delphi, Progress, Template, Xbase++

More Flexibility for Chart Layouts

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

First of all, on behalf of the whole combit team I'd like to wish you a happy belated new year. I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and start into 2017 with refueled energy. While we're busily working on version 23 already, I'd like to continue sharing some hidden gems in List & Label 22.

Tags: Charts, Designer, List & Label 22

Full GS1 Application Identifier Support

Thursday, December 1, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

GS1 defines a huge range of application identifiers that can be used to encode certain information in a barcode. Besides the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is usually the most important part, the production date, packaging component number, count of items and many more application identifiers (AIs) are defined.

Tags: barcode, Global Trade Item Number, GS1, List & Label 22

New Logging Application

Thursday, November 10, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

In the brand-new version 22 of List & Label, we introduce a new process to send and receive debug output. This has great advantages when integrating List & Label in existing logging landscapes. Internally, the UDP protocol is now used for sending debug messages. Logging services and web applications has been a royal pain before - it has just become a breeze.

Tags: Debugging, Debwin, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Reset Page Count for Group Header

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

While List & Label has a superior concept for printing mail merges, many other (usually band-type) reporting tools people got used to apply a different concept to print invoices and other mail merge typed projects. Usually in List & Label, you'd define the header data as variables and use text objects, images etc. to design your letter head.

Tags: List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Properties, Table

Introducing Long Term Support (Enterprise Edition)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

We have a release cycle of approximately one year per major version  - actually it's quite accurately so, we have released the past 10 versions late in October. Coincidentially, this happens to be around my birthday, but that's a different story. It's always a nice present anyway.

Tags: Enterprise Edition, Licensing, Long Term Support, Support

Mingling with the Progress Community @ EMEA PUG Challenge

Monday, October 10, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

From time to time it's great fun to stray off the beaten .NET path to venture into other developer's hemispheres. This time I paid a visit to the great crowd at the EMEA PUG Challenge in Noordwijk/Netherlands to dig into the Progress community.

Tags: C#, EMEA PUG Challenge, musings, OpenEdge, Progress

Introducing Enterprise Level Logging Support

Thursday, October 6, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

For you as an enterprise application developer, logging is probably one of the essential features of your app. It enables you to trace and see what the user did just before the app went blank, and see if the typical user answer "I haven't done anything" proves right or wrong. To support you in this task, logging was built into List & Label from the very start.

Tags: .NET, Apache Chainsaw, Debugging, Enterprise Logging, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Breakthrough for Web/Distributed Applications

Friday, September 30, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Until version 22, there was a number of restrictions for web based projects. As the Web Designer is a single project file designer, all the glory that comes with multiple project files like project templates, table of contents and index and – most prominently – drilldown support were not available as they couldn't be designed.

Tags: Cloud, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Repository, Web Designer

Animations for the Preview

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Quite a while ago we introduced a full screen presentation mode which allows you a quick presentation of your reports. Why fire up PowerPoint (or any other presentation software) when you just need to present a couple of charts and tables? This way, your presentations are lightweight and always up to date, as you or your end-users can re-create them just in time.

Tags: Animation, Charts, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, preview

Delivered: Sorting Charts by Value

Monday, September 12, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

This is one of those "whaaaaat, that didn't work before?" features. No, it didn't. Until version 22, you were only able to sort bar charts with string labels ascending or descending. Alphabetically. Numerics and dates are treated differently, but for strings you only could get A-Z, Z-A or unordered, i.e. in the order the database supplies the data.

Tags: Charts, Feature Preview, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Top-N

The Treemap Chart Experience

Thursday, September 8, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

With Treemap charts you can visualize hierarchical data by using nested rectangles in the upcoming version 22 of our List & Label reporting tool. The area of each rectangle is proportional to its value, while the sum of all rectangle areas fills up the whole chart area.

Tags: Charts, drilldown, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Treemap

WPF Wrapper for PreviewControl

Thursday, September 1, 2016 | 2 comment(s)

Version 22 of List & Label will introduce a new WPF wrapper control for the existing WinForms PreviewControl. While it uses a Windows­Forms­Host at the core, the wrapper is a drag & drop replacement for the existing WPF preview control which will continue to be supported.

Tags: C#, databinding, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, WPF

Crosstabs: One More Thing

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

As we swiftly proceed through the development process of List & Label 22, we found a slot to add one more feature to the crosstab. Starting in version 19, we've added a lot of interactivity to the preview, including a feature called "Expandable Regions" for the report container. It allows to expand sub tables by just a click. For LL22, we've now extended this feature to the crosstab.

Tags: Crosstabs, drilldown, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Select Your Property Favorites

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

This is one of the major UI visible changes in LL22. All objects have their distinct set of properties which is displayed in the property window. Depending on the complexity and flexibility of the object, the list of properties is quite long where most of the time you probably don't need 50% of them. Enter the new Property Favorites.

Tags: Feature Preview, LL 22 Feature Preview, Properties, User Interface

Intelligent Franking with Internetmarke

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

The process of getting snail mail ready for posting can be rather tiresome. You print your letters or invoices, enjoying the fine work you have done designing them in List & Label, and then? Even in our modern times you lick the stamp, assuming you have the right one at hand, and stick it on the envelope. How very old-school is that? With the upcoming version 22 of List & Label this process can be elegantly automated through Internetmarke, a service to pay for postage online by German courier company Deutsche Post AG.

Tags: .NET, franking, Internetmarke, LL 22 Feature Preview

Service Pack Continues Report Server Success Story

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Service Pack 3.001 adds a host of new features to combit Report Server 3. Some improvements in our enterprise reporting solution were inspired by the productive feedback from our customers. Thanks for letting us know about your ideas! Here’s a short list of the latest features and improvements.

Tags: Aggregations, Feature Request, OpenEdge, Progress, Report Server 3, Share Point, SQL

Building a Better Databinding Ecosystem for Delphi

Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

The IDataProvider interface for .NET has enabled many features that are not available for all of the other platforms so far. Most importantly, it brings multiple report containers and nested tables. For C++, we've included a sample in LL21. This is sadly missing in Delphi. In addition, the current Delphi data-binding engine still works against the BDE, a technology that has been deprecated quite a while ago by Embarcadero.

Tags: .NET, data provider, databinding, Delphi, developer community, FireDAC

Support for New Barcode Symbologies

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label's barcode support is surely one of the best and most complete among the reporting tools on the market. We've been steadily working on further extending on that strength, and List & Label 22 will come with even more supported symbologies and barcode designer functions.

Tags: Barcode, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, New Barcode Symbologies

How Your Data Will Never Look Awkward Again

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Sorry for the gonzo title of this blog post – I just couldn't resist. I actually started working for combit in 1998 which is a full 18 years ago. And this is the feature I was asked for the most. No kidding. From the early days, way before we had the report container, people wanted this one thing – keep groups together. The reasoning is simple, if you have rather short groups but a huge number of them, you don't want page breaks within one group but rather get a page wrap before the group header and then the whole group on the next page. Totally simple, totally understandable, totally impossible so far.

Tags: Groups, Keep Groups Together, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Query Assistant and Filtering in Report Server 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Our combit devblog is always in motion. This time, Alexander Horak, Head of Development combit Report Server, takes the opportunity to present one of the great features of our awarded self service reporting solution. In his post he puts the focus on a new way of data filtering, that has been introduced with the release of version 3 a few weeks ago. 

Tags: Filtering, Query Assistant, Report Server, Report Server 3

Introducing Radar Charts as New Chart Type

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

We'll introduce a brand new popular chart type that has been missing in List & Label until version 22: radar charts. Also known as "spider charts", "web charts" or "polar charts", they are a cool way to visualize ratios between different categories across multiple rows. It can answer questions like "which values are most similar, i.e. do we see clusters of values" and helps to find outliers at a glance.

Tags: Charts, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Radar Charts

Top-N and "Others" for Crosstabs

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

And while we're at it, let's disclose the last new feature for LL22's crosstab. You were able to design Top-N reports with the crosstab before. The way it works, you choose the required sorting for your group cells, e.g. the category name in the sample of the last post. You're then able to choose the sort order for the items (alphabetically, based on the result value, based on the displayed value).

Tags: Crosstabs, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Top-N

Lightning-fast Ad-hoc Design with Report Server 3

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

With combit Report Server 3, you now also have the ad-hoc Designer in addition to the design features from previous versions. Ad-hoc Design wizards enable you to create lists and diagrams (charts) quickly and easily. This combination equips the reliable and powerful Report Server with a quick and streamlined interface that is perfect for generating simple reports. The interface of the new wizards has also been optimized for devices that support touch-screen technology, which allows it to be easily operated on tablet devices as well.

Tags: Ad-hoc Designer, Report Server 3, RS3

Automatic Fill-Up for Crosstabs

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

To continue the quest for the perfect crosstab, welcome to part three of this blog post series. After visiting multiple result cells and cross-column references, today let's look at another cool new feature in the LL22 crosstab – Auto-Fill. This comes in handy whenever there is few data. Think of a yearly statistic where you don't have results for each quarter. Printing something like Q1…Q2…Q4 looks awkward and unprofessional. In LL22 we have the solution to this.

Tags: Automatic Fill-Up, Crosstabs, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Cross-Row and Column References for Crosstabs

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

From the latest blog post you could already tell that the crosstab is one of our focus areas for version 22. Besides multiple result cells we decided to pay a visit to the crosstab functions as well. In version 21 these functions can already be used to reference the values of sum cells, column and row labels etc. By extending the functions slightly, striking new features become available.

Tags: Column References, Cross-Row, Crosstabs, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview

Enabling Multiple Result Cells for Crosstabs

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

As this was one of the most frequent requested features in our feedback portal and we hadn't visited the crosstab's features for a couple of versions, this feature was an easy pick. A crosstab is aggregating values and groups them by two or even more dimensions. Until version 22, there was exactly one aggregation possible, e.g. you could have either the number of orders or the revenue sum per customer and year, not both. In LL22, there is no limit anymore.

Tags: Crosstabs, List & Label 22, LL 22 Feature Preview, Result Cells

New OpenEdge Data Provider for List & Label 21

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

This time we feature a guest post from our partner and developer colleague Thomas Wurl. About two years ago, Thomas developed a free data provider for Progress OpenEdge available for all List & Label customers. While this provider was adopted successfully by many Progress users, it suffered some restrictions. So Thomas decided to restart from scratch and came up with an incredibly fast and powerful new solution. Here's his story. 

Tags: Data Provider, List & Label 21, OpenEdge, Progress

Enhanced Performance for Treeviews

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label makes extensive use of the windows tree view control. Since version 21, we even support multi selection and Drag & Drop from the Variables/Fields Window. While the tree control works very nicely for a reasonable number of items, things change considerably once we're talking of hundreds of thousands of entries.

Tags: List & Label 21, Service Pack, Treeview Performance

News from the Report Server Dev Department

Thursday, January 21, 2016 | 0 comment(s)

Despite its tender age, our self-service reporting solution combit Report Server has already garnered no small amount of attention, as evidenced by the Big Data Rising Star award it received from the Experton Group last year. We are currently working on the new version...

Tags: Report Server 3, Report Server Feature Preview, RS3

What Our ALM Toolchain Looks Like

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 | 2 comment(s)

I'd like to take the time after the release of LL21 to give you a short tour of what our ALM tool chain looks like. You probably have the same needs and challenges in your everyday jobs that we have. It was a process of trial and error until we arrived at our current configuration. While we are happy with it for the time being, it's always good to keep an eye on new stuff – so this is the current state of development as of 01/2016 :-).

Tags: ALM, ALM toolchain, State of Development

No words, just fun!

Monday, December 21, 2015 | 1 comment(s)

This is a goody. Try out for yourself and have fun!

Tags: christmas, fun, goody

REST API for combit Report Server

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

In our very first blogpost we announced to share updates about the ongoing development of all our products. Until now we put an emphasis on the development of our reporting tool List & Label. But now the time has come to open that focus and give insights on other product news right out of our dev department. That’s why we proudly present our first blogpost on our BI solution combit Report Server:

Tags: combit Report Server, Report Server, REST API, Windows App

Introducing C++ Support for Multiple Report Containers

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

During our Roadshow this fall, the question I was asked the most was "why do you support certain features only for .NET". Most notably, multiple report containers (since LL20) and nested tables (since LL21) were only available for .NET databinding. The reason for this is the necessity to support a special and – until now – undocumented COM interface for passing the data to List & Label. We decided to leave this interface undocumented in version 20 in order to be free to apply changes without breaking customer code. We had to make sure the interface was ripe. Now we are and here we go.

Tags: C++, C++ sample, List & Label, Nested Tables, Report Container

The Challenging Road to Release

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 | 2 comment(s)

We're quickly approaching the final release of List & Label 21. As you surely know from your own practice, release times are hard times ;-). You are moving constantly between madness and excitement. To visualize the long and challenging road we're about to finish, we created the following infographic.

Tags: List & Label 21, Road to Release

Further Finetuning in the Designer

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 | 6 comment(s)

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.

Tags: Designer, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

Enhanced PDF Export

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

The PDF export in List & Label 21 supports Type3 fonts as embedding option. Unicode and symbol characters are stored as Glyphs in this embedding mode. This way, these fonts are supported optimally – you no longer need to download font packages for your favorite PDF viewer.

Tags: Designer, Export, Feature Preview, List & Label 21, PDF, ZUGFeRD

Scripting Support in Functions

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 | 2 comment(s)

List & Label has a very powerful formula language. Most manipulations one could think of are possible out of the box or can be realized by using a user defined designer function. However, the latter requires you as a developer to think of the need before deploying your application. In LL21, we'll introduce a new feature that allows to use C# or scripting host languages like VBScript directly in the function wizard.

Tags: C#, Designer, Feature Preview, List & Label 21, Scripting Support

AutoRecover for the Designer

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

In List & Label 21 the Designer optionally saves the current project to a backup location. If the Designer is not closed properly (i.e. system crash, unexpected shutdown or even power outage) you can easily restore the last state and don't lose hours but rather minutes of work.

Tags: AutoRecover, Designer, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

New and Overhauled Data Providers

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

The ObjectDataProvider is one of the key providers we ship with LL. It binds to generic lists just as well as to EntityFramework or other Object Relational Mapper data. It is also the final fallback for all datasources that cannot be handled by one of the other providers. In LL21, the provider got a couple of new features for the .NET 4.0 assembly.

Tags: Data Providers, Feature Preview, List & Label 21, ObjectDataProvider

Consolidating Syntax Errors in One Tool Window

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

One of the most frequently requested features via our feedback portal and a feature we were thinking of for quite a while. Before, if a project contained syntax errors (e.g. it had typos or you renamed a field in the data source) you got a massive dialog containing the source of the error, however no easy way to fix it from there. Additionally, this dialog popped up for each and every error so most of you will probably just have clicked the "OK for all" button and started to investigate manually. This was a time consuming, tedious task which often ended up in opening and closing the designer until all errors were fixed.

Tags: Error Window, Feature Preview, List & Label 21, Syntax Errors

Thumbnail View for the HTML5 Viewer

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

HTML5 is one of our reference formats for web reporting applications. We also use it as the premier format in our combit Report Server. In LL20, we had first introduced this viewer. In LL21, it will get a brand new thumbnail bar, making navigation even easier.

Tags: Feature Preview, HTML5 Viewer, List & Label 21, Thumbnail View

New Web Designer

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

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.

Tags: Feature Preview, List & Label 21, RemoteDataProvider, Web Designer

Enhanced Drag & Drop Experience

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

For years, our drag & drop support consisted of "well, you can drag one field into an existing table". If you needed multiple fields – repeat. Creating a table via Drag & Drop? No way. Creating a sub table? Don't even think of it. All this will change thoroughly with LL21.

Tags: Drag & Drop, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

End User Friendly Conditional Formatting

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

This is one of the major new features of LL21. Conditional Formatting is needed whenever you want to change properties depending on data, e.g. something like "red font if value is negative" or "highlight the background if value is greater than threshold". This allows to read a report at a glance and quickly get an overview of what areas of your data require a second look.

Tags: Designer, Feature Preview, Formatting, List & Label 21

Lightning Fast Aggregations for .NET

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

Aggregation within reports is a hot topic. While it is very convenient to just aggregate what you see it can become very expensive if huge amounts of data are involved. Think of sales statistics for your products – you don't really want to iterate through all order details in order to just get the total sales for your article. This is a task databases are optimized for.

Tags: .NET, Aggregations, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

Support for Nested Tables

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | 3 comment(s)

One of the few requests that kept coming in was "Can we have the detail data in a column of the master table". While there are a couple of workarounds in version 20 that do similar things, the actual request could not be fulfilled this way. Plus, the workarounds were not as discoverable as we would have loved them to be as they included negative indents for line definitions and educated guesses on the number of detail records that are likely to be printed.This is going to change in version 21 – List & Label is going to support a new field type "table" which enables you to nest tables.

Tags: Feature Preview, List & Label 21, Nested Tables, Table Column

Enhanced Color Picker

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

The existing color picker e.g. for the background color property of a field contained a very long list of predefined color values and – at the very bottom – a "Formula…" entry, which was neither very discoverable nor usable. And choosing "Formula…" left it completely to your end users to figure our how to use the RGB, HSL, RainbowColor, HeatmapColor or one of the other color functions. In LL21, we'll introduce a completely new color picker UI.

Tags: Color Picker, Feature Preview, List & Label 21, User Interface

Major Updates to Included Projects and the Objects Window

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

Including other projects is a very nice way to reuse objects and ensure a stringent corporate design. I've blogged about this possibility just recently. However, if you heavily use this feature, your object list can quickly become cluttered with lots of objects from includes. You cannot select them, you cannot change their properties – the only useful thing is their context menu which brings you quickly to the included project. This led to a request in our feedback portal to be able to hide these included objects. And yes, List & Label 21 will enable you to do just that.

Tags: Corporate Design, Designer, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

Improved Handling of Default Fonts

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | 3 comment(s)

In version 20, we started to blog about upcoming features in List & Label. I'd like to stick to this new tradition and share new features in version 21 to give you an idea of what we're working on. As always, comments are appreciated very much. If you have new ideas to share, you'll also want to visit our feedback portal. See our April blogpost if you haven't worked with the portal before. So, without any further ado I'll share the first new feature with you – an improved default font handling.

Tags: Corporate Identity, Designer, Feature Preview, List & Label 21

Designer Preview Support for Xbase++

Friday, April 24, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

Today, I spoke at the Xbase Forum Meeting in Potsdam, Germany. Besides presenting what our reporting tool can do I had the joy and honor to share my presentation with Tom Liehr, a respected member of the Xbase++ community. Together we've created a modified sample for Xbase++ that shows how to support the designer preview in Xbase++. Or – better said – Tom did most of the hard work while I stood flabbergasted at the sideline. I was only able to give some hints that helped crossing the finish line just in time which was Easter Monday, 10:30 pm.

Tags: Designer, Designer Preview, List & Label, Xbase++

Vote Now – We Love User Innovation

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

User innovation has always been a driving force for our product development. Many of the features we've added in the past were inspired by requests from the community. Often, multiple requests for similar features helped us to find the actual need behind the feature ideas. Most prominently, the report container was born this way – from the need to be able to report relational data structures.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, Feature Request, Feedback Portal, List & Label

Two Ways to Reuse Existing Objects In New Projects

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

The idea for this post was triggered by a comment by MikeH on the last blog post. He requested the feature to have a kind of meta object containing different other objects in a pre-specified manner in order to speed things up for endusers. There are already a couple of features that cover at least similar use cases and I thought I'd highlight them.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

New Features in Release 20.002

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 | 2 comment(s)

While we are constantly working on LL21, we started to merge selected features to the 20-branch. This provides us with the agility to quickly react to frequent demands and offer a much shorter time to market for our subscription customers.

Tags: .NET, Google Spreadsheet, List & Label, pdf

Accessing any .NET Data Source with the Data Providers

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | 0 comment(s)

The data provider concept has been around for a couple of years now. We steadily work on extending the list of available data providers and can bind to most any data source by now. Besides the well-known ones, there are also some meta providers that deserve some spotlight.

Tags: .NET, Data Provider, List & Label, SQL

A First Peek at List & Label 21

Monday, December 8, 2014 | 4 comment(s)

As we're starting internal discussions and meetings and the first LL21 sprint is getting in shape I wanted to share this photograph, the result of a two hour meeting between the two guys that are sometimes called "Mr. List & Mr. Label" internally - our Senior Architect Christian Kaiser and myself.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

Three Often Overlooked Features

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

We always try to implement new features as visible as possible. However, sometimes features are less discoverable or self explaining than we'd hope for – we're steadily working on that. Here are three very useful features you might have overlooked so far.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

New and Extended Designer Objects

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

In version 20 you see the debut of a brand new Designer object: the checkbox. This object is used to indicate if a boolean value (a condition) is met or not. Think of visualizing the availability of a product, the selected menu in a hotel etc. And the OLE object just got a major overhaul.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

How We Release A New Version

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label 20 is quickly hitting the final milestones. I've been blogging about the new features since spring. This time, however, I'd like to share some insights into what happens as we shift near RTM.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

HTML5 Viewer - A Giant Leap for Web Developers

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

In the last version we introduced a number of interactive features like report parameters, expandable regions, and dynamic sortings. Until version 20, using these in a web application was not possible as they result in a partial rerendering of the report or – for drilldown reports – trigger a brand new report. As the existing viewers didn't have a communication channel to a server control, this rerendering was impossible. 
Enter the new HTML5 viewer. This viewer is designed to work in almost any web browser. It is optimized for mobile devices and supports interactivity. It requires ASP.NET on the server side but can use any operating system on the client.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

Great new Features for .NET Developers

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

The improvement of our support for .NET has been a major focus in our feature planning process since the initial .NET beta release in early 2001. As more and more IDE vendors adopt CLR support for their languages and join the .NET community, .NET has become ever more important. Thus, version 20 will feature a wide range of new .NET features that make List & Label even more versatile when using it with CLR languages.

Tags: .NET, Feature Focus, List & Label

Four Steps We Took to Improve Our Barcode Printing Quality

Monday, August 4, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

Through a cooperation with REA, a renown vendor of barcode verifiers, we were able to grade and improve our barcodes according to the usual ISO standards. Amongst other optimizations we completely changed the rendering algorithm to optionally match the bars exactly to the device pixels, eliminating all rounding effects this way. Typically, at least a grade of "B" is required by barcode consuments. This should now be easily achievable on typical hardware.

Tags: alignment, barcode, Feature Focus, List & Label

Office 2013 Style for the Ribbon UI

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

The Ribbon interface has been adapted to Redmond's latest UI style. It now supports the Office 2013 flat icon style and thus blends nicely with modern applications. For those who really need it, we still ship the "old" interface in a sepatate resource file that can be used instead of the default.

Tags: 2013, List & Label, office, ribbon

Export to Excel, Word and XHTML from the Preview Window

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

This has been a customer request that kept coming back over and over again – “please add the possibility to export to more formats from the preview window”. The typical workflow obviously is to check the result in the preview first. If all is well then an export to the final format is triggered. In List & Label 20 we now have added the possibility to export to the formats that were requested most – Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and XHTML. These formats were added to the already existing PDF, Text and Image formats.

Tags: excel, export, List & Label, preview, word, xhtml

Supporting to Paste Formattings Between Objects

Monday, June 16, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

From the perspective of an Office User, this was one of the major missing features in List & Label so far. In Microsoft Excel, for example, you often find yourself styling cells to resemble a headline. The workflow here is to just style one cell and then use the format painter tool for the other cells. This saves a remarkable amount of time. In List & Label, you could have used a multi selection of fields, however if you forgot (or – behold – didn't know) this feature, you'd find yourself repeating the same formatting steps again and again. And if you wanted to transfer the format of a whole object – e.g. a chart with all the fonts, colors, background settings etc. – there was no workaround to a huge lot of work. Enter the format painter tool...

Tags: format painter tool, formatting, List & Label, paste

Supporting Multiple Report Containers

Friday, May 23, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

Since we introduced the report container in List & Label 11, the one remaining feature request that kept coming in was “could we have multiple report containers, please”. Many cases can be covered by using a multi-columnar layout for the report container as a workaround or combining distances between container elements and changes in alignment to get the visual impression of separated tables. But these workarounds are not very discoverable and they are just that – workarounds.
In version 20 we’ll introduce a brand new databinding mode for the .NET component which will replace the old one seamlessly. You won’t need to apply any code changes to profit from this new mode. However, under the hood things will be working quite different then.

Tags: feature focus, List & Label, report container, report structure, side by side report

Combining the Report Structure and Object Tool Windows

Monday, May 5, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

The two tool windows you'll probably use the most in the report designer of our List & Label reporting tool are the "Objects" window and the "Report Structure" window. The "Objects" window enables you to quickly select an object in order to change its properties and contents. The "Report Structure" window is used to configure the specific contents of a report container object, i.e. tables and subtables, charts, crosstabs and Gantt charts.

Tags: feature focus, List & Label, report structure, tool window

Filtering at Database Level

Friday, April 11, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

Using report parameters has become very popular since we've introduced them in version 19. A typical use case that will become even more seminal with version 20 of our reporting tool is using parameters to filter data (see last feature focus). This is something we've usually put on the "don't" list as databases can filter data much faster than we can. In the past, all records had to be passed to the reporting engine which then decided if a record should be used or not. A vast overhead for a task databases are usually optimized for. In version 20, we'll be introducing a new feature that allows List & Label filter expressions to be translated to native database filters, therefore hugely increasing performance (in principle, depending on the data this is "infinitely" faster).

Tags: database, feature focus, filter, List & Label

Drilldown via Report Parameters

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

Building on the sound foundation of report parameters introduced in version 19 of our List & Label reporting tool, we've extended the way drilldown reports can be used in the report designer.
In addition to the drilldown via relations which we already had in the product for a couple of versions, you can now trigger a sub report that uses report parameters and set the parameter values depending on the item that you just clicked in the preview. This terrific feature works for pie/donut and bar charts, shapefile charts, table fields and crosstab contents. Of course, a drilldown report can contain another drilldown, too.
As with all the feature focus articles, keep in mind that this feature is not yet available in the current version, it will be part of List & Label 20.

Tags: drilldown, feature focus, List & Label, report parameters

What's this blog for?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | 0 comment(s)

In the past, we haven’t been communicating our development progress until the next major version of our development component was almost finished and polished. This is now going to change! Our motivation for this blog is, to show you early what to expect from the next version of our List & Label reporting tool.

Tags: feature focus, List & Label, musings

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What’s this blog for?
A place to share updates about the ongoing development of our products. General musings on the software industry included.
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