Reporting — Early Access Preview (v21.2)

Reporting Team Blog
13 September 2021

v21.2 is a couple of months away and we wanted to document some of the features we expect to ship in November.

Before we describe these features, a quick reminder: If you are an active Universal or DXperience subscriber and want to test upcoming v21.2 features before our official release, you can download our first Early Access Preview (EAP) build via the DevExpress Download Manager.

Early Access and CTP builds are provided solely for early testing purposes and are not ready for production use. This build can be installed side by side with other major versions of DevExpress products. Please backup your project and other important data before installing Early Access and CTP builds

This EAP may not include all features/products we expect to ship in our v21.2 release cycle. As its name implies, the EAP offers an early preview of what we expect to ship in two months.

Visual Studio Report Designer for .NET 5 Apps - Release Candidate

We stabilized and enhanced our market-first Visual Studio-integrated Report Designer in this development cycle and are looking forward to your feedback on our most recent update. v21.2 related enhancements include:

  • Improved startup time - at least 2x faster than v21.1.
  • Improved custom type discovery (from your assemblies) for both ObjectDataSource and EFDataSource.
  • With v21.2, the Report Designer is enabled by default for *.vsrepx files.
  • You can now open standard XtraReport class files (*.cs) with our updated Visual Studio Report Designer. We now offer a unified design time experience for both .NET Framework and .NET (.NET Core) apps.
Visual Studio Report Designer for .NET 5 Apps - Class Files

The following video demonstrates how our new .NET 5 Visual Studio Report Designer loads a report.

If you’ve yet to explore the capabilities of our Visual Studio Report Designer in .NET 5/.NET 6, refer to the following release article for additional info: Reporting - Visual Studio Integrated Report Designer for .NET Apps (CTP, v21.1).

Documentation

Report Designer Enhancements

Visual Studio Report Designer WinForms WPF Web

Expressions

We extended our Report Designer (for all supported platforms) and improved its user experience when defining expression bindings:

  • A new button (with a formula-f symbol) is now displayed next to the selected control. This button allows you to invoke the Expression Editor instantly.

Report Designer - New Expression Button

  • The new Expression Editor view allows you to set up expression bindings for various report control properties directly within its dialog window. A glowing formula (f) symbol indicates that a property has an expression assigned:
Report Designer - Expression Editor - New View
  • The Properties panel within Report Designers now highlights “bindable” properties with a formula (f symbol indicates that a property is bound to data:

Report Designer - Properties Panel - Expression Indicator

We also replicated this user experience within the Visual Studio Report Designer properties panel:

Visual Studio Report Designer - Expression Indicator

New Toolbox

All Report Designers (minus our integrated Visual Studio Report Designer) now feature a new two-column toolbox that displays our entire report control set simultaneously. You can expand/collapse the toolbox when using the desktop (WinForms and WPF) version of DevExpress Reports:

Report Designer - New Toolbox

WinForms Report Viewer - DirectX Support

WinForms

Our WinForms Document Viewer control now supports DirectX rendering for both user interface elements and the report document. The benefits of DirectX rendering are numerous and include:

  • Up to 80% faster document rendering
  • Smoother scrolling experience
  • Enhanced responsiveness in multi-page mode
  • Enhanced glyph rendering quality thanks to DirectWrite

Enable the viewer's UseDirectXPaint property to switch from the default GDI+ rendering engine to DirectX. Use the EnableSmoothScrolling property to change the scrolling mode.

The following videos help demonstrate the power of DirectX rendering:

  • Rendering speed – As you can see, DirectX is far faster than GDI
  • Smoother scrolling – Like the previous example, DirectX is more efficient than GDI
  • Localization - Translation Strings CSV Import/Export

    Visual Studio Report Designer WinForms WPF

    You are now able to export report localization strings to a CSV file and use it to translate report elements with the help of third-party services. In addition, our Localization Editor can import translations made within a CSV file and apply it to a report.

    Report Designer - Localization Editor

    Documentation

    PDF Content - Embed PDFs into Report Pages

    Visual Studio Report Designer WinForms WPF Web

    The XRPdfContent report control exposes a new GenerateOwnPages property – a property that manages operation mode. This control can act like a subreport when the property is disabled. With the help of a control placeholder, you can limit the area to scale and embed PDF files directly into your report. Refer to the following diagram for more information on our implementation:


    This new mode is useful when:

    • You need to embed PDF file content into a report with common headers/footers (headers/footers will be printed on PDF file pages as well).
    • You need to print specific content (pictures, bar codes, page numbers, a report watermark) over the contents of your PDF file.
    • You need to design a pre-printed form and use a PDF file as a watermark.
    • You need to create a report document with an A4 paper kind and include a PDF file with different page dimensions.

    Documentation

    If you’ve yet to explore the capabilities of the XRPdfContent report control, refer to the following article for more information: Reporting - Merge PDF Documents into Your Report (v20.1).

    Parameters - Print Display Values

    The Expression Editor now features a new GetDisplayText function. This function allows you to print selected display values for a lookup parameter:

    Documentation


    SQL and Data Federation Data Sources - Right Outer Join and Full Outer Join

    Both our SQL and Data Federation Data Source now support Right Outer and Full Outer join types:

    When you create a report in code, you can use our Reporting API to construct queries with these new join types. Refer to the following help topics for code samples:

    Web Report Designer Enhancements

    ASP.NET Web Forms ASP.NET MVC ASP.NET Core Blazor Server

    Updated User Interface

    The Web Report Designer's Updated UI

    Please review the following article for information related to UI enhancements introduced in this EAP: Reporting — Updated Web Report Designer UI (Coming Soon in v21.2).

    To explore this new UI, be sure to check out the following online demo: Web Report Designer - Online Demo.

    Cross-Tab

    Our Web Report Designer ships with a new Cross-Tab report control. We’ve also included a Cross-Tab report wizard to help you create cross-tab reports with ease.

    Web Report Designer - Cross-Tab

    Documentation

    Report Design Analyzer

    The Report Design Analyzer panel (designed to help you isolate, diagnose, and address common report design/layout-related issues) has been integrated into the DevExpress Web Report Designer (v21.2).

    Web Report Designer - Report Design Analyzer

    If you’ve yet to explore the capabilities of the Report Design Analyzer, refer to the following article: Reporting — Avoid Mistakes in Report Creation with The Help of Report Design Analyzer (v21.1).

    Documentation

    Breaking Changes in v21.2

    Upcoming Features

    Though the following features are not included in our first EAP, we expect to include them in our first beta or as part of our official release.

    Parameters Panel Customization API

    WinForms WPF

    Our new customization API will allow you to generate a custom parameter panel layout based on report parameters. This new API will address the following usage scenarios:

    • Customizing parameter editors
    • Changing parameter description labels location
    • Parameter editors grouping
    • Conditional visibility of parameter editors

    If time permits, we'll also offer a user interface to help construct the parameter panel layout.

    Report Designer - Updated Manage Queries Dialog

    WinForms WPF

    We will combine multiple dialog windows (designed to manage different queries) into a single window. The updated manage queries dialog will feature a queries list along with a dynamic region that will update content based upon selections in the list. As a result, the UI will differ for a standard SQL query, a custom query, or a stored procedure.

    This enhancement will also allow you to clone queries.

    Native Report Viewer for Blazor Server

    Blazor Server

    We will extend the capabilities of our Blazor Report Viewer with the following features:

    • Export Options Panel
    • Search Panel
    • Document Map Panel
    • Ability to resize panels
    • MultiPage View Mode

    Your Feedback Counts

    As always, we welcome your feedback. Please post your comments below or create a new support ticket if you've beta tested our Early Access Preview.

Free DevExpress Products – Get Your Copy Today

The following free DevExpress product offers remain available. Should you have any questions about the free offers below, please submit a ticket via the DevExpress Support Center at your convenience. We’ll be happy to follow-up.
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