Reporting: Improved Data Access (Coming soon in v14.1)

While I’m here at TechEd I thought I would show you some of the great features we are adding in our 14.1 series of releases. In this release we have seriously put a lot of legwork into making the process of creating reports much simpler from the perspective of data access. We have taken a cue from the work we have done with dashboards and brought it over into our reporting suite.

Data Wizard

Creating a new XtraReport will display the following window inside of Visual Studio (in the End User Designer we omit the Inherited Report option):

XtraReport Wizard

This new approach makes it easy to connect to your database directly or through EF5/EF6.
Now one can directly specify a connection string (that can be saved as part of the project).

XtraReports Data Options

This wizard can connect to 14 or so different data providers without any effort really. I think the most interesting bit is that we completely co-opted the dashboard query builder to allow a good range of flexibility for shaping your data.

XtraReports Query Designer

That’s right! You can completely dispense with creating a dataset (or any database object).

Relationships

As a reporting platform we take great pride in having our toolset conform to the data you provide. In this particular instance a single query does not provide the adequate infrastructure to do true master-detail reports (not the fake flattened ones). In this case we’ve provided the ability to add queries directly onto the data source:

Add Query Command

Adding a query really just fires up the query builder and creates an additional table from which you can bind. The key goodness lies in the ability to *relate* the queries to create a true master-detail relationship.

Manage Query Relations

Once this is done the Field List reflects the changes as you would expect.

Report Field List

These relationships are also understood when creating Detail Report bands:

Adding Detail Band with Relationship

In Closing

These features will greatly speed up the process of creating powerful reports in a matter of minutes. Another good bit of news: these features are also included in the WinForms End User Designer. This allows you to offload the entire process of creating reports to those who are most interested and willing.

There are a number of other things in the works so stay tuned.

As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

Seth Juarez
Email: sethj@devexpress.com
Twitter: @SethJuarez

16 comment(s)
Alexander Krakhotko (Xafari team)

anable for XPO and XAF?

13 May, 2014
Prem Shah 5

what about stored procedure ?

13 May, 2014
Prem Shah 5

Is there any option to hide Person Table in end user designer Because all the column of person table is available in companyperson

i think Drag and Drop functionlity will better for creating relation like crystal report

13 May, 2014
Prem Shah 5

is  Add query available in End-user designer or is it only possible through VS

13 May, 2014
Prem Shah 5

Is Query Designer Support Joins

13 May, 2014
Nate Laff

Wow! I was literally just looking for a way to bind to a calculated collection the other day. Looks like this should take care of it... in about 3 years once its implemented into XAF ;)

13 May, 2014
Marco G.

What about a "real" WPF End User Report Designer?

13 May, 2014
Rogerio Furtado

Windows and Asp.Net Designers?

13 May, 2014
Michael Curry.

This is a great step forward! Thank you!

Dare I ask, if you use this to change the query in the end user designer, does the field list refresh automatically?

13 May, 2014
Brian Maxim

The start of a more professional report designer - looking forward to trying it out.

14 May, 2014
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Alexander, Nate: These are features of the XtraReports Suite, which means that they will be available in XAF as well, especially with the recent introduction of the ReportsV2 module. Nothing prevents you from designing XtraReports in Visual Studio and showing these reports in an XAF application as well. If you want my opinion on this new feature, Query Designer in particular, I do not think that many XAF users find this helpful, because XAF is built around ORM concept where you are far from raw SQL queries. In any event, I would love to learn more on the scenarios in which you plan to use this particular feature in XAF, because I maybe missing something. Thanks.

14 May, 2014
Nate Laff

Dennis, I found myself in a spot the other day where I wanted to add a detail band to an XAF report in which there was no XPCollection defined in the code. I wanted a way to pull that collection in based on the criteria I specified.

14 May, 2014
Dennis (DevExpress Support)

@Nate: In my opinion, sub reports is a quite good solution for your particular case, though I agree that it would require a bit more time than being able to use a designer like the one shown here.

15 May, 2014
John Leed

Can a report be bound to a simple IEnumerable, provided by something like a view model? I've been able to coerce XtraReports into this in v13 but it's finicky.

23 May, 2014
Seth Juarez (DevExpress)

Thanks for the awesome questions!

1. Yes, stored procedures are supported

2. XAF - People, XAF is a*framework* - you can do whatever you want with it. I always get the question "Can I use it in XAF?" - the answer is always yes.

3. This is available in both our Visual Studio Designers *and* our Winforms EUD

4. Changing the query in both the EUD or the VS designer will indeed update the field list.

5. The query designer does indeed support joins to both flatten the data as well as relate multiple queries (so a two-fer).

6. Regarding what one can do to limit access to the specified tables - this is really a sql server permissions thing. Alternatively you can forego the wizard, add your own DataSources button, and put whatever you want in that specific dialog.

Thanks again for your feedback! We are pretty excited about these and future changes!

-Seth

23 May, 2014
Robert Salomons

Totally different question, but can we use the Query Designer separately also? We could use it in other parts of our software also ;-)

2 June, 2014

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