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A New .NET Reporting Way

, 29 Sep 2007
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Looking for a free and simple way to design and add reports to your .NET application? Take a look at MyNeoReport library.
Sample Image - myneoreport_designer.jpg

Introduction

About three years ago, I started developing in .NET using a famous free editor and I needed to add some reports to my applications. Since I like to see what I'm going to print, just not to waste half a forest in paper only to adjust that text font, I started developing a little reporting library and a designer that uses it. By the way, my initial work was included into that famous free .NET editor, but I abandoned that project because I saw that it was badly designed (this is the doom of most first drafts), so it became a brand new project: MyNeoReport engine and designer, that let me design reports in a WYSIWYG way and, if I want, I now have total control on each the report objects from my application.

Background

Today, if you are an hobbyist you have also some Microsoft® free solutions to develop your application, but these entry level IDEs still don't have built-in reporting tools (and I also dislike the one included in professional ones). There isn't a free (good and working) solution out there that lets you manage printing in an easy way in managed code, so I decided to begin MyNeoReport and now, after three years, it is quite mature (ok, there are no hyper-advanced features, but boy... it is simple to use, well-organized and free).

Using the Code

In this article, I'll describe some code that you can use for managing the report content in your application. Note that you can access the report at runtime or you can define the report in the designer. Note that the full designer covers almost all the capabilities of the engine, and if you want, you can write your own designer (maybe better than mine).

The preview of the sample report is shown below:

Preview

The engine is composed of two libraries:

  1. NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.dll - The core of all
  2. NeoDataType.LiveCodeEngine.dll - The engine for scripting feature

These libraries must be distributed with your application, but you need to reference only NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.dll, since the other is just for support. The main namespace you need to include is NeoDataType.MyNeoReport:

// c#
using NeoDataType.MyNeoReport;

' vb.net
Imports NeoDataType.MyNeoReport

Here you can find all the report entity classes. The most important ones are:

  1. Report, of course, the most important
  2. Page, that defines the page characteristics
  3. Section, that identifies a section (report and page headers and footers, details and groups)
  4. Label, Image, Shape, DataLabel, Dataimage, that are the base items that you can print

Report identifies the report document, it allows you to load and save a report to disk, it gives you some information such as how many pages the report will print, but, more important, it exposes the Page property.

Page describes the page size, orientation, measure unit, and, of course, the sections to be printed.

Section is a horizontal band that contains the items to be printed. Default sections are ReportHeader, PageHeader, Details, PageFooter, ReporFooter, but MyNeoReport also supports grouping sections.

In summary, the structure of a report is as follows:

 Report
  +- Page
      +- Sections
          +-Items

Create a New Report and Add Items

// c#
private void CreateANewReportSample()
{
    // Create a new report
    Report report = new Report();
    
    // Now you can set Page properties
    Page page = report.Page;
    
    // Set the page width to 5x8 inches
    page.Units = ScaleMode.Inches;
    page.Width = 5;
    page.Height = 8;
    
    // Add some items to print
    // - add a label that indicates the page number
    Label label = page.ReportHeader.AddLabel();
    
    // This label uses special functions as described here:
    // http://www.devbox4.net/?q=node/34
    label.Text = "Page {@PageNumber} of {@PageCount}";

    // - add an ellipse shape rotated by 20 degrees
    // This is another way to create and add an item
    Shape shape = new Shape();
    shape.ShapeType = ShapeType.Ellipse;
    shape.Angle = 20;
    page.ReportHeader.AddItem(shape);
    
    // If you use the PageControl to add designer capability
    // to your application, you need to assign the Page object
    // to it
    pageControl.SetPage(report.Page);
}

Define the Details Data Source

// c#
private void SetDetailsDataSource()
{
    // Default datasource is OleDbDataSource that lets you connect to OleDb providers.
    // You can choose to pass data to a datasource changing it to a TableDataSource
    // with section.ChangeDatasourceType(DataSourceType.UseDataTable)
    OleDbDataSource dataSource = (OleDbDataSource)report.Page.Details.DataSource;
    dataSource.ConnectionString = myConnectionString;
    
    // Add a label and a data label bounded to the data
    // to the details section
    // - add a label that indicate the record number
    Label label = page.ReportHeader.AddLabel();
    
    // This label uses special functions as described here:
    // http://www.devbox4.net/?q=node/34
    label.Text = "Product {@RecordNumber} of {@RecordCount}";

    // - add a data label that indicates product name
    DataLabel datalabel = page.Details.AddDataLabel();
    // Move the data label to the right
    datalabel.X = label.X + label.Width;
    datalabel.DataField = "ProductName";
    
    // - add a data label that indicates product price
    datalabel2 = page.Details.AddDataLabel();
    // Move the data label to the right
    datalabel2.X = datalabel.X + datalabel.Width;
    datalabel2.DataField = "UnitPrice";
    // Set the text in case the data is NULL
    datalabel2.NullText = "Price undefined";
    // Set the format of the data, according to MSDN 
    // for the format strings
    datalabel2.Format = "#,###.00";
    
    // You can call the standard connection string wizard
    // using dataSource.ShowConnectionStringWizard();

}

Show the Preview and Print

// c#
private void ShowThePreview()
{
    // Ok, now that you set all the report properties and items
    // you can preview and print it!
    
    // First of all, you need to choose the destination printer.
    // This is needed also for the preview, so it can be appropriate.
    report.ShowPrinterDialog();

    // Show the preview in a separate window.
    // Note that you can use the NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.PreviewControl
    // if you want a preview in your form.
    report.ShowPreview();
    
    // You can also print the report directly with
    // report.Print();
    
}

Points of Interest

I like MyNeoReport because its classes let you create a report (data bounded or not) without a designer, but just via your code because the classes give you total control over each aspect of the report and its components.

If you think that the built in items (Label, Image, Shape, DataLabel, DataImage) are too few, you must know that MyNeoReport is extensible: you can write your own item by just inheriting from NeoDataType.MyNeoReport.ItemBase. You can look at the Designer code that is supplied to check all the abilities of the Report classes.

This is just a little introduction to the power of MyNeoReport library. For more information, documentation, support and newer releases, you can visit the site that supports me.

History

The MyNeoReport 1.4 is a big update, with some new enhancements, optimizations and bug fixes. This is described in the file upgradeinfo.txt contained in the download package.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Fabio Zanetta
Web Developer
Italy Italy
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionInsert Page No. in Footer PinmemberMember 107007561-Apr-14 5:09 
QuestionWhere were you man? PinmemberMember 1032848616-Feb-14 1:22 
Question.net for mono Pinmembereujobi1-Feb-14 5:39 
QuestionNeoDataType ?? PinmemberWrangly3-Apr-13 4:42 
QuestionNot able to use LoadFrom function PinmemberMihir J30-Mar-13 2:39 
GeneralRe: Not able to use LoadFrom function PinmemberMember 1014336225-Oct-13 10:24 
Questionpagecontrol Pinmemberoujea26-Jan-13 13:45 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberkelvin.kong3-Sep-12 20:36 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembermanoj kumar choubey5-Mar-12 1:59 
QuestionPrinting Dialog Range Problem PinmemberMr.Jocker26-Feb-12 21:22 
Hello, there is a problem when specifying the Start Page and End Page for the in the report Printing Dialog when the report is multi-pages. The problem is the start page doesn't work, the printing always start from the report first page. Does anyone else face this problem?
Regards:
============--------
Mr.Jocker
--------============

AnswerRe: Printing Dialog Range Problem Pinmembersweet022018-Jul-12 20:00 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberSamir Fatah18-Jan-12 18:55 
GeneralWhere to place the files PinmemberSimpleGuyMu4-Jan-11 20:31 
GeneralRe: Where to place the files PinmemberBkins20-Jan-11 11:01 
NewsWebsite archive found at http://web.archive.org/web/20071014181939/www.devbox4.net/?q=myneoreport PinmemberVijayakumar .Y21-Jul-10 0:02 
GeneralDocumentation PinmemberArtieBall7-Mar-10 11:51 
GeneralRe: Documentation Pinmemberzain78626-Apr-10 2:55 
GeneralRe: Documentation Pinmembertiocan6-May-10 5:05 
QuestionWill someone continue this project? Pinmemberelmoe010125-Aug-09 22:56 
AnswerRe: Will someone continue this project? PinmemberBkins20-Jan-11 11:16 
GeneralRe: Will someone continue this project? PinmemberMember 228177110-Oct-11 9:57 
GeneralRe: Will someone continue this project? PinmemberTilmann7-Nov-11 0:15 
GeneralRe: Will someone continue this project? PinmemberMember 228177110-Nov-11 10:15 
GeneralPassing a parameter Pinmemberdocbiz5-Oct-08 10:38 
GeneralPrint PinmemberMember 31133768-Sep-08 7:45 

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