News combit Dev Blog

Making-of: Web Report Designer in Development Part I

Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

The rapidly increasing number of web apps has led to a great demand for web-based reporting solutions. We followed this trend with List & Label, and moved the Designer to the web – from version 27 on. One huge benefit, brought by the new Designer: way less effort, because only one front- and back-end needs to be developed and subsequently maintained. Naturally, the development of the new Web Report Designer presented us with technical challenges which we’d like to share with you – maybe knowing about our own learning curve is going to help you with your own projects, too.

Vastly Improved PDF Export

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

PDF is by far the most important export format and one of the targets virtually every user is actually working with. Over the years, we've employed a number of different SDKs and versions of these SDKs in order to write decent PDF files. While the results were excellent already for "normal" cases, there were a couple of restrictions in more advanced scenarios. This has changed in version 26.

New Service Pack 26.002 for List & Label and the Report Server

Monday, April 26, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

The second Service Pack for List & Label 26 has been released and contains many new features and improvements. We have listed them all for you in this blogpost. The individual entries were taken directly from the English Readme.

Results of the List & Label Survey 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

Thanks to all participants for taking the time to answer our questions. One thing that I can say straight away: your time was well invested. Your feedback has given us many good ideas and suggestions on how we can further improve List & Label and which new features and technologies are important to you. We do not want to withhold the results, so here are your answers from the survey.

Porting to .NET Core: Report Server on New Technology Basis

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

The Report Server saw the light of day in 2014. At that time, version 1.0 was implemented using the ASP.NET MVC framework and was based on List & Label 19. But as the number of users increased in subsequent versions, so did the requirements and ideas for new features. Some of the customer requests were difficult to realize with the underlying technology. Many developers have certainly been faced with the same question: What should we do next?


Supporting Multi-Page, Poster or Scaled Print

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

This is a feature many, yet not all printer drivers offer out-of-the-box. As we kept seeing requests to support this directly – here we go. List & Label 26 enables a thorough support for multi-page printing. 

Service Pack 26.001 for List & Label and the Report Server

Monday, February 1, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

The first Service Pack for List & Label 26 has been released. What are the new features and improvements? In this blog post we give you an overview. Each entry was taken directly from the English Readme.

Miscellaneous Treats in List & Label 26

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | 0 comment(s)

As with every version, we have included a number of minor bells and whistles into the latest version. The most notable ones are:

Service Pack 25.004 for List & Label and the Report Server

Wednesday, December 16, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

This blog article covers all the new features and improvements in Service Pack 25.004. Each entry was taken directly from the English Readme.

VSLive! 2020 – The Future of .NET and the Value of Open Source

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

As a proud platinum sponsor, we just attended the all-virtual VSLive! VirtCon as an exhibitor. For me, it was actually a revisit, although my last VSLive! experience dates back some time ago. I've been to San Francisco in 2002 when .NET 1.0 was first launched by Bill Gates himself. At least the travel wasn't that exhausting this time :).

Enabling Individual Copies and Form Feeds for Labels

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

This has been another community suggestion from our Idea Place. Until version 26, you could only have one copy count for labels. This means that the same number of copies were printed for each and every label. In version 26 you can now adjust this individually, based on the data in your data source.

Finally – a Glance in the Crystal Ball

Monday, October 19, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

An often required feature for "this cannot be done" type of problems is looking into the future. Things like "don't print this group if it doesn't contain record xy" or "print a reference to the page number of an item that's printed way later". Before List & Label 26, there was no simple solution to this and the magic had to be done in the application if possible at all. Starting with List & Label 26, we'll introduce a new feature that's aimed at solving exactly challenges like this.

How We Release a New Version

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label 26 is gearing towards RTM. We've been blogging about the progress and upcoming new features for some time now. This time, however, I'd like to share some insights into what happens as we shift near RTM.

What's New for .NET?

Monday, September 21, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

As with every new version, there's always a lot more "under the hood" that's being added than we're able to document and reveal here in detail. This post sums up a couple of new features and changes for our .NET support in version 26.

Combine Different Projects into One Print Job

Thursday, August 20, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

This has been another FAQ without a really good answer – how can I get a report with completely different parts like a cover sheet, a table of contents, some tabular reports, some charts and images, then a text block and so on? 

New Service Pack 25.003 for List & Label and the Report Server

Monday, August 10, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

The new List & Label Service Pack 25.003 brings support for the new RAD Studio 10.4 and Windows 10 2004. What else is new? We have all new features and improvements for you at a glance. Each entry was taken directly from the English Readme.

Powerful, Reusable Sub-Reports for Your Reports

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 | 2 comment(s)

Often reports consist of similar, repetitive sections like a number of charts or crosstabs just filtered for different categories but otherwise identical. Or tables and subtables that have a preselected set of columns you want to have wherever this table is used. List & Label 26 now helps you and your users to get rid of the tedious task to maintain such reports and apply changes to all instances of objects. You can add real subreports that contain exactly the required items and maintain those in one single place.

List & Label 26 Preview: New Drag & Drop Features for the Table

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

After improving the crosstab's Drag & Drop capabilities in version 24, it was time to overhaul the table's D&D support as well. The last major change here dates back to 2015 – so without any further ado here's what will be added in version 26.

Java Native Interface (JNI) for List & Label available on GitHub

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

We love Java! List & Label itself has a native C++ API. This API can also be called directly from Java applications via a Java Native Interface Wrapper, which has already been part of the product for ten versions. Over the years, we have implemented many suggestions from the community, for example we have improved the callback interface of the JNI component. Now we are going one step further – do you want to help us to improve the JNI wrapper, too?

New Service Pack 25.002 for List & Label and the Report Server

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

The Service Pack 25.002 has some new features and various improvements for you. We give you an overview of what's new and what has improved.

Interactive Reports with List & Label

Monday, April 27, 2020 | 2 comment(s)

Today, modern reports must be designed for more than just one purpose. In addition, "all" data should be contained as simply as possible – but presented in a clear and structured way. With List & Label such multifunctional reports can be easily realized. Interactive elements allow a single report to cover several scenarios, while selection options further enhance the report. This makes reports more comprehensive and informative and can be easily operated by the user.

Service Pack 25.001 for List & Label and Report Server

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

The Service Pack introduces new features, various improvements and corrections. The following is an overview of the features and improvements in the Service Pack.

Miscellaneous Treats in List & Label 25

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

As with every new version, we have updated List & Label in a lot of different places to make it smoother to use, more modern and accessible. So to continue with this tradition, here are some treats in List & Label 25 you might have overlooked so far.

Connecting Mattermost to Blizz Meetings (Corona Edition)

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

As we all are affected by the infamous COVID-19 outbreak I assume many of you are working from their home offices just as we do. We had the luck (aka foresight) to prepare this early on so we were up and running in less than a day. Nevertheless, once we started, there were a couple of challenges we were facing. I thought I'd share some nuggets here that might be useful to you.

List & Label with .NET Core 3.1 Support - Should You Migrate from .NET Framework Now?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

In May 2019, Microsoft announced that it will no longer develop the existing .NET Framework. So the current version 4.8 will be the last release. From now on, the company will concentrate on the further development of .NET Core. For developers, the question arises: Is the release of .NET Core 3.1 a good time to migrate from the .NET Framework? The good news is that you don't have to do without List & Label when migrating. 

Text Selection and Copy to Clipboard for the Preview

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 0 comment(s)

Creating preview files is all well and good. However, when you needed to access the texts within the preview for post processing, you had to resort to a text export, finding the relevant strings and copying them from there. In LL25, we added a powerful way to extract texts from a preview, directly from within the preview window.

New GraphQL Data Provider for List & Label

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

GraphQL was publicly released in 2015 and became quite popular since then. It's used by a number of big web applications like Instagram, Facebook and others.

Pushing the Limits with Custom Output for Rscript

Thursday, November 28, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

While for standard tasks the default mechanism for Rscript rendering of List & Label might be sufficient and convenient to automatically generate the png, jpeg or svg chart output from a Rscript on the fly, there might be situations where you simply desire more control.

Adding JSON to the Available Export Formats

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label has supported a number of text based export formats for quite a while. You can have XML, CSV and layout TXT export in different variants. That way, you can use List & Label as a convenient way to convert your data from one of the supported data sources to something you can use in other applications again. But one very popular format was missing so far that's been around for quite a while: Java Script Object Notation aka JSON.

Report Server 25: Features and Improvements Part 2

Thursday, October 31, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

As promised in our first blogpost about the innovations of Report Server 25, here comes the second part, including some very interesting features like Webhooks, connection string management or import/export of settings.

Supporting ZUGFeRD 2.0 in PDF Export

Monday, October 21, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Version 1.0 of the electronic invoice data format ZUGFeRD for the exchange of invoices has already been supported. For List & Label 25, the specification of version 2.0, officially released in March 2019, is now also supported.

Full Support for .NET Core 3.0

Thursday, September 26, 2019 | 2 comment(s)

.NET Standard and .NET Core have been around for a while now. We jumped the bandwagon early and offered beta support since LL23 while officially supporting the new framework since List & Label 24. With the advent of .NET Core 3.0, Microsoft announced that the .NET 4.x releases will be the last of their kind and .NET Core 3.0 – which will later simply be called .NET and will be named ".NET 5" in its next release – is the place to go. We're already there.

Report Server 25: Features and Improvements Part 1

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

The combit Report Server celebrates its 5th birthday. Right on time for the anniversary, the product again has some new features to offer. We focused especially on the wishes of our customers.

Keeping Groups of Table Lines Together

Thursday, August 22, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Continuing our quest to make the table object more versatile and powerful in LL25, we added an important tweak to the way table lines are kept together. Before, you just had the choice between keeping all lines together or none. That means, if the output for a single record stretched over a couple of pages and consisted of several line definitions, there was hardly ever a way to get the wrapping "right". 

Adding Signature Support to the Mail Module

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

This has been another great suggestion from our community at Idea Place. While the mail module is quite flexible and can send mails via SMTP, MAPI and XMAPI, and can either use the client's mail dialog or a custom, built in dialog, there was no way to append Outlook standard signatures to the sent mails so far. Microsoft has finally declined the request to add this feature to Outlook's MAPI implementation. So there was room for improvement.

Infinite Pages for HTML and XLS Export

Thursday, July 25, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

This is another of those "huh, you didn't have that before" features. As a WYSIWYG layout oriented reporting tool, the page has always been king for List & Label. While this is nice in many circumstances, when it comes to reporting for the web or XLS and printing is not planned at all, the result can be unwanted although looking beautiful.

Autosize for Column Widths

Thursday, July 11, 2019 | 2 comment(s)

Another step forward in our continuing quest to improve what's already great - our table object. Until LL25, you had to decide which widths you'd like to reserve for your respective columns. While this works out just nice most of the time, sometimes the result is less than perfect.

Defining Sub Tables via Filter Conditions

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

This is another great addition to the report container's feature set. Until LL25, related tables always needed to have an actual relation on the data source level in order to be usable as data source for sub items. If there was no relation, there was no way to insert the sub item, even if both tables in question had an ID field that would easily allow a custom linkage. In LL25, you can now have relations based on filter conditions.

Printing Columns Across-Down

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Multi-columnar layouts for tables are quite popular for newspaper or phone book style reports. Whenever you have just a few actual columns in the table it's handy to use the page's real estate by splitting it in multiple columns. This feature has been around for ages, however it was missing one important setting until LL25.

Create Functional Dashboards in Seven Easy Steps

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Complex data is usually processed visually in dashboards in order to be able to capture trends, outliers or up-to-date data at a glance. The design of dashboards depends on important details. These details make the difference between whether the information is interesting for the target group and whether conclusions can be drawn from it or not. For example, a bar chart is better to capture than to work your way through hundreds of table entries. Dashboards are often used incorrectly and are hopelessly overloaded with numerous different charts and gauges, such as traffic lights, speedometers and hardly readable tables.

How to Automatically Export Reports to Cloud Storage Services

Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

With List & Label you can export reports in different formats like PDF, Word, Excel and many more. The resulting reports can either be stored directly in the file system or - in .NET - in a stream, in order to transfer them manually into a database, a document management system or similar. Reports can also be automatically stored directly in so-called cloud storage services. The cloud storage providers for GoogleDrive, Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox are available in List & Label for .NET for this purpose.

New Connection to Microsoft Flow for the Report Server

Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Microsoft Flow allows you to define your own processes and workflows based on various triggers. More than 200 services such as Office 365, Facebook, WordPress etc. are available for this purpose, which can interact with each other in the workflows (called flows). These services offer actions as well as triggers, such as when a file is created (on Google Drive, DropBox or also on alternative services like e.g. box) or when a mail is received. Each flow has a trigger and may have multiple actions. This article describes how to connect combit Report Server to Microsoft Flow.

Brand New VCL Component for Delphi Developers

Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 2 comment(s)

It's been a while since the original announcement back in June 2016, but hey, we're finally there. Today marks the release of a brand new VCL component that uses the data provider interface and FireDAC at its core. 

New DataProvider for Redis

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | 0 comment(s)

Redis is an in-memory key-value database, so a typical NoSQL database. Since its initial release in 2009, it has become quite popular and now is, according to by far the most popular key-value database out there. With the new RedisDataProvider you can now use your Redis database within List & Label or Report Server.

Swagger and OpenAPI Support for Report Server REST API

Thursday, December 20, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

The OpenAPI Specification (OAS) defines a standard interface description for REST APIs, which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of a service without requiring access to source code, additional documentation, or inspection of network traffic.

New Apps for the combit Report Server

Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

This post belongs to a series of blog posts that are dedicated to the innovations of combit Report Server 24. At this point I would like to recommend the two posts "What's New in Report Server 24, Part 1" and "What's New in Report Server 24, Part 2".

Today we are talking about the new native iOS and Android apps for the combit Report Server, which allow you to access the reports on your Report Server directly from your smartphone or tablet. Previously, this was also possible directly via the Report Server web interface, but the new apps offer additional options and a device adapted and fast operation, as you would expect from a native app.

Miscellaneous Treats in LL24

Monday, November 19, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

While I've been blogging about the major and most-UI-visible features during the last few months, of course there are gazillions of minor and less visible changes underneath the hood in LL24. This blog post sums up some more reasons to be cheerful.

Customizing the Preview's Look & Feel

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

Since the introduction of our feature portal three years ago, it has become an important driver for our innovation. If you filter for "available in latest version", you'll find some fourty features we've built into the product on your request. So here comes a big "thank you" to everyone participating! Your help, effort and ideas are more than welcome anytime. Of course, we've implemented some of the top voted demands into LL24. One of them has been to enable the customization of the preview window's look and feel.

Add Your Custom Objects and Functions to the Web Designer

Friday, October 19, 2018 | 2 comment(s)

Extensibility is a first class citizen in the List & Label universe. You can add your own functions and objects to the Designer, enabling complex calculations within your code or custom objects. However, there was one important link missing so far - all this code just runs on the desktop. If your application runs on a server and you're using the Web Designer you're hosed - until version 24.

Use Rscript Visualizations for Your Reports

Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

While List & Label's charts offer a lot of visualization types and are extended almost every version, there are way too many visualization types to support them all. Thus, requests for new chart visualizations keep bubbling up in our feedback portal. On the other hand, Rscript is a well established language specialized for statistical computing and graphics that supports any visualization I can think of. So it absolutely makes sense to add Rscript output to the available chart visualization and include the best of both worlds - List & Label's versatility for report layout and data access and Rscript's deluge of visualization types. And that's just what we did for the Enterprise Edition of List & Label 24.

Vastly Improved Chart Rendering in the Browser

Friday, October 5, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

Over the years, we kept improving our chart engine with each version. We've added Donut, Radar and Treemap charts and offered new layout options. However, if your charts were to be rendered in the browser, the only available formats so far have been PNG or JPEG, leaving you with exactly two options: either have great quality and huge file sizes or a swift download and poor rendering quality. There was no option to combine both (and I'm not thinking "huge download and poor quality" here <g>). In LL24, this is going to change.

Creating Crosstabs via Drag & Drop

Friday, September 28, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

A crosstab does a great job in aggregating your data and helps to spot trends and outliers. We've put great effort in enhancing our crosstab support for the last few versions. However, although there's a nice wizard to get you started, usability testing showed that even creating simple crosstabs was still a challenging task for some users. That's something we hope to change with LL24.

Converting Crosstabs to Charts and Vice Versa in No Time

Friday, September 21, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

Crosstabs and charts have a lot in common. Often I find myself designing a crosstab for e.g. the sales per country. This works fine to get the absolute or even relative numbers. However, to get a visual impression of the fractions for a dashboard, I add a chart 99% of the time that shows just the same data as the crosstab.

Easily Replacing Texts and Identifiers in the Designer

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | 2 comment(s)

Continuing our quest for an improvement of the Designer's refactoring features, it's obvious that finding text alone is only halfway to quickly and easily refactoring your projects to accomodate them to changed field names, table names or other identifier changes. So we decided to take this project one step further and offer a powerful replace feature in LL24.

How to "Find" Things in the Designer

Thursday, September 6, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

One of the most wanted features from our feature portal will finally be available in List & Label 24: a powerful find feature for the Designer.

Extending "Expandable Regions" to Groups

Thursday, August 30, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

In Version 19, we introduced a new feature called "expandable regions". When activated on a top-level table, this will enable to dynamically collapse and expand the table's sub items in the preview and HTML5 viewer.

Export Files Directly From the Preview

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

So far, it hasn't been possible to export to all of our export formats from the preview window. The simple reason is that we're using the EMF file format internally while the exporters need completely different information that cannot be extracted from the EMF. Thus, we were only able to support image file formats and - of course - PDF, which is created from EMF vector information.

What's New in Report Server 24, Part 2

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

This is the second blog post covering the new features of combit Report Server version 24. I already introduced some new features in the Ad-hoc Designer.

How to Use List & Label .NET Directly in Java

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

With the help of Javonet, the List & Label .NET component can be easily integrated and used directly from Java – with the usual ease of use you are accustomed to from .NET. With this cooperation, Java customers have easy access e.g. to real data preview in the Designer, drilldown reporting and report parameters to name just a few of the interactive features.

Customer Wishes Implemented in the Ad-hoc Designer

Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

Since version 3 of the Report Server, you can create reports quickly and easily with the Ad-hoc Designer. Since List & Label 23, this feature is also available for .NET developers for integration into their applications. Today I would like to show briefly which customer requests we were able to implement in combit List & Label 24 and Report Server 24 in the Ad-hoc Designer.

Accessing Microsoft’s Cosmos DB

Friday, June 1, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

Microsoft’s Cosmos DB is a cloud based, scalable database service that has become quite popular since its initial launch in May 2017. I thought it might be a nice idea to check it out and – while I’m at it – see how I can connect my favorite reporting tool to it.

What's New in Report Server 24, Part 1

Friday, May 18, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

This is the first of two blog posts presenting the new features of our combit Report Server in the upcoming version 24. Since the last version, in which the Report Server has become part of our List & Label developer component, the development teams of both products have been working even more closely together. This enables us to better coordinate the needs of both products, and thus also of our customers.

Introducing Parametrized Data Sources

Monday, April 30, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

List & Label's powerful filter options could not be used for all data sources so far. Reason is, especially for web based data sources, it is not possible or feasible to get "all" data first and then filter to the desired subset. The upcoming version 24 comes with a powerful new feature that addresses this very issue: Parametrized Data Sources. It allows to combine data source parameters with actual report parameters in the Designer.

Seamless Change of Displayed Preview

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

As you may have guessed, by now we are well into working on version 24 of our List & Label reporting tool, which is due to be released this fall. Today I proudly present the first feature preview!

Our Most Popular Resources for Developers

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 | 1 comment(s)

Let's be honest, developing has it's challenges. To meet the ever more diverse demands on applications and technologies, we all rely on a multitude of ressources to make our lives easier. So we, the makers of your favorite reporting tool, thought it's about time to let you benefit from our experience. Below you will find just a small selection of the tools that we can't do without.

Fun With the Major Upcoming Winter Sports Event in Pyeongchang

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | 0 comment(s)

As you might know, this year’s Winter Sports Event will start just by the end of the week. I have to circumlocate the actual name of the event as those people really mean “Trademark” when they say it. Let’s call it simply “Games” for the rest of this article, which hopefully should be safe. Anyway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to do some statistics with my favorite reporting tool.

Simple List & Label Redistribution with New Assistant

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | 2 comment(s)

The compilation of the redistributable files of List & Label has been somewhat cumbersome so far. But we listened to the wishes of our customers and developed an easy-to-use redistribution assistant.

Miscellaneous Treats in LL23

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

While holiday season is approching fast, bringing some well-deserved quality time off work for all of us, I briefly wanted to share some miscellaneous treats in version 23 of our List & Label reporting tool with you.

Supporting SVG as Image Format

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | 2 comment(s)

The Scalable Vector Graphics format has been around for quite a while. The first specification was released in 2001, and meanwhile all browsers offer solid support for SVG. During the years, we've received a couple of requests to support SVG in List & Label. Initially, I was hoping for Microsoft to make SVG rendering support a Windows feature that we could just use. However, that hasn't happened so far. And so we had to come up with a different solution.

Signal Ranges Extended to Charts

Friday, November 3, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

The signal ranges are a handy gauge feature to highlight parts of the scale. It enables you to divide the scale e.g. into a green, yellow and red part. That way, you can judge at a glance if a value is "good" or "bad". In LL23, this feature has been extended to charts.

Brand-New Component: „combit.ReportServer.ClientApi“

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Have you ever wanted to migrate your List & Label projects and data providers to a central webserver to export and view them on an Android or iOS tablet with just a few lines of code? With the upconing new version 23 we have some good news for you!

New Layout Options for Pie Charts and Donuts

Friday, October 13, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

After adding a number of new chart types in the last versions, most notably Radar, Treemap, Shapefile and Funnel charts, we're adding a small yet very neat property for pie and donut charts to List & Label 23: pie coverage. This allows to define if the pie should consist of a full circle or just parts of it.

Easily Connecting to Salesforce Data

Friday, October 6, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

No matter which data, using the DataProvider interface you can write your own custom binding. And of course we ship a whole family of providers with List & Label. In LL23, there's a new member of this family that allows your applications to connect to Salesforce data easily.

Supporting Cross-Datasource Relations

Thursday, September 28, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

The .NET DataProvider concept allows to bind to almost any data source. Basically, it mimics a relational database management system containing tables, relations, sort orders etc. However, often you'll find yourself needing to combine data from different sources, e.g. a server log file that contains customer logins and a SQL customer database that contains all pertinent information about the customers.

New Features in the Report Server – Part 2

Friday, September 22, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

As promised, today I’d like to report on even more of the updates in Report Server 23. The updates are particularly impressive in the ad-hoc Designer, which provides support for fast creation of simple tables and diagrams. As opposed to the extensive Report Server Designer, only the most important setting options are provided here. In addition, the ad-hoc Designer is likewise available as a separate component in List & Label 23.

New Features in the Report Server – Part 1

Thursday, September 7, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Upon the release of version 23 of our List & Label reporting tool, the combit Report Server will become part of the List & Label Enterprise Edition. Hence, it is about time we reported on the new features of our enterprise reporting solution!

Virtual Formula Variables for Drag & Drop

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 | 3 comment(s)

In LL21, we improved the Drag & Drop behavior thoroughly. However there was one thing still missing. When dropping e.g. a date field, at times you don't need the actual date in the report but rather e.g. the year. The same for numerical values – do you want decimals? If yes, how many? Do you require a local formatting? Or a currency symbol? While you can easily achieve any of these formattings using simple formulas or the "Format" property, you have to do just that. So drag and drop is not the no-brainer it is supposed to be in a perfect world. In LL23, the world will actually become a little more perfect.

Using Your Own .NET Designer Objects in Unmanaged Code - Designer Object Bridge

Friday, August 18, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Many things can often be implemented significantly easier and faster in managed code than in unmanaged code, such as with Delphi or C++. Sometimes, there already exist ready-made .NET modules which contain the desired requirements and which need to be used in your own unmanaged application. But the question then is: How can a .NET module be made accessible to an unmanaged system?

Unbelievable Printing Performance Boost

Friday, July 28, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Continuing the journey of improving the performance, we decided to tweak a bit on the printing side as well. These optimizations help when using the same table several times with different fields. Think of a tabular report with some charts and a crosstab. Typically you have different views on your data in these objects. For these cases, the improvement is huge – I mean really huge.

Huge Designer Speed-Up for Large Databases

Friday, July 14, 2017 | 2 comment(s)

Historically, List & Label has always been working without a database in the background. During the years, we've added powerful databinding to the components, however at the core, the principle stayed the same: your application (or the databinding layer) passes all available data before opening the Designer.

New Designer Features and Flexible Sorting

Friday, June 30, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Today, I’d like to outline a few more minor new features of LL22 before they get lost in the upcoming blog posts on LL23. There are still plenty of nifty things in LL22 to discover that I haven’t blogged about yet.

Our TTFHW is Just 30 Seconds!

Friday, May 26, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

Have you ever stumbled across TTFHW? This is an important nerd metric, meaning "time to first hello world". Basically it tells you how long it will take you as a developer to get to your first hello world success using a platform / API.

Report Server Soon Included in Enterprise Edition

Thursday, May 11, 2017 | 0 comment(s)

This is a major, bold new addition that will be available with List & Label 23. Currently the combit Report Server is available as a standalone out-of-the-box, self-service reporting solution. You can configure data sources, ad-hoc-design your reports, preview in your browser, export reports to a huge variety of formats or schedule email blasts. All of this in a responsive web application that works on any device. Starting with version 23, this server product will be included in the List & Label Enterprise Edition.

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.

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.

dsListLabel - Simplified Xbase++ Integration

Friday, February 24, 2017 | 2 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Building a Better Databinding Ecosystem for Delphi

Thursday, June 30, 2016 | 2 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.

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.

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.

Query Assistant and Filtering in Report Server 3

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 | 2 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. 

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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...

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 :-).

No words, just fun!

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

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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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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