Generating Reports with Jasper Reporting
Report generation is one of the most important tasks for a programmer although it is not at all popular among them. Reporting is basically making the users aware of the certain instances and data present in a program. It is in no way a task that programmers look forward but in any case it has to be done. Before there used to be commercial software for all these reporting purposes but now the Open Source community has finally made their own reporting tool for Java called JasperReports and it is a great alternative to commercial reporting tools for Java programmers.
JasperReports is in no way a tool made just to help users go open and free instead of buying commercial products, instead it is very much a better reporting tool in most cases! For instance it has got all the features that any commercial tool has like generation of dynamic reports, retrieval of data via the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) on top of supporting all the basic programming elements like variables, expressions, constants, parameters, functions etc. Moreover, it contains some extra features which are much advanced like sub-reporting, script generation and building your own custom data sources. Hence it shows a great level of planning and maturity in it.
JasperReports is basically written in XML and therefore it follows all the nuances that come with XML also. It can be categorized mostly into three sections: the first sections where all the parameters passed are to be included, the second section where the query for the processing of the data is to be entered and lastly the section for displaying the report. Each report section is sub-divided into a number of categories called bands and each of them in turn possess a handful of elements for signifying the position, size and magnitude of the instances like variables, fields and parameters.
There are three types of objects present in a JasperReport code that take care of all the operations performed in it. They are: JasperDesign for designing a report’s definition, JasperReport which compiles the JasperDesign object and JasperPrint for generating the actual report by filling in the data into the compiled JasperReport object. All of these objects can be either manually defined or can be used directly from their XML templates. Also they can be accessed and used from any piece of code used in JasperReports and this whole filling, compiling and reporting process can be done from the classes present in the JasperReports tool.
Using and installing JasperReports is also very simple and can be done easily by downloading the application from the JasperReports website and it is completely free! It can both help people in building a new report for any application from scratch or can add extra functionalities to the existing ones. Most of all it is an endeavour by the Open Source community to give the members of their community something new and alternative to the widespread commercial product and what better way to do that than helping the Open Source Java Programmers.
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