Introduction

JasperWave is Eclipse based visual report designer for JasperReports. It is designed and built from a scratch trying to introduce completely new designer with unique user interface and features.
Later in this article we will explain what JasperWave designer is, why it is needed, what are the main features and finally what are our short and long-term goals.

Why JasperWave?

There are several visual designers for JasperReports already available on the market and the main question comes why we need another one. All the current visual designers for JasperReports that are based both on Eclipse IDE and Swing share the same user interface principles and application usability inherited from first versions of iReport.

JasperWave introduces completely new UI and usability for those who want alternatives for designing JasperReports report templates. Additionally to nice UI and advanced usability you will have the designer with sophisticated datasource adapters, deep integration with Eclipse and advanced extensibility.

Features and Benefits

Below is the brief description of features and benefits that JasperWave supports today. The key focuses of JasperWave designer are UI usability, extensibility and deep integration with Eclipse.

UI concepts

JasperWave follows to UI design principles that are common to most of the applications written on Eclipse platform. Working area is composed with editor and several views. Layout of editor and views is defined by corresponding JasperWave perspective configuration. Editor area is implemented with GEF+Draw2D Eclipse projects. The following views are available for users:

  1. Data Explorer - Presents current datasource connections, variables, parameters, fields and subdatasets defined for current report.
  2. Outline - Presents the hierarchy of report elements.
  3. Browser - Presents report storages for saving/loading reports.
  4. Properties - Presents report element properties for the element that is selected in editor.

JasperWave: Perspective

Properties

Properties view is implemented with our custom properties framework. This framework allows you to use any composition of standard SWT controls for your property design. At the same time there is a set of standard properties controls that can be reused for common types like strings, enumerations, booleans.

The framework is implemented using extension points Eclipse mechanism. So every single property is an extension to corresponding extension point.

The framework will be available as a separate product to be used in any application that is based on Eclipse platform.

JasperWave: Properties

Datasource wizards

The following data sources are supported by JasperWave:

  1. JDBC - any DB with JDBC connection, SQL is used fto specify columns
  2. XML - XML files or streams,XPath syntax is used to specify columns.
  3. CSV - acessing flat file data using standard delimiters, first row(header) might be used to define columns
  4. JasperReports - custom data source which implements JRDatasource interface
  5. JavaBeans - custom data source to get data from Plain Old Java Object
  6. Excel - accessing Microsoft Excel files, first row might be used to specify columns
  7. Empty - default data source for testing purposes, emulates predefined number of records

JasperWave: Datasources

JasperWave facilitates working with datasources/queries by providing well designed and easy-to-use wizards for datasources/queries manipulations. Follow the Data Access FAQ for detailed usage explanation of all the supported data sources.

Graphs

JFreeChart library that is used in JasperReports is powerful charts generation tool. It has a lot of properties that allow customizing your chart presentation. JasperWave gives a convenient way to work with charts when change of any visual related property is reflected in design mode without making preview to see how chart will looks like.

JasperWave: Graphs

Integration with Eclipse

JasperReports report engine is mostly used by developers and it is very important that the visual designer for JasperReports should be incorporated in development environment. JasperWave is distributed as Eclipse feature and can be activated to work with by switching to JasperWave perspective.

JasperWave allows you to open report template files both from working workspace and from file system directly without using Eclipse workspace mechanism. Sometimes it is very convenient to open report templates without creating and using Eclipse project.

  • Open report from workspace

  • JasperWave: Open report from workspace

  • Open report from file system

  • JasperWave: Open report from file system

At the same time JasperWave can be extended with additional type of storages like FTP storage or any other custom storage you maybe use in your applications.

Extensibility

JasperWave is designed to make it easy to extend the functionality by adding the following components:

  • Datasources
  • File storages
  • Report elements

API and corresponding tutorials will be available soon.

Our Plans

First versions of JasperWave will not provide 100% coverage of all the latest JasperReports features but will give good understanding and feeling of how it will look like when it will be finished with all the JasperReports features supported.

We have presented JasperWave now to introduce the concept and define the most important changes/features to be delivered in the next releases based on first users’ feedback. The community web site is available to collect feedback and communicate with JasperWave users. So, we will appreciate to receive any feedback and ideas from everyone.

First priority goal is to make JasperWave the production quality designer that can be used to easy design any complex JasperReports report. To achieve it we will focus our efforts on:

  • Complete support of latest JasperReports schemas
  • Full integration with Eclipse: workspace, projects, compilers, SSE
  • Packaging JasperWave as RCP application
  • Improve UI usability and provide different helpful wizards
  • Extension API for third-party developers

Next we will work on:

  • Custom data sources
  • Different report storages
  • Integration with JasperSoft products line

We hope that JasperWave will play special role to make JasperReports report engine more and more popular.

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