September 08, 2004
StyleReport Pro

I've not been blogging too much recently. I think that this is mainly because I've spent the last two weeks grappling with the suppurating ulcerated sore that is StyleReport. This is simultaneously boring and frustrating - incredibly frustrating. It's got to the point where I've been dreading coming to work, and I've been clock watching and leaving dead on time. Working with StyleReport is actually stressful - I feel tight in the chest all the time I'm doing it, and at times it makes me genuinely angry.

Besides - StyleReport's report builder eats all the memory on my PC, leaving none for running a browser.

Still, I've finished with it for the moment, Thank Christ.

I think I can see how we ended up with it. If you tried out a really simple report, you could knock it out in minutes. Problem is, real world reports are difficult if not impossible. This is usually the case to some extent with tools which try to do too much for you - simple stuff is simple, complex stuff is difficult if not impossible.

StyleReport just takes this one stage further - sometimes, easy stuff is impossible, too. A justified paragraph with some words in bold? Sorry, no, impossible. Page breaks after a given database level break? No, a bug prevents any pages being printed thereafter. Embedded PNGs? Too slow for practical use. Tables with cells with differing border formats? Do one. A mix of portrait and landscape pages in a flow report? Sorry.


Sorry about that, everyone. Rant over. I just had to get that off my chest.

Update: The report I've just spent over a week working on won't run - java.lang.OutOfMemoryError. Bastard.

Posted to Rants by Simon Brunning at September 08, 2004 09:12 AM

Well, seems like you discovered my wee time bomb. ;-) Maybe you should consider burger-flippin over here with me then :-)

Seriously though, sorry about that mate, and to Tulna too.

One thing on the formatting - I'm sure you can put straight html in as text in S.R, which would then come out formatted in a browser/pdf. Unless I'm mistaken, or it should but don't work.

Posted by: Mark Matthews on September 8, 2004 09:30 AM

I might give the HTML thing a bash. I guess that it didn't help that support and training were both so expensive that we don't have either!

Posted by: Simon Brunning on September 8, 2004 09:35 AM

Nope - the HTML only seems to come out when you are outputting the report as HTML. We are outputting as PDF, and it's not showing up. :-(

Posted by: Simon Brunning on September 8, 2004 11:29 AM

I have used a few reporting tools, and think StyleReport actually has one of the most powerful reporting API. Compared to Crystal or other Crystal clones, StyleReport offers more tools to design reports, using tables, bands, and grid. It also has the most complete scripting environment based on standard javascript.

It is probably getting a bad rep here because of the bugs in the earlier version. With the newer 6.5 and 7.0, it has improved a lot in that department, and is at least as stable as the other tools I have used.

Posted by: Phil Poyen on July 8, 2005 05:37 AM

Yeah, well, maybe. But if you think we'd shell out to update a tool with which we had such a terrible experience, you've got another think coming.

Posted by: Simon Brunning on December 12, 2005 03:08 PM
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