Reporting Tools

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  © HJM Frielink, last modified: GMT: 06:27, 2024 April 24, Reporting Tools

Besides the well known tools like Business Object and Crystal Reports there are more tools. On this page I collect some tools and most important reviews.


The company I'm contracting with needed a quick and easy way to get some general reporting done. There are a ton of solutions out there, but a member of our team had suggested that we take a look at LogiXML's LGX Report.

First off, the product is free. It covers your basics such as reporting from datasources, graphing and exporting. The product itself is not a class library that allows you to display and render reports quickly within your code, rather the product itself will set up a virtual directory on your web server (which I presume can be moved around) and uses a combination of it’s own class library and a pretty full featured GUI interface to generate a proprietary XML file. At runtime, the XML file is parsed by the LogiXML class library to render the reports/forms.

The hosting technology is ASP.NET, but there isn’t much on the ASPX file but a call to create the LogiXML object and a rendering method. The process of rendering the XML file to the report is pretty much black box, in the sense that you have no programmatic control over what is happening, but there is a lot of control over how the XML page is created to give you some control over how your report looks.

The reports themselves are driven off of an XSL sheet, and therefore you have complete control over how the page is rendered. Aside from XSL, almost all elements of the reports take a Class attribute to inherit from a given CSS file you may want to use. The ability to create master-child or drilldown reports is also available as well as built in sorting and paging as well as exporting to Word, Excel and printable views.

The GUI tool allows you to bind data from stored procedures, raw SQL, static (hard coded) values, web services or xml files. The passing of information is done either via Querystring/Form values (Request), Cookies or Linked Parameters, which is the ability to provide data between reports and pages.

I really like this product for quick deployment of reports, but not everything can be all roses for a product. The primary thing that jumped out at me was the lack of documentation in the product itself. At the time of this review, it is mostly tips in the product itself and links to their online documentation, which acts like a search engine. The search itself usually brings up the same documents over and over again, having little relevance to what you are looking for. Thus, this leads me to my next dislike, which is the learning curve: The product offers a lot of really cool stuff, but it is not clear as to how to use it other than some samples that come with the product. I will note that their online forums are awesome. Lots of questions and the support folks are awesome about answering them.

All in all, I would suggest downloading this tool when you’ve got a couple of hours to mess around with the product and checking it out.
From: Mark Orangel.