Monday, February 23, 2009

ColdFusion Report Builder is a great tool, but...

Man, does it need work. Lots and lots of little annoying bugs make it a chore to work with. The results are pretty good, though, if you muddle through.

Here are a few things I find maddening:

  1. No easy way to temporarily release snap-to-grid
  2. Constantly re-appearing borders.
  3. Selecting NONE for borders does not necessarily remove borders.
  4. No double underline.  Mandatory for financial reports.
  5. Unpredictable image sizing.  Can't constrain height/width ratios to the original.  The best way I've found to deal with this is to turn measurements to pixels and then hard code the size.
  6. Report header prints above page header.
  7. NO MAC VERSION!
On the other hand, some things are really great.  Like:
  1. Being able to pass in your queries after processing with CF.
  2. Also sending in parameters that you can use to control logic in the report.
  3. ColdFusion syntax in expressions.
It looks like we have had a release with each version of CF since 7, so I hope that continues with 9.  Actually, this would make for one hell of an AIR app and solve the cross platform issue at the same time.  If it's too much for the Adobe team to bite off, maybe they should think about opensourcing the .cfr file format.

7 comments:

  1. Report builder would be such a great tool, but all those bugs and issues with it always make it my last choice for reporting. But if it were an AIR app and open source and extensible, that would rock!

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  2. I actually suggested to the CF team at Max that Reportbuilder would suit an Air app. They told me with no certainty that changes are in the works and that it will most likely be a Addition to Eclipse. I guess that will mean we can have Bolt, FlexBuilder and Reportbuilder all in one tool.

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  3. Wow. That would be pretty cool, too. Provided that it becomes less buggy as well.

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  4. Well ColdfusionBuilder Beta 2 is now out and there's not aspect of reportbuilder in it at all. Does that mean it is far far off in the future that we'll see it integrated into the eclipse platform?

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  5. I'm starting to think that it's just easier to code your reports up directly in CF. I doubt there will ever be an eclipse version. It might actually be easier to build a cf builder extension that jams out report code, but who knows?

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  6. It seems that documentation for this tool is seriously lacking, and for some reason I only got Japanese help files with the installation.

    I am fairly seasoned CF developer with MS SQL 2008, but never had to use the Report Builder until now.

    I have to create a lot of printable reports for a Golf Scoring system. For example a Grouping and Starting Times report for a round.

    That report would list, group #, Start Time, Course Name, Starting Hole, and list players in a group.

    I would like it grouped on Group #, so that group info is displayed once, but the players (like 2 or 3 or 4 per group) are displayed for each group.

    I'm stuck on two things right now. I can't figure out how to link column header labels to query parameters, so that spacing would be uniform for headers and the data, and all the data would fit (like HTML tables, that auto-size columns based on contained data). I also can't figure out how to properly do the groupings.

    Any help would be most appreciated,

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  7. I was finally able to figure out how to remove the border around an image. It was hidden away.
    I clicked on border property and the window came up. Rather than change properties on the Border tab, I had to click on the Color and Style tab, and the preview there showed the border. On the right, was a Line fieldset. By clicking on "None" in that fieldset, I was finally able to remove the border from the image.

    I hope this works for someone else who is having the same problem.

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