Style Report 8.0 Release Notes

Last Updated February 27, 2006

Style Report™ 8.0 is a major feature release. Two entirely new feature areas have been added to the software:

The data worksheet is an advanced data analysis tool available to report developers and power users. It allows for advanced querying capabilities in an easy to use interface. The tool can be accessed from both the Report Designer and the report web interface. This feature is available as part of the Style Report™/Analytic Edition.

The formula table complements the existing reporting features to provide an extremely flexible table design tool. It enables complex tables to be generated through simple formulas, which can be tied to various data sources. The formula table is available in all editions of Style Report™.

Data Worksheet for Exploratory Analysis

The concept of exploratory analysis is based on the observation of how people actually extract information from data. Whether there is a well-defined goal, or the user is just playing with data to try to discover patterns, people naturally follow an iterative process, going from detail to summary, and back. The data worksheet provides an intuitive visual interface for users to extract, manipulate, and merge data.

The data worksheet works with data models and queries, and can join data from diverse data sources. It eliminates the need to write complicated SQL queries. For report developers, the data worksheet simplifies the task of building data models, and solves the problem of working with multiple incompatible data sources. The same power is available to power users and analysts through the web worksheet interface. It is the enabling technology to provide true self-service analysis to your users.

Formula Table for freeform table generation

Building on the tradition of the most powerful layout engine, the formula table adds another dimension in dealing with report layout and formatting requirements. It is designed to support near arbitrary table structure. Imagine designing a report in a spreadsheet, placing the data anywhere you want, then flipping a switch so the spreadsheet automatically expands based on dynamic data.

The formula table offers much more than just a flexible report layout. It comes with a complete cell formula referencing model and supporting script functions. Formulas can reference other cells using location, relative position, and value/group association. With this powerful tool, you can be confident in fulfilling any complex reporting needs that your users require.

Other Features

Besides the major features, the 8.0 release includes extensive enhancements on many areas of the software. The following is a list of top-level enhancements:

Ad Hoc Reporting Enhancements

The Ad Hoc reporting interface has gone through extensive usability enhancements. Expandable side-tabs replace popup windows to facilitate faster navigation. Many components have been re-designed for easier use. A few new components have been added:

  1. A parameter sheet designer is added to the ad hoc GUI. End users can design the parameter-prompting page directly inside the browser.
  2. A new page layout interface allows the page layout to be changed by drag-and-drop.
  3. Page setup is added for selecting page orientation and paper size.
  4. The data worksheet is integrated into the ad hoc reporting interface.

Spreadsheet Formula Functions

A new scripting module, CALC, provides a set of the most frequently used formula functions from spreadsheets. The formula functions are part of the common scripting environment, and can be accessed from report scripts as well as table cell formulas.

OLAP Enhancements

The OLAP analysis interface has gone through another round of enhancements to further improve its utility. Additionally, new functionalities have been added, including filtering of data, sorting, and aggregation.

Chart Improvements

The chart properties dialog has been completely redesigned to make it easy to select and edit different chart property groups.

Two new features have been added. Built-in time series processing can be used to produce time series charting and can automatically fill in missing gaps. Hierarchical chart labels display multi-level grouping as tree-like labels on the X-axis.

Multi-column Table Layout

Multi-column table layout allows a table to wrap into multiple page columns. It is ideal for very narrow tables. By wrapping the table into multiple columns, you can conserve page real estate and provide a more compact view of the data.

Data Model Join and Cycle Resolution

Building a complete and consistent data model is a big challenge. Besides the most basic requirement of defining joins between all tables, a data modeler must also make sure there is no ambiguity in the relationships. The data model designer has improved support for automatic cycle detection and highlighting, among other notable enhancements.

PDF Encryption and Signing

PDF encryption and signing is supported through the standard Java encryption framework. Simply drop in any compatible encryption provider, and you have secured documents in your application.

Web Report Viewer Framework

The web report viewer has been upgraded to utilize a new DHTML framework. The new viewer interface provides AJAX-like behavior, with toolbar freezing, in-place refreshing of contents, and the completeelimination of popup browser windows.