Report Author

This topic discusses the Report Author super-element which allows end-users to work with a dashboard-like interface to create their own basic reports at runtime.

About Report Author

The Report Author super-element is available in Logi Studio once the Self-Service Reporting Module (SSRM) add-on is installed. More information is available about Logi Info Introduction to Add-on Modules .

Reports created with Report Author can include charts, tables, images, labels, links, and PDF export links. Charts and tables, which are created using an Analysis Grid, are retrieved when using the Report Author from a "Gallery" file.

The Gallery file is created using the Analysis Grid's "Add to Dashboard" feature but without actually involving a dashboard - the data is simply saved to a file that isn't related to the usual Dashboard "Save" file. This is discussed in more detail in Use the Analysis Grid .

Images can be included in Report Author reports by users at runtime by uploading files to a designated folder and then selecting them during the report design process.

Gallery, Save, and uploaded files can also be stored in a database, see Introducing Bookmarks.

The Report Author is often used with the Auto Bookmark element, allowing all aspects of a report to be automatically saved as the user works with the report. For more information, see the Adding Automatic Bookmark section in Introducing Bookmarks.

The appearance of the Report Author user interface is controlled by any Theme or other styling you may care to apply.

The data used in the Report Author is described in a Gallery file, which in turn is based on metadata. If that metadata changes, such as the removal of a column, the Report Author will display a warning about the missing column, instead of the expected visualization.

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Report Components

A Report Author report consists of the following components:


In View mode, the report components are displayed. They include:

  1. Text - You can enter text to be displayed in the report. Various font attributes like size can be set as desired.

    Dates and times entered here will be internationalized, based on the configuration of the Globalization element's User Culture attribute in the _Settings definition.
     
  2. Image - You can upload an image for display in the report.
  3. Line Space -You can add blank lines to provide spacing and reading clarity.
  4. Link - You can add links to other reports or web pages.
  5. PDF Link - You can add a link that will download the report to PDF format.
  6. Split Row - You can add an empty row that's divided into multiple columns, then drag content into them.
  7. Visual - You select a visual from your Visual Gallery for display in the report.

You may have as many of these components in your report as you'd like.

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Design Mode

At the top of the Report Author report, you can see the Design and View links, which let users switch modes.

In Design mode, they can work with components to create or edit a report. Components in the report will appear in a series of rows or panels:

Design mode, shown above, let's users build or modify a report at runtime.

  1. Drag components from the Component Toolbox on the left onto the report canvas to add them.
  2. Re-arrange components on the canvas by clicking on their Drag icon - - and dragging them into a new location.

    When you do this, the cursor changes to a Drag cursor and a "Drop Zone" indicator (a yellow bar) will appear as you drag the component toward a new location. If the drop zone is above or between other components, they'll move when the component is dropped.
     
  3. Configure component settings or delete them by clicking the Gear or X icons.
  4. Add/Remove columns for the Split Row component by clicking the Columns icon.

When you add a Visual component to the canvas, your visual gallery will be displayed and you can select one or more visuals to be inserted into your report, as shown in the next section. Chart animation, resizing, hover highlighting, and quicktips will all be active in the report. Each selected visual will be inserted into its own separate panel.

Components can be re-arranged by dragging their drag icon. As shown above, the cursor changes to a drag cursor and a "drop zone indicator" bar will appear as you drag the component toward a new location. If the drop zone is above or between other components, they'll move when the component is dropped.
 

If an Auto Bookmark element is used as a child of the Report Author to automatically record changes, the Undo/Redo icons, shown above, will appear.

An optional Report Author attribute setting, discussed later, allows you to control the default mode, View or Design, and whether editing is allowed.

 Tokens used to configure the Report Author are not resolved in Design mode.

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Adding Visuals

When the New Visual component is dropped on the report canvas, your gallery of visuals is displayed:

As you can see above, it's a collection of all of the visuals saved in the gallery. You can recognize them from their thumbnail images, and from the titles and descriptions entered when they were saved.

The Find control let's you filter the displayed visuals by typing in the full or partial title of a visual, and the Sort control let's you set the display order of the visuals by Newest or Oldest, or by Title alphabetically.

If your application has been configured for multiple galleries, discussed later, at first you'll see all of their visuals combined into one big collection. You'll also see the Gallery selection list, which allows you to filter the displayed visuals by gallery.

Each visual has an Add button that adds it to the report. Once a visual has been added, its Add button disappears and "Added" is displayed.

Visuals can be removed from the report using its X icon. If a visual is removed, it will appear in the gallery with its Add button displayed again.

Each visual from your gallery also has a Delete from List button, which deletes it from the gallery. If multiple galleries are in use, visuals from them may or may not have this button, depending on whether their creator configured the gallery to be "read-only".

Use the Done button to close the Visual Gallery.

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Component Settings

When other components are dropped on the canvas, their Settings panel is displayed. You can also edit the settings by clicking the component's "gear" icon:

As you'd expect, the settings will be different for different components. The settings for the Link component are shown above.

The Text component has a similar Settings panel. However, for quick, text-only changes, users can edit the text "in place". They just hover their mouse over the right end of the component, as shown above, to see its special "pencil" icon, then click it to edit the text.

The Image component Settings panel, shown above, lets users include images using a URL or by uploading them. They can also select them from a list of uploaded images stored in a designated folder.

The PDF Link component's Settings panel (not shown) includes a Java AutoFit control. Set it to False when exporting to PDF in Java applications in order to turn off AutoFit and center align text.

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Report Author Attributes

The Report Author element has the following attributes:
 

Attribute Description

Gallery File

(Required) Specifies the fully-qualified path and file name for the XML data Gallery file. This file contains the charts and tables that can be added when the New Visual component is dropped on the report canvas. The file is created using an Analysis Grid's "Add to Dashboard" feature, but a Dashboard is not required. The path must be within the application root folder.

If Logi Security has been used to control access, the current user's name will be available in the @Function.UserName~ token. This can be embedded into this attribute to provide separate Gallery files for individual users. For example, the attribute value might be:  

    @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\GalleryFiles\@Function.UserName~.xml

which might translate to:

     C:\inetpub\wwwroot\MyReportApp\GalleryFiles\BGates.xml
     

Gallery files can also be stored in a database, see Introducing Bookmarks.
 

ID

(Required) Specifies a unique element ID.

Save File

(Required) Specifies the fully-qualified file path and name of an XML "Save" file where the report design changes users make at runtime are saved. Tokens may be used in this attribute, however, @Request tokens are not recommended as they're not persistent. If the file doesn't exist it will be created at first use; however any folder containing it will not be automatically created - you must create it manually. The path must be within the application root folder.

Do not set this attribute when using the Auto Bookmark element in conjunction with Report Author.

If Logi Security has been used to control access, the current user's name will be available in the @Function.UserName~ token. This can be embedded into this attribute to provide separate Save files for individual users. For example, the attribute value might be:  

    @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\SaveFiles\@Function.UserName~.xml

which might translate to:

     C:\inetpub\wwwroot\MyReportApp\SaveFiles\MZuckerberg.xml
     

Save files can also be stored in a database, see Introducing Bookmarks.

Disable Gallery Updates
 

Specifies whether users can delete visuals at runtime from the gallery specified above in the Gallery File attribute. The default value is True.

Gallery Caption
 

Specifies a caption for the gallery specified above in the Gallery File attribute. This caption appears in the list of galleries in the Visual Gallery panel.

Report Author Mode

Specifies the display mode and editing options for the report. Options include:

ViewEdit - Initially displays the report in View mode. Users can click Design to switch to Design mode. This is the default mode for existing/bookmarked reports.

DesignEdit - Initially displays the report in Design mode. Users can click View to switch to View mode. This is the default mode for new reports.

ViewContained - Shows the report in View mode, without the ability to switch to Design mode. An existing Save file or bookmark is required. Other elements above and below the Report Author element, such as Report Headers and Report Footers, are also included in the report display.

ViewExtracted - Shows the report in View mode, without the ability to switch to Design mode. An existing Save file or bookmark is required (see Introducing Bookmarks). Only the Report Author report is displayed, all other elements in the report are suppressed. This mode is automatically applied to reports downloaded using the PDF Link component.

Save File Starter

Specifies the fully-qualified file path and name of an XML data file that will provide a default report design. It will be used only when the Save File does not exist. For example, when the Save File is different for each user, the Save File Starter file can provide a set of default components.

Create a Save File Starter file by first setting a Save File value, then running the application and creating a report that includes the desired default components. Then move and/or rename the Save File into the Save File Starter location and set this attribute. For example:

    @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\SaveFiles\DefaultDesign.xml

Template Modifier File

Specifies the name of an optional Template Modifier File, used to programmatically modify the Report Author super-element UI or behavior at runtime. See the section below for more information about template modifiers. You can provide a fully-qualified file path and name for the file, within the application root folder or, if a fully-qualified file path is not provided, the application expects the file to be in its _SupportFiles folder.

Uploaded File Folder

(Required prior to v12.2.116 SP3) Specifies the fully-qualified file path and name of a folder, within the application root folder, where uploaded images will be stored. These are optionally uploaded from the Images component Settings panel, and uploaded files appear in the list of available images in that panel.

If Logi Security has been used to control access, the current user's name will be available in the @Function.UserName~ token. This can be embedded into this attribute to provide separate image folders for individual users. For example, the attribute value might be:  

    @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\ReportImages\@Function.UserName~

which might translate to:

     C:\inetpub\wwwroot\MyReportApp\ReportImages\MMayer


v12.2.116 SP3 - Uploaded files can be stored outside the application root folder. This requires setting a path in the _Settings definition's General element's Report Author Upload Folder Override attribute, which overrides this attribute.

Uploaded files can also be stored in a database, see Introducing Bookmarks.

View Extracted Element ID
 

Specifies one or more element IDs, in a comma-separated list, of elements that may be necessary for the proper functioning of the report, such as Definition Modifier File or Plugin Call. These are stored in the report's bookmark and included when the report is generated.


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Using Report Author

Using the Report Author element is very easy:

As shown above, add the Report Author element to your report definition. Examples of the attribute values are:

  • Gallery File = @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\GalleryFiles\RAGallery.xml
  • Save File = @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\GalleryFiles\RASaveFile.xml
  • Uploaded File Folder = @Function.AppPhysicalPath~\GalleryFiles\images

As described earlier in the Attributes section, if Logi Security is in use, you could further differentiate the files and folders using the @Function.UserName~ token.

That's all you need to do. The Report Author element provides a huge amount of functionality with very little developer effort.

Extra Gallery Files

The Extra Gallery File element, a child of the Report Author element, allows you to specify additional gallery files. When multiple gallery files have been specified and the user is adding visuals to a report, he'll be able to select them from different visual galleries.

How are extra gallery files useful? Imagine a scenario in which a gallery file of pre-configured "standard" visualizations is created and then shared with all users as an extra gallery file. They could then build reports using visualizations from this standard gallery and/or from their personal gallery.
 

The Extra Gallery File element, shown above, requires a fully-qualified file path and name, with .xml extension, to the file. Other optional attributes allow you to specify whether users can modify the visuals in the gallery (Disable Gallery Update) and specify the name that will appear in the list of gallery choices (Gallery Caption). The element also has a Security Right ID attribute, so access to gallery files can be controlled using security rights. Multiple Extra Gallery File elements may be used.

There's also another interesting way to share gallery visualizations: the Extra Gallery File element's Gallery File attribute can be configured to point to a regular Logi report definition (.lgx) file. If that definition file includes a Dashboard element with child Panel elements containing visualizations, the application will locate those panels in the definition and also make them available in the Visual Gallery.

Gallery files can also be stored in a database, see Introducing Bookmarks.

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Customizing Report Author Appearance

Report Author appearance can be changed most easily by applying a theme to the report definition. Most of the screen shots in this document were taken with the Signal theme applied.

You can create your own custom theme, based on a standard theme, using the Theme Editor tool.
 

Changing Appearance Using Style Classes

Report Author appearance can be also customized using style classes and Info Studio provides the following standard style sheet:

    <YourAppFolder>\rdTemplate\rdReportAuthor\reportAuthor.css

Developers can override classes in this style sheet by copying them to their application style sheet and modifying them there.

  Do not make changes in the standard style sheet in the rdTemplate folder.
 

Changing Appearance Using Template Modifiers

The Report Author element uses a "template file" to define certain element properties that are not otherwise available as attributes to the developer for modification. These include language- and culture-specific Caption attributes that you may want to change for locale-based reasons (or you may simply want to change the captions to better suit your application).

The Report Author element's Template Modifier File attribute identifies a custom XML file developers can create containing elements that will override the same elements in the template file.

The appearance of the Visual Gallery pop-up panel can also be modified using a Template Modifier File.

For example, the Report Author template file:

    <yourAppFolder>\rdTemplate\rdReportAuthor\ReportAuthorTemplate.lgx

contains several Label elements. One of them has an ID = "lblSwitchToDesignModeTrue"; this controls one of the Design button captions. It can be modified by changing the Caption associated with that Label element. To change the caption from its default "Design" to "Create", create your own XML file, identify it in the Template Modifier File attribute, and add this code to it:

<TemplateModifier>
    <SetAttribute ID="lblSwitchToDesignModeTrue" Caption="Create" />
</TemplateModifier>

You can set the attributes for any number of elements in this file; examine the ReportAuthorTemplate.lgx file to learn the ID and Caption attributes available. Other template files exist in the same folder for the Settings panels.

The template modifier file can be in any folder accessible to the application; if a fully-qualified file path is not provided in the Template Modifier File attribute value, then the application expects it to be in its _SupportFiles folder.

More detailed information about template modifier files can be found in Template Modifier Files.

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