Introduction to Jaspersoft Studio


Jaspersoft Studio is the new Eclipse-based report designer for JasperReports and JasperReports Server. It is a full rewrite of iReport Designer, available as Eclipse plugin, and as a standalone application. Jaspersoft Studio allows you to create sophisticated layouts containing charts, images, subreports, crosstabs and much more. You can access your data through JDBC, TableModels, JavaBeans, XML, Hibernate, CSV, and custom sources, then publish your reports as PDF, RTF, XML, XLS, CSV, HTML, XHTML, text, DOCX, or OpenOffice.

Jaspersoft Studio's primary goal is to provide the features in the well-known Jaspersoft Report Editor, available as a port of iReport Designer. This is only the beginning - having its foundations on the Eclipse platform, Jaspersoft Studio will be a more complete solution allowing users to extend its capabilities and functionality.

Report Life Cycle

This section discusses the life cycle of a report in iReport Designer and Jaspersoft Studio. Users new to iReport Designer and JasperReports should spend some time reading the the information below.

When you design a report using either iReport Designer or Jaspersoft Studio, you are creating a JRXML file, which is an XML document that contains the definition of the report layout. The layout is completely visual, so you can ignore the underlying structure of the JRXML file. Before executing a report, the JRXML must be compiled in a binary object called a Jasper file. Jasper files are what you need to ship with your application in order to run the reports.

The report execution is performed by passing a Jasper file and a data source to JasperReports. There are many data source types. You can fill a Jasper file from an SQL query, an XML file, a .csv file, an HQL (Hibernate Query Language) query, a collection of JavaBeans, and others. If you don't have a suitable data source, JasperReports allows you to write your own custom data source. With a Jasper file and a data source, JasperReports is able to generate the final document in the format you want.

iReport Designer and Jaspersoft Studio also let you configure data sources and use them to test your reports. In many cases, data-driven wizards can help you design your reports much quicker. iReport Designer includes the JasperReports engine itself to let you preview your report output, test, and refine your reports.

User Interface

Jaspersoft Studio is offered in two different versions: a standalone RCP product, and an Eclipse plug-in version. People who have worked with Eclipse will be familiar with the UI, while to new users - or those familiar only with iReport Designer - the layout of the shown elements will appear quite different. Both standalone and plug-in version have a similar UI. In Figure 2, below, you can see a preview of the Jaspersoft Studio interface, with the main areas highlighted:

The main Report editing area is where you visually design the report by dragging, positioning, aligning and resizing report elements chosen from the Designer palette.

Jaspersoft Studio has a multi-tab editor. As you can see in the figure above, there are three different tabs: Design, Source and Preview:

  • The Design tab is the main one selected when you open a report file and it allows you to graphically create your report.
  • The Source tab contains the JRXML source code for your report.
  • The Preview tab lets you run the report preview after having selected a data source and output format.

There are a number of views with which you can explore the data:

  • The Repository Explorer view maintains the list of JasperServer connections and available data adapters.
  • The Project Explorer view maintains the list of the projects in the current workspace, usually JasperReports projects.
  • The Outline view shows the complete structure of the report in a tree-form way.
  • The Properties view is usually a foundation one for any Eclipse based product/plug-in. It usually gets populated with properties information of the actual selected element. That way when you select a report element from the main design area (i.e: a text field) or from the Outline, the view shows information on it. Some of these properties can be read-only, but most of them are editable and their modification will usually notify changes to the drawn elements (i.e: element width or height).
  • The Problems view shows a list of problems and errors that can for example block the correct compilation of a report.

Finally, the Report state summary gives the user useful information about statistics on report compilation/filling/execution. Errors are shown here as well.

This is a short comparison table that helps the users to see where the main areas are in iReport Designer and Jaspersoft Studio.

iReport Designer Jaspersoft Studio
JasperServer Repository Repository Explorer
Report Inspector Outline view
Report Designer Report Editing Area
Problems List Problems view
Elements palette Designer Palette
Formatting tools Available via context menu on the element
Property sheet Properties view
Styles library ---
--- Project Explorer
iReport Designer Output window Report State summary

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