Q3 2016 Featured Community Member: Petter Friberg

Every Quarter we feature a special community member who has gone above and beyond with their contributions to the Jaspersoft community and products. For the third quarter of 2016, the award goes to the very deserving, Mr. Petter Friberg. Petter is a very active member of the Stack Overflow community giving high quality help to lots of people who need it, primarily with JasperReports. Learn more about Petter in an interview below!

Interview with Petter Friberg

Tell us a little about yourself, your background and how you came to be a user of Jasper Reports

I was born in Sweden, near the Arctic Circle where I studied Industrial Engineering. During my year abroad on Erasmus in the Netherlands I found a fantastic girl from Italy so I packed my stuff and headed towards the sun. Wife, house, children, cats, dogs, Volvo and a lawn mower so now I am stuck under it! 
My first job in Italy was designing packing machines, but I got bored with mechanical stuff that can break and started my own software firm, Jdd Software with a great programmer and friend.
One of our first contracts was to develop front-end applications in Java for the banking sector and with it personal financial planning reports. To develop these reports we decided to use JasperReports for the following reasons:
Developed in Java, perfect integration in any Java project. 
Open-source, you have access to source code, so you can easily understand what is going on and override or extend if you need something special
xml file structure, perfect to use on any versioning system
Integrated with other open source libraries to create pdfs, charts, barcodes etc. 
During this time, I learned to appreciate the JasperReports system and we found no limitations on what could be achieve, although sometimes we post processed the exports for particular feature requests. We also created a fairly advanced report creation system, where bank managers could set up their own reports; creating tree based structures, indicating title and lead text of sections and then including different jrxml templates in the section. These reports are used daily in many of the major banks in Italy.
Over time, however my company moved to back-end of applications and we also started to develop integration software for unattended credit card terminals for the parking and hotel sector.
It was not until I joined StackOverflow (SO) that I had the joy to fire up iReport again and installed the latest JasperSoft Studio. I was pleasantly surprise to see that Studio was built on my favorite IDE (Eclipse), so I immediately felt at home.

Tell us about your involvement with Stack Overflow

For many years as most programmers, searching on our favorite engine we end up on Stack Overflow (SO). Normally we find what we need and carry on, however some strange incoming bytes from an msxml service made me decide to join and pass my first question.
An SO user passed a comment indicating to me that three of the bytes were a BOM header and this helped me to figure out the rest. I got curious about the community, spending hours at night reading meta to understand how everything works and I started to answer some questions. First in Java but I quickly moved to the jasper-reports tag where I have more fun and the traffic is not so hectic.
I also started to hang around in a moderation team chat room SOCVR and after a couple of months I asked to joined this team that are trying to moderate the site (editing post to improve them, closing questions that are unclear or not on-topic, helping other users to find answers on how the community works etc.). During the weekend we have fun developing bots (software scanning SO network and reporting result in chat) to help us find posts that needs attention. I am currently involved in the development of the SOCVFinder bot project.

What are the most common problems that you find users having with JasperReports?

In general on SO the biggest problem is that people just like to have some suggestion on how to solve their own problem (just like me on my first question), not realizing that the purpose instead is trying to build a Q&A library (Question & Answer) that is useful for others. This often leads to a negative first experience of SO, you do not understand why people down-vote and even close your simple, a bit unclear, opinion based question where you are just looking for some hints. My tip is, read the help section carefully before you ask or answer.   
In the japer-report tag one of the major beginner’s problems understanding that the detail band is iterated on the data source and when they use it in conjunction with the table component, they quickly get confused.
However, the most common problem is probably fonts not rendered correctly in pdf, normal they are just missing a font extension but often the font is not supported (example ligatures) by the pdf library.
I have tried to create two simple Q/A on this issue: 
and one including the most common problems when exporting to PDF/A
If you have issues in jasper-report and cannot find anything helpful on the internet, you are welcome to pass a question, remember to be clear, create a small example including a jrxml that we can test and show the current and expected output. Be patient, for me answering questions is a midnight job after work, dinner and children. 
Finally, I like to thank the Jaspersoft community for this nomination, I was delighted to see that my work to help jasper reports users on SO is appreciated and it pushes me to continue my effort.

Thank you Petter for all your help to make our community great!