Posts By Grant Johnson

Telerik Reporting and UI

Telerik offers many very impressive additions to any .Net developer’s tool set. Two of these additional development components are Telerik Reporting and UI. To begin, I will discuss Telerik UI and the advantages it has over the standard .Net library. Probably the most popular tool provided is Telerik’s RadGrid control. It is an extremely fast grid control that has cross-browser support. RadGrid also allows the developer to enable AJAX, Scrolling, and Grouping within the grid. It also allows has a built-in filter control. ASP.NET GridView currently does not supply these features. There are several other features such as the ability to bind to sub objects and nullable objects. Along with this, RadGrid even allows for the exporting of data to a PDF, Excel, or Word file. These are just a few areas in which RadGrid excels in comparison to the standard ASP.Net GridView. There are several other tools within the Telerik UI Toolkit that can be helpful in development. One of these tools, RadAjax, is used to simplify UpdatePanel management and configuration. Another is the RadScriptManager, which is a superset of the default Microsoft ScriptManager and will help to optimize ASP.NET AJAX applications. The Toolkit also supports the theming of Telerik controls. There are 20 built-in themes which include a pioneering mobile skin. Another arena where Telerik shines is in its reporting software. Telerik Reporting is a very lightweight solution for .NET projects that require a reporting component. Reports can be generated in various formats which include: Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents. Reporting layouts can be created and manipulated using the tools that Telerik provides. These tools can be integrated into Visual Studio for ease of use by developers. Telerik Reporting’s greatest strength is in its flexibility. The developer can pass raw and unformatted data into the reporting controls. This data can be massaged and displayed in the appropriated arrangement based on the pre-set rules specified by the developer. This becomes very convenient when dealing with massive amounts of data being processed and exported to a document. In these cases, there will likely be tens, if not hundreds, of pages to the document. Telerik Reporting can accomplish this quickly and efficiently. Tables within the Telerik Report Designer can be manipulated much like a spreadsheet within Microsoft Excel. The above screenshot gives some insight into how the designer looks and functions. Data can be passed into Telerik Reporting controls and manipulated based on rules specified within the table cells. This offloads some of the code that would have been placed in the backend by sending data directly to Reporting. This can greatly improve code readability. A great example of how these reporting tools could be used is within an agriculture application that determines how much fertilizer product should be placed on each part of a field. When a farmer runs many fields, there can be numerous reports that are very similar except for certain aspects. The developer can create one template that can be used effortlessly to construct all these differing reports. Images distinct to each individual field could also be added to the report without incident. This becomes useful when visually displaying a field’s lab, product application, and product expense figures. In today’s fast paced world, most clients don’t have the time to search through thousands of lines of records for a single set of item specifications. Telerik provides a solution that will allow those clients to keep personalized reports of exactly what they need. In the example discussed above, it could also allow farmers to print or save PDF documents of a field’s fluctuating lab samples and product application figures for historical records. On the development side, Telerik Reporting’s table functionality will most likely be second nature to anyone who has ever used Microsoft Excel. This reporting solution is likely going to be an essential component for any project featuring a well-documented and designed reporting aspect. In conclusion, Telerik UI and Reporting is an excellent option for when the client needs to be able to manipulate data within a Gridview, create reports on the fly, or have themed controls on their webpage.

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