Thursday, October 07, 2010

Jasper Reports: gone!

OK, this is it. I fed up fighting Jasper Reports and simply ditched it. BIRT (or "dirt" — you call it) although has interesting things, still is even worse than the Jasper Reports. There is also Pentaho Reports available. They are actually nice, but buggy as hell, crashes and has no much features. Embedding is odd.
At first, I don't need that fancy GUI editor. I simply don't. Do you need? No, you don't either. Here is why: it requires programming anyway. So if you think you will get this sexy full-screen editor with mousedraggable objects and will pass you your girls at operations department — you're wrong, wrong and once again wrong. They won't use that. Because if boss will ask you to make red color some figures that are greater than 1000 — what you will do? It is not anymore mousedraggable and clicketyclickdroppable.
At second, I had a trouble with Japanese, but that's font package installation. Why do they do it this way — their problem. I don't like their (Jasper Report's) way to distribute fonts either.
Therefore I decided to make my own parser of my own markup, that is very similar to RML, but is more looks like just a regular HTML. Basically a 50/50 mix of them.
So far, I achieved (in compare to Jasper Reports):
  • Something like 40 times faster PDF compilation. Yes, up to forty times.
  • A very simple way to embed it to your servlet. The keyword here: "very". It is mostly a re-entrant one-liner, something like this:
    new PDFRender(OutputStream, InputStream);
  • Very small footprint.
  • Resulting PDF simply crashes my ... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
It renders still bit ugly sometimes and I still working on styles, but I have fully controlled by styles headers, footers, pagination, page layout, text body, paragraphs, True Type fonts, embedded images and a simple grid-like tables.

Soon table spanning and styling is still coming (probably right tomorrow). Later I will add SVG support for native charts (still don't know how what way to do it is the best), barcodes and lovely Japanese QRCode that is required just everywhere through.

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