is a development environment that can be used to construct reports, report components, and reporting applications. Because reporting encompasses a very wide range of requirements, it is often difficult to put a limit on what should be expected of a reporting tool.
The designers of ReportBuilder reduced this broad set of requirements
down to the following equation:
Data Access is the retrieval of data from a database table, text file, Delphi object, or other data source in an organized fashion (structured as records and fields).
Data Process refers to the calculation of intermediate results based on the data and the modification of the report layout as the report generates.
Report Layout is a set of components that describe the look and feel of the report and define the behavior of components during report generation.
Report Output is a set of components that describe the exact content of each page.
This equation more or less covers the entire area of development known as reporting. In terms of importance, each element of the equation is basically equal. If any one element of the equation is not supported or is weakly supported, than the utility of the reporting solution is greatly reduced.
Early versions of ReportBuilder focused on the report layout and report output elements, largely due to the fact that Delphi has abundant solutions for the data access (DataSets, FileStreams, StringLists, etc.) and for the data process (events and Object Pascal) elements. In fact, utilizing these solutions is still a quite valid and productive way for developers to use ReportBuilder. The developer can configure standard Delphi data access components, connect them to a report via the data pipeline component, design and preview the report at Delphi design-time, and, if necessary, code event handlers in Object Pascal to perform calculations or to modify the report layout during generation.
End-User Reporting Solutions
ReportBuilder Professional and
Enterprise editions enable developers to provide end-user reporting solutions in which end-users can create and modify reports themselves. In the development of ReportBuilder end-user reporting solutions, it was discovered that facilities for the data access and data process elements were also needed for end-users who were utilizing the ReportBuilder Report Designer as part of a running application. Within the context of a running application, the Delphi developer has no way of providing access to the Data or to Object Pascal as development environments. End-users could not, therefore, avail themselves of these powerful tools. This situation eventually led to the development of
DADE (the Data Access Development Environment) and
RAP (the Report Application Pascal programming language), which gave end-users complete solutions to data access and data process respectively. DADE is provided with ReportBuilder Professional Edition. ReportBuilder Enterprise Edition includes both DADE and RAP.