For days this issue lingered through my mind as I felt I wanted to write something about report transformation. But what exactly? And in what format? So finally today I decided to just sit down and write.
As I wrote on one of my previous blog posts I had to learn to love RTC. Both from a user and developer perspective. During a bigger part of the development cycle of NAV2009 I had been closely involved with the Form Transformation effort. I had to use it and test it and meanwhile saw it growing and improving. Yes, the transformation process matured and became quite efficient and effective. Sure, I know, some things still remain hard to transform, but these are peanuts compared to where we started from. Probably the whole process of seeing this tool evolve also contributed to my growing love … and of course the great design decision to have the forms as the base to create pages from. And easily recreate pages from. Any changes and additions to the Classic UI can be automatically ported (through transformation) to the New UI. No need to duplicate manually. You might not know, but the whole NAV build process is based on this. Pages are not stored in MS code repository, only forms and when building a new version of the application pages are created by firing the transformation process.
So what about report transformation?
Yes, what about it? Well, where to start?
By mentioning the huge effort we did put in getting all w1 and local reports transformed?
To me it seemed tremendous compared to form transformation. Not only because of the huge number of local reports, but also the amount of manual work.
By mentioning that some essential standard report functionality could not be achieved on RTC?
Like transfooters and transheaders because of which we could not get some legal compulsory reports work right.
By mentioning the fact that we discovered that a lot of the original processing we had done for NAV2009 had to be redone for NAV2009 SP1?
Changes to the CSIDE part of a report could in general not be integrated straight forward into the RDL part of the report. Merging w1 changes into existing localized reports was a mess. Ouch …
Or should I have started mentioning the fact that if you do not transform a report you still can run it from RTC?
Yes, indeed, not long before we had to release NAV2009 December 2008 this feature was implemented so that when firing a non transformed report it would launch Classic Client in the background and show the report in it’s own window.
So this leads me back to my question: Should I transform reports on NAV2009?
… if your Classic reports are working fine and there is no need for change. It will save you a lot of effort in getting it working right.
… for various reasons:
- take advantage of extra features like saving your report to .pdf or Excel easily
- use all kind of extras like having hyperlinks in you report or graphics
- building up expertise on the report transformation and all new possibilities in the new layout
- somewhere in the future CSIDE will be abandoned and get prepared for that
Do you have more thoughts on this?