What's New in v2008 vol 2
Group Summary Calculation
When traditional grid views, with their flat representation of every record in your dataset, produce more noise than you need, that's when it's time to break out the XtraPivotGrid. For example, instead of viewing each sale, you might only need to see how many BMWs were sold compared to Mercedes-Benz. Sophisticated data analysis like this is what the XtraPivotGrid control does best, and it can also be performed via the Group Summary feature in the XtraGrid Suite.
Previously, this kind of data analysis was available in XtraCharts only when used in combination with our PivotGrid control. This combination is no longer required since our chart control now fully supports aggregate function calculations against data groups. Traditionally, there are five built-in functions – sum, maximum, minimum, count and average. You can also implement custom aggregate functions by registering your own calculation procedure. As a result, your custom function will be available to end-users via the XtraCharts Wizard.
Top N Values Display
In a continued effort to deliver more flexible data analysis options, here's one more feature that made it from the XtraPivotGrid to XtraCharts: the option to display only a few of the most important values (such as sales for a few best-selling car models). Simply specify the number of best values you're interested in and XtraCharts will automatically filter out the rest.
This feature also allows you to enable the remaining values (Others) – an aggregate value calculated against all records that were filtered out.
Smart Positioning for Value Labels
Although charts display axes with tick marks and can even display a grid within the diagram, it may be difficult for end-users to determine exact values or to compare them. In these instances, the best way to improve chart readability is to enable value labels. In the past, this solution has always had a disadvantage – if values were too close to one another, their labels could overlap.
In version 2008 vol 2, XtraCharts introduces a new label layout mechanism. When enabled, this algorithm ensures neighboring labels won't overlap one another.
This works in all chart types with the following two temporary exceptions.
- Labels in Pie and Donut views can't use this mechanism if they are displayed within the pie (donut) area.
- This label arrangement style does not work with the Medium Trust permission level.
XtraCharts v2008 vol 2 introduces a chart element that was missing from our views – Trend Lines. These lines connect a value (Open, Close, Low or High in Financial charts) of one argument with a value of another argument. You can also force a trend line to be extrapolated.
As with many other elements in XtraCharts, Trend Lines can be hot-tracked and selected by end-users. Thus, you can allow end-users to delete or customize specific trend lines, as shown in our product demo.
If you must display several series that share the same arguments or the same values, a few options are available to you:
- Display several charts
This will require a lot of form space and provides no ability to share an argument axis.
- Display several series in one diagram
This works fine if series can share both axes. If not, you will end up creating secondary axes, which make a chart unreadable if you have more than two series.
- Display a multi-pane chart (new option available with XtraCharts Suite v2008 vol 2)
This chart type has multiple side-by-side charts that can share an axis - you can even enable the simultaneous scrolling of the charts.
Free Formatting in Chart Titles
Chart titles have improved with v2008 vol 2. You can now use HTML-like markup to format text fragments.
A new page has been added to the XtraCharts Wizard. This page allows you or your end-users to customize the chart control's background, including background image, fill style and border settings. (Screenshot)
- Radial and tangent label orientation styles have been implemented in Pie and Donut Views.
- In ASP.NET applications, you can now print and export charts using client-side methods (which generate the appropriate callbacks).
- You have more control over grid lines when using date-time arguments. Previously, the first grid line was drawn at the first argument and then was repeated, say, each day. As a result, grid lines hardly helped with data analysis, since they were all displayed at some inappropriate time. With this release, you can avoid this by enabling a single option. As a result, grid lines will ignore chart values and will be displayed at the beginning of each day, hour, etc.
- New measurement units can now be used in date-time scales - milliseconds, weeks and quarters.
XtraReports Suite and XtraPrinting Library
Calculated Fields and Expression Editor Dialog
XtraReports Suite v2008 vol 2 allows you to add calculated fields to your data sources. Once you've added a field and specified its parent data table, you can build a formula to be used for value calculations. To make it easier to build these formulas and to enable calculated field generation via our End-User Designer, we've created an advanced and easy-to-use Expression Editor dialog. With this dialog, you can construct any expression that uses bound data field values, report parameter values and any constants.
When a calculated field has been set up, you can use it as an ordinary data field anywhere across your reports. Its values can be simply displayed in report controls or can take part in data grouping, sorting or filtering.
Our new Report Parameters feature provides your end-users an extremely easy way in which to customize reports.
Assume you want end-users to filter a report by a particular value. Previously, you would have to write custom code or use our End User Report Designer to enable this type of capability...
The XtraReports Suite v2008 vol 2 allows you to solve this and many other similar tasks by using report parameters. Reports now expose a collection wherein you can add as many parameters as you require. For each parameter, you specify a data type, description and default value. For instance, if you need to show reports filtered by a particular date, then you add a single date-time parameter.
Once it has been added, you can use this parameter anywhere in your report - in filtering expressions, in the formula builder dialog, etc.
When end-users run a report, they first see a dialog allowing them to modify parameter values. Once proper values have been entered, they can click Submit to start actual report generation.
The same parameter customization dialog can be invoked at any time while previewing a report. When changes are present, the report will be re-generated with the newly updated parameter values.
Running Totals and Percentage Calculations
In v2008 vol 2 we have added two new summary types - Running Sum and Percentage. The first is used when you need to accumulate summary values, i.e. each next value includes the sum of previous results. Note that XtraReports allows you to specify if the accumulation should continue across all report pages or if it should be reset with each new page or each new data group.
The Percentage summary should be used for controls located in the Detail Band. If this summary type is applied, the control displays a percentage of the total summary value instead of its actual data. You can specify which summary should be considered to be 100% - total summary for the entire report or a summary calculated against the current page or data group.
Localizable Property Grid
To make our End-User Report Designer more user-friendly, we now allow you to completely localize its Property Grid, including property and control names.
In addition to the localization benefits of this new feature, you are now able to substitute property names with phrases that will be better understood by end-users. In XtraReports v2008 vol 2, we have made this substitution and UI style the default option. You can revert to the previous UI by changing a single property.
Miscellaneous UI Improvements
Print Preview windows now use skins to display pages and their background.
We've improved the Page Header and Footer dialog visually and made it easier to use by grouping all control elements into a single toolbar at the top of the form.
XtraGrid Suite and XtraEditors Library
HTML Style Text Formatting in WinForms Controls
Historically, Windows Forms controls never allowed you to emphasize portions of their text. For instance, you couldn't apply bold formatting to a few words within a label text.
With version 2008 vol 2, we have added this capability to our Label, Check Editor and Grid Control (for column and band headers). You can now specify captions for these elements using HTML-style markup - using the following tags: <br>, <color>, <size>, <b>, <i> and <u>.
Server Mode Performance Improvement
If the XtraGrid is in server mode, focused row and selection are not restored after sorting, grouping or filtering operations. This significantly improves application performance.
You can enable focused row and selection persistence by enabling a single option.
New Built-in Comparison Operator in Filtering Dialogs
The newly implemented Contains operator increases the count of built-in comparison operators. It allows less experienced end-users to easily find data and avoid using the Like operator which requires wildcard knowledge.