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Rich Clients


This is the order we recommend:
  1. Reporting Services
  2. ASP.NET Pages
  3. Excel
  4. Crystal
  5. XML/XSL
  6. Access
  7. Data Analyzer
  1. Reporting Services

    Pros

    • Great designer
    • Web based
    • Can render to a number of different formats
    • Can export to office web components so that the user can continue with further analysis
    • Access Report import wizard

    Cons

    • Need to launch a browser window or embed a browser window control within the application
    • The charting components are still a little basic


    Figure: Reporting Services 2005 Report

  2. ASP.NET Pages

    Pros

    • Highly customizable
    • Web based
    • Easily integrates into your website
    Cons
    • Development Time
    • Can be fiddly making reports look nice


    Figure: Aspx used for reporting

  3. Excel

    Recommended for numerical tabular data it allows further analysis by the user eg. Sales Reports

    Pros

    • You can link the data in a sheet and then design a spreadsheet without using ANY code.
    • You get the auto filters for free but the limitation is row and column based and the layout is restricted.

    Cons

    • Development Time (if you opt for manually hand coding OLE Automation instead of using the above method)

    Reporting in Incident PRO
    Figure 1 We used this method for reporting in Incident PRO!

  4. Crystal

    Recommend for external documents

    Pros

    • Excellent for printed documents Eg. Invoices

    Con

    • Deployment issues
    • 7.5 MB extra to .exe

    Note: We used this method for reporting in SQL Auditor

    Report in Crystal Report

  5. XML/XSL

    OK for simple tabular reports

    Cons

    • No Graphs
    • Development Time
    • XSL is very hard to debug

    Note: We used this method for reporting in Code Auditor

    Report in XSL

  6. Access

    Pros

    • Great designer

    Cons

    • Not every end user has Access (this is a show stopper!)

  7. Data Analyzer

    Microsoft Data Analyzer - $250 AUS

    Report in data analyzer