Last week, ActiveReports 10 Service Pack 1 was released with new features focusing on design-time collaboration. These features enable the report author working in the Visual Studio integrated report designer or the End User Report Designer to collaborate with other report authors. Many of these collaboration features are also available through the extensive API to provide more flexibility for run-time customization of report layouts. Let's look at some of these features in more detail.
With this service pack, report authors can leverage existing reports as libraries of report parts. A report part may be as simple as a TextBox report item or as complex as a Container or Tablix data region. The beauty of the report parts feature is that all of the data and format settings come along with the report part when you drop it into your new report, so you don't have to worry about re-creating the data source and data set. So if you like something from an existing report created by another author, you can now re-use it with a click rather than going through the process of copying report items and setting up all of their relative properties and dependencies. Plus, the reports need not even be located on the report author's machine, they can be hosted on ActiveReports Server. To learn more about Report Parts, visit the Report Parts topic in the documentation.
Master Reports and Subreports have been available in ActiveReports for many years. But with this service pack, report authors can host these resources on ActiveReports Server to facilitate collaboration among multiple users. As with other shared resources on ActiveReports Server, developers and report authors can use them from within the Visual Studio integrated ActiveReports designer or the End User Report Designer control. The API also allows developers to control and customize the functionality of Shared Master Reports and Shared Subreports that they make available to users.
ActiveReports 10 introduced style sheets for RDL and Page reports. This service pack makes style sheets available through ActiveReports Server as well. They are secured by the extensible role-based security of ActiveReports Server. With shared style sheets, consistent report styling and formatting becomes a centralized function. Developers and end users using ActiveReports designers can access the same style sheets to make it a breeze to keep the same look and feel across all of their reports.
Images used as logos or as indicators on reports are an important part of report design. Rather than try to keep all of these image resources up to date in each developer's file system, you can now publish all of these images on ActiveReports Server for your developers and report authors to use, plus have only one place to update when you get a new logo. It's yet another way to keep a consistent look and feel for all of the reports that your developers and end users create.
Categories are a good way to organize the reports available to users through the ActiveReports Server Report Portal. But in multi-tenant scenarios, you could potentially see categories from other tenants in your list. This Service Pack introduces permissions for Category hierarchies. Now you can create a different hierarchy for each of your tenants and share other categories across many tenants.
This service pack introduces many new collaboration features which take ActiveReports Server beyond mere report hosting. With all of the resources that report authors use to design reports available centrally to both the Visual Studio integrated report designer and the End User Report Designer control, we bring ActiveReports developer editions closer than ever to ActiveReports Server. This service pack is not limited to new features. We have also taken care of some bugs reported by customers. For a full list of bugs fixed and more information about the new features, visit the service pack forum post. To download the latest version go to our downloads page.