Fixed Page Layout (FPL) reports are the newest kind of report that you can create with ActiveReports Developer 7! The design of these reports very closely resemble the finished pages that the report will produce. Each page of the report layout contains report controls that are fixed on the page with designated areas for the repeating data rows to fill up.

In this post, I'll explain what FPL reports are, show you some examples of these types of reports, and discuss how this new reporting feature can be used in your applications. In the posts that follow, I will walk through the creation of some FPL reports and reveal more advanced features.

FPL Diagram Single PageFPL reports give you full control over the pages in your report. You place the controls on the page where they are permanently fixed, and define where the data will later be filled in, and by tweaking some properties you can create some extraordinarily complicated reports in an incredibly easy way.

With FPL reports you no longer need to painstakingly hand-code all of the report elements and carefully measure them to make sure things fit on the paper *just* so. The WYSIWYG designer allows you to drop a table on your report, set a property to tell it how much space it should take up on the page and go. No more hassles!

FPL reports come in several varieties. The most basic form of FPL report simply repeats the same page over and over, changing the contents of the data region(s) for each page.

FPL Diagram Overflow 1The next form of FPL adds the ability for a data region's contents to flow into a new area. For example, This can be combined with the single-page design to create a table which flows in two columns. Like the previous design, once we run out of room on the page we will create a new page designed in the same way and populate it with the rest of the data.

FPL reports would be cool in their own right, with just this feature. However, we've gone beyond that to allow you to create even more types of reports. Repeating the same design over and over is okay for some simple types of reports, invoices for example. However you may want that table to carry over onto the second page of a report which uses a completely different design.

This type of FPL report makes use of the same overflow concept as the previous one, only its combined with a separate page design to make subsequent pages different. This doesn't just apply to a single page, you can design multiple pages with over flows and we will fill them out as needed. Once we reach the last page in the overflow chain we'll continue to use that page to fill out the rest of the pages of the report.

FPL Diagram FormFPL reports are also great for long-forms. You know the kind--the one where the entire page is used to display a single row of data? Whether you're working with a single row of data or more, you can use an FPL report to re-create the forms on screen and print them out.

As you can see, Fixed Page Layout reports offer a new kind of report not seen in other .NET reporting tools. We hope that you will find them helpful and we plan to expand what you can do with them following the release.

Next time, we'll take an in-depth look at the first kind of FPL report and walk through the creation of such a report. Be prepared. It's easier than you think!

This is just the second post in a long series on the new features you'll find in ActiveReports Developer 7. Many more will be coming over the next few weeks. Subscribe to our feed or check back often for new posts.