Jasper Reports is a reporting application that is simple to use, install, manage, and deploy. Its versatility gives us an option to deploy it to a standalone server (Jasper Server) or embed it in an existing application. Since it is written in Java, the extensions that can be written are endless with target outputs of various files.
This post will be more focused on the best design practice of report writing, using this tool, as will dive into different sections of the report writing elements. A report can be as complex as we make it and as simple as we want it.
Before any report is designed we need to focus on a few items.
- Requirements – Requirements in report writing need to be static. We have all come across a moving target and we want to avoid that scenario. If we do not get a solid report requirement the design phase runs around in a continuous loop, wasting time and money.
- Wireframing – Once we gather our requirements the best practice is to wireframe them so the expectation of the reporting layout or the output is set. Even though Jasper reports support various output types it is always the best practice to know what your desired primary output would be.
- Data source – Identifying the best way to connect and retrieve the data required to create the report is another very important pre-design step.
- Report Design – Benchmark your queries if you are using a database and your data source to set your expectation of report output timing and print fill.
- Fields & Columns – Avoid calling unnecessary fields and columns and creating unnecessary parameters and variables. Having unnecessary fields not only increased your output time but also creates confusion if editing is required down the road.
- Information choice – Avoid unnecessary information in the reports.
- Design – Use as much white space as possible for easy to read reports.
- Data and Time – It is always a good idea to use standard date and time practice with time zone if required.