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Creating printable forms - best methods?

I've developed an ERP application that we use internally and works quite
well. I receiving more and more requests from users to print various
transactions, order forms, search results, etc. I haven't decided what the
best way to do this is because I don't have much experience with generating
printable forms.

Early on I knew one of my modules would need to print a clear report so I
used the open source SharpPDF library to generate the PDF. It works well
but is entirely hardcoded and requires a TON of code to generate the PDF.
It also take quite awhile to render the PDF, too long in my opinion.
Another drawback is that I need to save the PDF to disk, then open it and
print it.

Other options I've tried are creating a PDF in acrobat and adding "Acro
Forms" to represent the dynamic data (IE: Invoice #) - I then load the PDF
and using SharpPDF insert text into the form fields. This gives me a sort
of "mail merge" method of creating reports. The main drawbacks are:
- I am restricted to editing the value of form elements
- Can't find a way to create an "item list" - again, think invoice with a
list of line items.
- Still need to save the file to disk in order to display it (or print)

The other option I can think of is using GDI+ to paint the report to the
printer output. This also has the drawback of being "all code" (I can't
edit the style in a visual editor").

So my question is, how do you all generate printable reports/forms/documents
in your applications? Have you found one method to be better than another?
Is GDI+ painting to the printer what most people are doing?

I'm looking for a little guidance here, as it stands now I'm using a couple
different methods and this has resulted in my documents all looking a little
different.

Any suggestions/guidance welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Steve
Jun 19 '07 #1
4 3675
Why don't you use Crystal Report ?

"sklett" <sk****@mddirec t.comwrote in message
news:OA******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP04.phx.gbl...
I've developed an ERP application that we use internally and works quite
well. I receiving more and more requests from users to print various
transactions, order forms, search results, etc. I haven't decided what
the
best way to do this is because I don't have much experience with
generating
printable forms.

Early on I knew one of my modules would need to print a clear report so I
used the open source SharpPDF library to generate the PDF. It works well
but is entirely hardcoded and requires a TON of code to generate the PDF.
It also take quite awhile to render the PDF, too long in my opinion.
Another drawback is that I need to save the PDF to disk, then open it and
print it.

Other options I've tried are creating a PDF in acrobat and adding "Acro
Forms" to represent the dynamic data (IE: Invoice #) - I then load the PDF
and using SharpPDF insert text into the form fields. This gives me a sort
of "mail merge" method of creating reports. The main drawbacks are:
- I am restricted to editing the value of form elements
- Can't find a way to create an "item list" - again, think invoice with a
list of line items.
- Still need to save the file to disk in order to display it (or print)

The other option I can think of is using GDI+ to paint the report to the
printer output. This also has the drawback of being "all code" (I can't
edit the style in a visual editor").

So my question is, how do you all generate printable
reports/forms/documents
in your applications? Have you found one method to be better than
another?
Is GDI+ painting to the printer what most people are doing?

I'm looking for a little guidance here, as it stands now I'm using a
couple
different methods and this has resulted in my documents all looking a
little
different.

Any suggestions/guidance welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Steve


Jun 19 '07 #2
I don't have a great answer to that.

In my initial research it seemed like crystal reports might be overkill for
documents like Invoice, Sales Orders, etc. I also read something about each
client machine needing a Crystal Report runtime installed and I wasn't sure
if that meant we needed to purchase a client license?

I will research more on cyrstal reports and try to find some good examples.

Thanks for the suggestion,
Steve
"TheSteph" <Th******@NoSpa m.comwrote in message
news:OZ******** *****@TK2MSFTNG P04.phx.gbl...
Why don't you use Crystal Report ?

"sklett" <sk****@mddirec t.comwrote in message
news:OA******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP04.phx.gbl...
>I've developed an ERP application that we use internally and works quite
well. I receiving more and more requests from users to print various
transactions , order forms, search results, etc. I haven't decided what
the
>best way to do this is because I don't have much experience with
generating
>printable forms.

Early on I knew one of my modules would need to print a clear report so I
used the open source SharpPDF library to generate the PDF. It works well
but is entirely hardcoded and requires a TON of code to generate the PDF.
It also take quite awhile to render the PDF, too long in my opinion.
Another drawback is that I need to save the PDF to disk, then open it and
print it.

Other options I've tried are creating a PDF in acrobat and adding "Acro
Forms" to represent the dynamic data (IE: Invoice #) - I then load the
PDF
and using SharpPDF insert text into the form fields. This gives me a
sort
of "mail merge" method of creating reports. The main drawbacks are:
- I am restricted to editing the value of form elements
- Can't find a way to create an "item list" - again, think invoice with a
list of line items.
- Still need to save the file to disk in order to display it (or print)

The other option I can think of is using GDI+ to paint the report to the
printer output. This also has the drawback of being "all code" (I can't
edit the style in a visual editor").

So my question is, how do you all generate printable
reports/forms/documents
>in your applications? Have you found one method to be better than
another?
>Is GDI+ painting to the printer what most people are doing?

I'm looking for a little guidance here, as it stands now I'm using a
couple
>different methods and this has resulted in my documents all looking a
little
>different.

Any suggestions/guidance welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Steve



Jun 19 '07 #3
For small volumes (up to 10-20K documents daily maybe) you can easily create
reporting solution in MS Access or using same mail merge functionality -
with MS Word, including sublists / subreports. It is cumbersome in some
cases as user actions can crash process, but if designed and deployed
properly is quite productive and stable.

"sklett" <s@s.comwrote in message
news:uU******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP06.phx.gbl...
>I don't have a great answer to that.

In my initial research it seemed like crystal reports might be overkill
for documents like Invoice, Sales Orders, etc. I also read something
about each client machine needing a Crystal Report runtime installed and I
wasn't sure if that meant we needed to purchase a client license?

I will research more on cyrstal reports and try to find some good
examples.

Thanks for the suggestion,
Steve
"TheSteph" <Th******@NoSpa m.comwrote in message
news:OZ******** *****@TK2MSFTNG P04.phx.gbl...
>Why don't you use Crystal Report ?

"sklett" <sk****@mddirec t.comwrote in message
news:OA******* *******@TK2MSFT NGP04.phx.gbl.. .
>>I've developed an ERP application that we use internally and works quite
well. I receiving more and more requests from users to print various
transaction s, order forms, search results, etc. I haven't decided what
the
>>best way to do this is because I don't have much experience with
generating
>>printable forms.

Early on I knew one of my modules would need to print a clear report so
I
used the open source SharpPDF library to generate the PDF. It works
well
but is entirely hardcoded and requires a TON of code to generate the
PDF.
It also take quite awhile to render the PDF, too long in my opinion.
Another drawback is that I need to save the PDF to disk, then open it
and
print it.

Other options I've tried are creating a PDF in acrobat and adding "Acro
Forms" to represent the dynamic data (IE: Invoice #) - I then load the
PDF
and using SharpPDF insert text into the form fields. This gives me a
sort
of "mail merge" method of creating reports. The main drawbacks are:
- I am restricted to editing the value of form elements
- Can't find a way to create an "item list" - again, think invoice with
a
list of line items.
- Still need to save the file to disk in order to display it (or print)

The other option I can think of is using GDI+ to paint the report to the
printer output. This also has the drawback of being "all code" (I can't
edit the style in a visual editor").

So my question is, how do you all generate printable
reports/forms/documents
>>in your applications? Have you found one method to be better than
another?
>>Is GDI+ painting to the printer what most people are doing?

I'm looking for a little guidance here, as it stands now I'm using a
couple
>>different methods and this has resulted in my documents all looking a
little
>>different.

Any suggestions/guidance welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Steve





Jun 19 '07 #4
Thank you for your suggestion Alex.

I will look into both these ideas. I like the idea of merging with a
document I've designed, seems more efficient. :)

-Steve

"AlexS" <sa***********@ SPAMrogers.comP LEASEwrote in message
news:OH******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP04.phx.gbl...
For small volumes (up to 10-20K documents daily maybe) you can easily
create reporting solution in MS Access or using same mail merge
functionality - with MS Word, including sublists / subreports. It is
cumbersome in some cases as user actions can crash process, but if
designed and deployed properly is quite productive and stable.

"sklett" <s@s.comwrote in message
news:uU******** ******@TK2MSFTN GP06.phx.gbl...
>>I don't have a great answer to that.

In my initial research it seemed like crystal reports might be overkill
for documents like Invoice, Sales Orders, etc. I also read something
about each client machine needing a Crystal Report runtime installed and
I wasn't sure if that meant we needed to purchase a client license?

I will research more on cyrstal reports and try to find some good
examples.

Thanks for the suggestion,
Steve
"TheSteph" <Th******@NoSpa m.comwrote in message
news:OZ******* ******@TK2MSFTN GP04.phx.gbl...
>>Why don't you use Crystal Report ?

"sklett" <sk****@mddirec t.comwrote in message
news:OA****** ********@TK2MSF TNGP04.phx.gbl. ..
I've developed an ERP application that we use internally and works
quite
well. I receiving more and more requests from users to print various
transactions , order forms, search results, etc. I haven't decided what
the
best way to do this is because I don't have much experience with
generating
printable forms.

Early on I knew one of my modules would need to print a clear report so
I
used the open source SharpPDF library to generate the PDF. It works
well
but is entirely hardcoded and requires a TON of code to generate the
PDF.
It also take quite awhile to render the PDF, too long in my opinion.
Another drawback is that I need to save the PDF to disk, then open it
and
print it.

Other options I've tried are creating a PDF in acrobat and adding "Acro
Forms" to represent the dynamic data (IE: Invoice #) - I then load the
PDF
and using SharpPDF insert text into the form fields. This gives me a
sort
of "mail merge" method of creating reports. The main drawbacks are:
- I am restricted to editing the value of form elements
- Can't find a way to create an "item list" - again, think invoice with
a
list of line items.
- Still need to save the file to disk in order to display it (or print)

The other option I can think of is using GDI+ to paint the report to
the
printer output. This also has the drawback of being "all code" (I
can't
edit the style in a visual editor").

So my question is, how do you all generate printable
reports/forms/documents
in your applications? Have you found one method to be better than
another?
Is GDI+ painting to the printer what most people are doing?

I'm looking for a little guidance here, as it stands now I'm using a
couple
different methods and this has resulted in my documents all looking a
little
different.

Any suggestions/guidance welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Steve





Jun 20 '07 #5

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