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Access-like Reporting in .NET

I’m working on a project that involves converting an Access application to .NET. For the reporting piece of the application I’ve selected ComponentOne’s Report for WinForms Designer Edition, as I need to both convert several existing reports and provide an environment for users to create their own reports.

It is too early to say whether or not end-users will be satisfied with the results; I haven’t yet delivered that part of the project. I can say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Access Report Import capability. While it isn’t perfect, it has been doing a reasonable job of importing the existing reports and converting them to the new format. I still have to do some clean-up work for things like specialized phone number formatting logic, but otherwise it hasn’t been too painful.

I have run into a few problems I haven’t quite figured out yet, but I’m relatively confident that I’ll be able to address most of them. The big question is: will my customer’s users find it as easy to work with the new application as they were with Microsoft Access? I hope so.

I’m starting to wonder if I should focus more on reporting services. I have experience with ActiveReports, SQL Server Reporting Services, and now ComponentOne’s tool. I have also worked with Crystal Reports, but that experience is almost ten years old. (Geez, how time flies!)

I actually enjoy creating more sophisticated reports. I wouldn’t want to do it full-time, but non-trivial reports can be interesting, and it is great to see people actually use all that data that they’ve entered.

Posted by Avonelle on Saturday, March 28, 2009.

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