I haven't touched the reporting module in a while (probably since 2018 or earlier) because I've been mostly using Eclipse BIRT or SSRS/PowerBI for various jobs. I used it recently and I was very impressed with how far it's come!
That being said, as I'm working on my current project with Ignition reporting I kept a list of some minor things that I think could be easily done to make big improvements in the UI. I wanted to post them here to start a discussion, but I'll probably take this over to https://ideas.inductiveautomation.com/ once I flesh it out a bit more.
Ignition Reporting Improvements
- "Edit Text" panel on Text Box component mimics text color property, which is cool unless you choose white for your text color because then you can't see it
- Some kind of Format Copy/Paste function would be awesome. I'm thinking of something like the format painter tool in word
- Multiple Item Selection and Edit Multiple Properties Together
- Control + D to duplicate just like vision/perspective in designer
- Expression Editor on "bound" fields. Right now I'm copy/pasting to VSCode to change expressions because I can't read them in the property tree.
- This is more long-term, but integrating Ignition's expression language into Report Smith would be very nice...
- Edit "Master" font and have that ripple down to all new components
- Master page so I can setup a common header/footer. Right now I'm copying them to every new page
- Right click context menu to Copy/Paste Bindings
- Vertical Align Middle by default on table headers?
- XML code folding in data preview (I'm copying this to VSCode just so I can collapse a dataset and look at the 2nd or 3rd without having to scroll for 20 minutes)
- I feel like patterns in DataKeys are inconsistent. @Dataset.Col vs @Col vs Col and it's confusing to know which pattern to use in which context... This is more of a minor gripe because I don't think there's anything Ignition developers can do about this.
I’m not sure exactly why, but when I can’t right click on most-anything in the report module it really frustrates my brain.
I’m so used to perspective and interacting with it, that not having context menus drives me wild!
I have a ton of clients that want perspective pages sent out as reports. I’m torn, because I feel like the ability to programmatically load and request a Perspective page as PDF would make this so much easier than duplicating work developing Pages/Reports. However, it would also make the reporting module difficult to justify in a gateway with Perspective.
Indeed, though the reporting module is quite advanced and versatile, it has become quite complex to use in my limited experience. Understandably its quite ambitious to expect all the features of a fully-fledged reporting application like PowerBI , and others mentioned above, to be present in a scada package. Though this module supports many reporting features built into it out of box and its one of the most differentiating factors of Ignition from other scada platforms. Some packages only allow you to export the data in EXCEL sheets and you have to do all reports in EXCEL!
I've tried a few HTML-to-PDF converters. Hardly any of them understood very much CSS. You'd need a virtual browser and all of its accoutrements in the gateway. Don't hold your breath.
Is this not already mostly present with the implementation of JXBrowser that you design perspective views in anyway?
I feel like patterns in DataKeys are inconsistent. @Dataset.Col vs @Col vs Col and it's confusing to know which pattern to use in which context... This is more of a minor gripe because I don't think there's anything Ignition developers can do about this.
We purchased the source code, so we could do something. But tbh, it would be an insane amount of work with very high risk of breaking things.
Yeah I totally understand that - keeping things backwards compatible while making a change like this would be very very difficult I expect.
I'm excited you guys own the source code!
I've done some reports in Ignition using Java's POI library and they've been alright - just takes a lot of python scripting. I've used packages like XLReporter in the past and they're just not nearly as reliable as I'd like. Honestly I don't think they're powerful enough to do some of the cross-tab/repeating trend/table reports that we've done in the past either, but they're nice for simple reports.
JxBrowser isn't loaded in gateway scope. Gateway scope doesn't load Swing or any other java UI elements for JxBrowser to run in. You are asking for IA to re-implement its old mobile module environment. That was abandoned for good reason.