Two years ago I wrote a series of quick start articles here that introduce java reports development through one of the most popular open source library JasperReports. Back then the main motivation for writing such articles was the lack of good learning materials whether blogposts, books or tutorials. I remember struggling with the documentation and digging the web looking for the best practices and avoiding the unknown limitations, it formed a drawback for using the well-known open source library for technical architects who need an assisting quick reference for decision making either to choose JasperReports or another provider according to their instant needs and also it have been a real pain for frontline developers to consider more time and effort navigating the entire web looking for a good learning reference and a professional best practices guide.
Fortunately, that is a past. Recently Bilal Siddiqui has published a new book on the topic JasperReports 3.6.0 Development Cookbook which I’ve been reviewing through the last week and found it could be useful to share my impressions.
The book consists of 9 chapters; could be divided into two parts, the first one contains three chapters covers the basics of report designing using iReport v 3.6.0 through a step-by-step guiding and a dedicated chapter for enhancing the look and feel. The second part addresses the best practices for report developing e.g. using multiple data sources, Crosstabs and graphs; and finally a chapter for wrappers and consuming external swing applications as data source.
Generally, the book is useful for the beginners either designers or developers, it provides the kick start and minimize the learning time and effort to the minimum by guiding you throughout the report designing, development, testing and integrating phases and addressing the most common problems and their solutions. However, the weak points of the book are the same reasons of its strength that it scratches the surface for a better beginner look but lacks of more advanced topics, e.g. row JRXML manipulation for more flexibility, performance best practice specially working with huge datasets and caching sub-reports, also integrating reports in web application could be useful.