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Ordinarily, you'd be at the right spot, but we've recently launched a brand new community website... For the community, by the community.

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The Future of Reports

First off, I'm really excited to announce that I've been promoted to the Core Team! My responsibility this year will basically remain the same as it was last year, and that is to focus on developing the Reports Module. I'm looking forward to getting some cool features into the Reports module before I head off to Microsoft this summer for my internship (I'll be back in the Fall, don't worry!). On that topic, its I thought I'd start talking about the Roadmap for the next version of Reports.

The last version fixed a few bugs and introduced the new Visualizers framework that allow users to select multiple different ways to view their data. My plan for the next major release is to do the same thing on the back-end by introducing a "Data Sources" framework. This framework would allow you to select from many different Data Sources instead of just the SQL Server database that your DNN installation is located on. This could be Relational data (like Oracle, other SQL Servers, etc.) or other types of data. Here are some ideas I had for Data Sources:
  • DNN Data Source (uses your current DNN Data Provider, just as in the current version)
  • ADO Data Source (uses an ADO Connection String and SQL Query to get the data from Oracle, SQL Server, Access, and many others)
  • XML Data Source (uses XQuery to select some data from an XML Document)
  • UDT Data Source (uses a User Defined Table Module on your DNN website to retrieve data)
  • and more...tell me which Data Sources you want!
Other features I'm considering include an "Integration Kit" for the Reports module. This would be a set of ASCX controls that allow you to use the Visualizers framework in your own modules. Many module have data to display, and why should these modules have to write this from scratch? The Reports module already has a framework for display all types of tabular data and by using this integration kit you can leverage any of the Visualizers that the Reports module can use.

I'm also planning on getting a minor release out sometime in the next month or so that fixes a few small issues and adds minor features. This version will also see a slight modification to the way Visualizers are written. If you are planning on developing a Visualizer, you may want to wait a few weeks until I flesh out the changes so that you can be prepared for the new version. Most of these changes are just to make it easier to write Visualizers and to pave the way for the Data Source framework.


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