JasperReports Tips

JasperReports is a java based open source reporting framework with similar, if not more, functionality to that of Crystal Reports. There is a visual report designer called iReport, but my experience of using it for anything but the simplest report has been a waste. It is useful for dragging and dropping report layouts around, but once you get the hang of it, it’s far easier to do it directly in XML.

Documentation is available, but it’s quite often difficult to get simple answers via a google search – as is possible for most open source software. The current books also lack good examples when they explain some of the more powerful features. Simple things like, I don’t want my report to have nulls printed on it, what are my options are suprisingly awkward to locate! My own, FAQs …

  • Null values in reports, what can I do?

    If you want to replace the null value with a blank entry this is easy to achieve with the isBlankWhenNull attribute of textField

    <textField isBlankWhenNull="true"> ... </textField>

    If you need to replace the null value with something else, you can do this directly in the report as shown below. Using the ternary operator the GROUP_NAME field is checked for a null, if it is null the text None is used instead.

    <textFieldExpression>(($F{GROUP_NAME} != null) ? $F{GROUP_NAME} : "None")</textFieldExpression>
  • How to add a row count?

    If you need a row count and don’t want to add unnecessary fields into the SQL statement you can use a variable. Straight after your field definitions include the following, assuming you have a field named USER_NAME in your fied definitions!

    <variable name="row_count" class="java.lang.Integer" calculation="Count">
        <initialValueExpression><![CDATA[new java.lang.Integer(0)]]></initialValueExpression>

    This can be used in the report as follow

        <reportElement x="0" y="0" width="30" height="20"/>
        <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.Integer"><![CDATA[$V{row_count}]]></textFieldExpression>
  • Highlight certain rows depending on the value of other data?

    If you need to highlight some text, the trick is to create two versions of the textField that displays it and use the <printWhenExpression> tag to determine which one displays the text. The below example highlight in red if the PASS_DATE field is null.

    <!-- main textField -->
        <reportElement x="466" y="0" width="228" height="20">
            <printWhenExpression>new Boolean($F{PASS_DATE} != null)</printWhenExpression>
        <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.String"><![CDATA[$F{USER_NAME}]]></textFieldExpression>
    <!-- highlight textField -->
        <reportElement x="466" y="0" width="228" height="20" forecolor="red">
            <printWhenExpression>new Boolean($F{PASS_DATE} == null)</printWhenExpression>
        <textFieldExpression class="java.lang.String"><![CDATA[$F{USER_NAME}]]></textFieldExpression>

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