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Task 5:  Lay out the report

In this procedure, you insert elements in the report page to display the data from the data set that you created previously. You start by inserting a table element, then you insert data elements in the table. It is important to understand the functionality that the table provides. The table:

Drag a table element from the palette, and drop it in the report in the layout editor. Insert Table prompts you to specify the number of columns and detail rows to create for the table. The dialog also prompts you to select a data set to bind with the table.
Choose OK. A table appears in the layout editor.
In Data Explorer, expand Data Sets, then expand Customers. The columns that you specified in the query appear below Customers.
Drag CUSTOMERNAME from Data Explorer, and drop it in the first cell in the table’s detail row, as shown in Figure 1-14. The detail row displays the main data in the report. In the generated report, the detail row repeats to display all the data rows from the data set.

Figure 1-15 Dragging a column from Data Explorer, and dropping it in a table cell

Figure 1-14  Dragging a column from Data Explorer, and dropping it in a table cell
In the layout editor, the table cell in which you dropped the CUSTOMERNAME field contains a data element that displays [CUSTOMERNAME]. Above this data element is a label element that the layout editor automatically added to the header row. This label displays the field name as static text. It serves as the column heading. Figure 1-15 shows the data and label elements.

Figure 1-16 Data and label elements in a table

Figure 1-15  Data and label elements in a table
Drag CONTACTLASTNAME, and drop it in the third cell in the detail row, below CONTACTFIRSTNAME. The report page should look like the one shown in Figure 1-16.

Figure 1-17 Customer and contact information added to a table

Figure 1-16  Customer and contact information added to a table
Choose Preview, the tab at the bottom of the layout editor. BIRT Report Designer generates and displays the report in HTML format, as shown in Figure 1-17. Scroll down to see the entire report.
As Figure 1-17 shows, the data is correct, but it appears in random order. It makes more sense to sort the data alphabetically by customer name. The report’s appearance also needs improvement.

Figure 1-18 Preview of report data

Figure 1-17  Preview of report data

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