Product rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.combit.net/en
Price: Starts from $804

Reporting is one of the most crucial features in a software/web development project. It's important, then that the software used to create reports in your application enable report output to be generated quickly. Visual Studio 2010 provides Crystal Reports, but it doesn't provide all the reporting features that advanced developers require.

List & Label 16, developed by combit, a company based in Germany, ships with libraries for generating reports with a wide range of features. Since I last reviewed the List & Label product, combit has added several features in the latest build. I'll take a look at this version, List & Label 16, here.

List & Label 16 ships with support for in-place text formatting, which enables you to edit content simply by clicking on the text once. When the text is clicked, a mini toolbar appears, which you can use to perform text-related operations. List & Label 16 also includes support for direct table processing, a chart dialog with preview, a cross-table with pivot function, and object lists with relevant icons.

Easy Editing
List & Label 16 also enables you to zoom reports continuously until you become comfortable with viewing, a feature that should help users to closely examine a report's contents. List and Label 16 also has added a search feature to report previewing, so that you can perform search while previewing the generated report.

Two new gauges have been added in List & Label 16: a circular gauge and a semi-circular gauge, both of which look similar to a speedometer with scales, as Figure 1 shows.

 

Figure 1: Gauges in List & Label 16
Figure 1: Gauges in List & Label 16


List & Label 16 ships with several new API functions that let you transfer fields and variables in different languages to the designer interface. You can export reports in XHTML, CSS, and PNG formats. List & Label 16 also provides support for a new bar code mechanism that is completely compatible with USPS standards.

 

List & Label 16 enables you to easily connect to the database without any need to write single line of code and includes support for several databases. The product also provides support for Visual Studio 2010 client profile and integrates with the TX Text Control component.

List & Label 16 enables you to adjust columns proportionately and provides a great visual insight in which objects are marked in an active multi selection. The product includes several new designer functions, and user variables can be evaluated sequentially rather than alphabetical order as in the previous version.

Extensive Support
combit provides excellent support, through both comprehensive documentation in PDF format that contains special references to the new features introduced in the latest version and through email, knowledge base articles, discussion forums, and video demonstrations. The extensive support should help beginners get started using List & Label 16 quickly. I would like to see the vendor release an express version of the product at a reduced cost, to make this useful product available to developers on a tight budget.

Although List & Label 16 is an advanced reporting tool, once you've mastered its usage (with the help of the extensive documentation), you'll probably find it easy to use to integrate reports into your .NET applications.

 

Anand Narayanaswamy (visualanand@gmail.com) is a Microsoft MVP and ASPInsider who works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India. He is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing) and runs www.learnxpress.com and www.dotnetalbum.com.