The main window of the designer is divided in 3 areas:
1. On the left side there are 2 views:
View 1 (left-top) is the Project explorer where the
reports and the test files are located
View 2 (left-bottom) is the object outline of the
currently open report. The outline provides an overview of the
structure and content of the report.
2. On the middle view (3) is located the report editor. Next to it (4)
is the tools palette. Note if the palette is not visible you need to
click on this icon:
3. On the right view (4) the properties of the selected object will be
The properties view
The properties view on the right side of the window will display the
properties of the selected object grouped by section.
The selected object can be:
the report fields
Areas and fields can be selected in the editor. For example you select
an area by selecting the ruler (blue or grey header) or the area
background. You can also select the area in the outline view.
you select an object and view the properties by click on the field:
Report and master properties can only be displayed by
selecting them in the Outline view.
XML Schema folder
In the schema folder of the project
you can load the schema for the report. In the XML schema you have a
tree structure which contains all possible elements of the input XML
document.The schema file will be needed for the XPATH editor.
You need to load the schema into the folder by using the Settings tab
of the editor and the „load schema“ button. Do not copy the schema
file manually in the the folder, always use the button,
The XML test files folder
This folder contains the XML file that can be used for testing the
there can be one or several file in the folder. You can add files in
windows by using copy and pastefrom
In order to use a file for testing the report you need to select the
file in the report editor, setting tab.
Loaded files can be edited by double clicking on them:
Note however, the designer will not check the validity of the XML nodes
you create or import, that is, you can create nodes that are not part of
the schema or you can create them in the wrong sequence or position.
The editor view
By double clicking on the xre file in the project you open the
The ruler region. Click on this to display the properties of the
area in the properties view.
The ruler contains the name of the area and the XML node element that
has been assigned to the area:
The work panel itself. In this panel you place the fields and other
objects of the template. In order to add an object you select one of
the tools from the palette and drag it the position of the work area
where you want to add the object.
To resize an area (the height of it) you can click on the area
background and move the area anchors up and down. Note in order to
change the width you must change the margins of the report.
The editor has 3 additions tabs
the XSLT Code: will display the generated xsl code. This
is the code that will be exported.
the FO code: will display the generated FO (code). That is
the result of applying the XML test file to the XSLT code. Here you
can see the code with the test data instead of Xpaths expressions.
The settings tab is used to select the schema file and the
active test file.
Both the XSLT code and the FO Code will always highlight the
currently selected object so you can check the generated code. In the
example below the object „ProductName“ has been selected.
The tools palette next to the editor contains all the objects that
can be placed in the report these are:
text field. Drag this
field to the area in order to create a new output text
combo box object. Select this tool to add a
combo box. A combo box is a list of pairs key/value. The
value in the input XML document will be used as key to
find the value in the list. The value will be output in
the PDF document.
Memo field for rich text content
image object. Select this tool to add an image
to the template.
line object. Select this tool to add an
Border box. Create a
barcode object. Select this tool to add a 1D or
2D barcode. Note the designer includes the evaluation
version of the barcoding components. This
component requires the suite or enterprise license.
chart object. Select this tool to add a chart
to the report. Note the designer includes the evaluation
version of the charting component. This component
requires the suite or enterprise license.
Link object. Use this object to add www links
to your report. The value field can be a constant value
or a XPath expression, it represents the www link. The
"Link label" field will be the displayed value in the
report, if empty the http link will be used. As example
Free code object. Use this object to place you
own XSL-FO in the output of the report.
Database user administration (enterprise license
Open report from database
Open previous version of report from the database
this button generates the XSL-FO output for the
document. This output can then be used in your runtime
environment, using Apache FOP. Note this button might be
disabled in the evaluation version.
save template to database (overwrite current
save template to database and create new version
this button generates a PDF file using the current template.
This button requires that you have loaded a test XML
document in the test data panel. After generating the PDF
document you have the option to open it manually or let the
designer open the PDF document for you
this button to analyze the creation of the PDF file. This is
a tool to assist debugging the PDF generation by tracing
step by step the evaluation of the XPath expressions in the
report. See the „Structure of the template“ chapter for a
detailed description of this functionality.
this button generates a PDF file using the current
template. This button requires that you have loaded a test
XML document in the setting tab. After generating the PDF
document it will be opened using the system‘s default
the PDF file using a remote FOP server (J4L FOP Server or APEX
Listener/Rest Data Services). See preferences window.
the Excel file using the J4L Cloud FOP Server. See preferences
Zoom editor work area
Toogle report‘s grid
Working with the
You can work with the project on the file system however you can also
use the database. If you are working in a enterprise environment it can
be useful using a central database.
By default FO Designer will use the local database (db subdirectory of
the installation) however for team work you would probably use a central
database (installed as part of the J4L FO Server). This can be setup it
the Windows→preferences dialog. A central database can be set in the
enterprise version (license) only.
use the button for connecting to the database, the default user and password
for the local installation are admin/admin
Once connected to the database you will be able save your projects:
The xre file will be saved in the database
together with the currently selected schema (in the report`s
XML test files must be saved separately using the context menu:
Note files saved to the database have the database icon, the update of
the icon is however not immediate.
The button should be used to retrieve projects in the database , the
following screenshot shows the open report dialog:
Finally the user administration button can be used in a team work environment
The designer can keep track of the different versions of your templates
by using a versioning system. Furthermore it keeps track of the
modification date and the user that made the changes.
You use this button to save your current template to the database and overwrite
the current version.
You use this other button to save the template to database creating a new version.
Whenever you want to open a template, the system always proposes the
last version. As in this example it proposes version 2 for the
You can however open an previous version of the currently open
template using the button
. In the example below you would be opening version 1
A more powerful alternative to our central database is using Apache
which is a generic tool for code management. If your enterprise is
already using subversion, this section will show how to install the
plugin for the FO Designer.