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UI for Database that prints to pre-printed forms

Initially posted to the wrong discussion group. As a Delphi developer, I am presently working on a database program whereby an end user may apply and print database values to a number of preselected pre-printed forms. To this end, the end user selects a view containing only those fields that are to be printed to the pre-printed form. With this in mind and as long as the database field values print to the preprinted forms as intended, is it important or even necessary to provide the end user with a WYSIWYG preview? I mention this as it may be difficult to provide a background image of the pre-printed form showing the database field values prior to printing. Any suggestions or comments regarding this subject matter are appreciated.

Marty Potokar
Thursday, December 12, 2002

For any database printing I would recommend a reporting tool. It provides you with drag and drop report designers and you has the preview capability build in.

For Delphi ReportBuilder is really good but a bit pricey. You can download a trial version to see if it fits your needs:

http://www.digital-metaphors.com/

About if your customer needs it: I would like it, but you better ask your customer.

Jan Derk
Thursday, December 12, 2002

For a cheap but yet powerful report engine, have a look at FastREPORT (mirror www.fastreport.org).
It's ony 99$ with end user designer, and next year is coming version 3.0 with much more power on it.
You can put a "background" image on the report, but beware that A4 bitmaps can be really huge. Moreover it's difficoult for the end-user fine position the database fields because you have to consider printer margins too... I've tried something like that but I gave up.

Marco Menardi
Monday, December 16, 2002

You might also take a look at Adobe Acrobat v5 with their "interactive forms."  I'm doing a project (in Java, alas, much rather be in Delphi) related to filling out Acrobat interactive PDF's from databases.  Using PDF solves the display problems and creates universally printable output.  Project JEDI could help with the API's if you could interest someone in taking it on.

Eric S. Fisher
Tuesday, December 17, 2002

You should use the Sample image for every reports that user can select. Assuming you have the number of reports above 10, Sample Image can help the new user to find the required view. Sample Image might contain the sample data not from the current database.

Andrew Yashchuk
Monday, December 23, 2002

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