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Rpt. from the other xTuple Project
We tend to put a lot of emphasis on xTuple ERP here since that is clearly the most influential project we sponsor as indicated by its consistent #1 ranking on Source Forge (yes, that's right... #1 of over 240,000 projects). My recent kudos to the many xTuple contributors were focused almost exclusively on the PostBooks project. However, I also need to give praise where it is due to major contributors of the original xTuple open source project: OpenRPT. Open source contributor Ilya Diallo contributed print preview capability to OpenRPT and superstar full time developer Chris Ryan both wrote and rewrote OpenRPT almost entirely. Both efforts have a significant impact on xTuple ERP 3.6.
For those of you who don't know, OpenRPT is the xTuple sponsored graphical report writer and renderer tool that is a cornerstone of xTuple ERP. It is an open source counterpart to Crystal Reports, and could also be considered an alternative to Java based Jasper Reports that doesn't have the proprietary dependancies of either of them. Amazingly, Chris did the original write of OpenRPT single handedly.
Since that original write, OpenRPT was put on Source Forge as a GPL project that was later relicensed as LGPL. Since then, we've had a few community members jump in and embellish it with various features, but surely the most significant was Ilya's contribution of print preview pictured below:
While print preview may sound like a given, until Ilya made that contribution your only option to render a report was to print it out to paper, or a 3rd party PDF printer on your local machine. This new feature was made available in the embedded designer in xTuple ERP in fairly short order where it continues to work today. However, we have long wanted to propagate print preview throughout xTuple ERP report windows that most every day users work with, but first some housekeeping was required. In late 2009 Chris re-wrote OpenRPT to jettison Qt 3 legacy code in favor of Qt 4 canvas based techniques, and while doing so gave it a new updated look and some more advanced control of header and footer areas as pictured below:
Most recently in the xTuple ERP 3.6 development cycle, Chris created a new "display" subclass in xTuple which all report windows will share. Well over 250 windows have been converted to use this class. By doing that it became a simple matter to add a "Preview" button to the common display class and Presto! all windows now have a print preview mode. It doesn't hurt either that we eliminated over 50,000 lines of code along the way.
So back to Ilya, he continues to be busy on OpenRPT having committed over two dozen fixes and features, many of which will be in xTuple ERP 3.6.0 which should be going into beta this week. The Undo/Redo feature is one of my favorites. He is also an active community member on our forums and as such is the perfect role model of our ideal contributor because he openly discusses his intentions before he gets started. Because of our comfort level with this, we have given him direct commit rights to OpenRPT which saves both us and him a lot of time getting things done.
I want to publicly thank Chris and Ilya for all their hard work on OpenRPT and highlight the important point that the beauty of open source is you don't have to be a full timer employed by xTuple to have a meaningful impact on our projects and the community.
Note: If you want to learn more about OpenRPT you can review online resources purchase a copy of the manual at the xChange online store, or attend an xTuple training course. Also, rumor has it that a Webinar is in the works for OpenRPT training as well. Drop us a line if you are interested!