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The primary feature set of the Version 4.2 release is focused on support for mobile devices. The support for mobile falls into two categories: Tablets and Smartphones. We make the distinction here based on the “footprint” of screen real estate that is available for end users.
Tablets have a sufficient screen footprint to provide a near identical user interface to notebook and desktop screens. Based on demand from our customers, partners, and general market trends, the Version 4.2 release offers support for the iPad. Supporting the Safari browser, the user can connect to the Jaspersoft server, with access to all features that are seen other platforms. The focus for the iPad experience though is focused on end user consumption of Reports, Dashboards, and Ad Hoc Analysis. A key point about the screen of the iPad is its 1024x768 resolution; while this is a lower end resolution that is still used in practice by many users' laptop/desktop screens, it does cause the need for more scrolling on wide or long reports. Dashboards are typically designed for no or minimal scrolling, so when making your reports and Dashboards available to end users, you should check to see if any tuning is needed for the 1024x768 screen size.
With touch enablement, the user can select items with most mouse oriented features to navigate, and scroll through data. One feature found on mouse navigation is drag & drop, which is a key feature of the Ad Hoc Analysis UI. Support for drag & drop actions are a bit more tricky on touch devices because of conflicts with their drag orientation of page scrolling. In Version 4.2, the Ad Hoc UI drag & drop operation is not available, however, fields can be moved into row and column orientations via context menus. While touch conventions and support provided by the iOS are still evolving, the Jaspersoft product team continues to look at ways to improve the feature set and drag & drop type operations. When using Jaspersoft on the iPad, you should also note that the latest version of the iOS is needed, at the time of release, this was version 4.3.3 or higher. The following touch conventions are enabled on the Version 4.2 release:
- Single tap to select
- Finger drag for scrolling
- Two finger tap to bring up context menu
- Double tap to open folders in tree views
- Double tap to open the context menu of cells in Ad Hoc tables
The second part of Jaspersoft’s mobile offering is native app support. The screen footprint of the Smartphones makes browser based viewing difficult and drives the need for “native” applications. Jaspersoft provides a complete environment for BI Builders to create functionally rich, embedded applications. Version 4.2 now offers a set of REST based APIs for mobile development. These modular, lightweight APIs are optimal for development on mobile devices. A mobile SDK is available at http://jasperforge.org/projects/mobile. The SDK provides the basic REST API set, as well as an Objective-C client to speed development for the iPhone. Jaspersoft has also made a sample iPhone app available that showcases how some of the basic reporting features are implemented with the APIs. The iPhone sample app can be download from the Apple store.
What Else is New in Version 4.2?
While the Version 4.2 is focused on improved Mobile support, there are other noteworthy items:
- The ability for the user to perform more Advanced Filtering in the Ad Hoc UI. The user now has the ability to enter filter expressions that support AND/OR Linking with parenthetical nesting. This new capability also lets the user create multiple filters on the same field, letting the user form questions about their data that was not previously possible.
- Interactive HTML reports - Using JasperReports Server, you can now create and publish reports that allow users to sort or filter in the browser. Users click to modify these reports on-the-fly. Interactivity is available for all reports that use the table component.
Each new Jaspersoft release typically includes certification for new platforms. Version 4.2 picks up certifications for: Tomcat 7, Weblogic 10.4.3 (support for 10.3.1 has is dropped), MySQL 5.5 as a data source, and Netezza 6. While 4.2 continues to support all previously supported database configurations, the database that is bundled with the default Jaspersoft installation has switched from MySQL to PostgreSQL. Please note that Version 4.2 will be the last release that is certified for Java 1.5. The next release, currently planned for end of 2011, will support Java 1.6 or higher.
Any comments or questions? The Jaspersoft product team is always interested in your feedback, drop us a note: email@example.com