Product Review: List & Label 15

Reporting tool for .NET developers

About the Product
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Website: www.combit.net 
Price: $299

Building a software solution with reports integrated into it is always a challenge for developers, to enable end users to effectively use an application independently with minimum effort. As I discussed in a review of List & Label 14, combit's reporting product provides a number of key features that make it easier for .NET developers to add reporting to applications. In this article, I review the latest version, List & Label 15, which combit released in December 2009.

List & Label 15 Key Features
The installation process for List & Label 15 is similar to that of the previous versions, and the required controls will be automatically added to the Visual Studio Toolbox.

A key feature of the latest version (www.combit.net/en/reporting-tool/report-generator-List-Label) is that it provides support for drill-down reporting, as shown below, which means the user clicks step-by-step down to the final page. This feature enables users to view reports in a new window or inside the additional tab as per their requirements. This feature should help end users to view reports in the orientation they prefer.

List & Label 15 also enables databases to be accessed directly with minimal queries and provides support for SQL Server, Oracle, MySql, Postgres, OleDb, XML, LINQ, and ADO.NET. It also enables you to add additional libraries for databases through open interfaces and view the reports in PDF format in a rich and improved format. The product is fully compatible with Visual Studio 2010 beta 2, as of the time this review was written, and is also optimized for Windows 7, as shown in the screenshot below.

List & Label 15 can perform calculations rounded to 50 decimal places, which can be incremented to any higher precision. The product ships with a wide range of mathematical functions, such as the ability to print reports using high- and low-quality printers simultaneously in a single print job. The product provides support for GS1 bar code and different flavors of GS1 data bars, such as Basic, Expanded, Limited, Stacked, Stacked Omni, Truncated, and Composite.

In addition to English, the designer language kit is available in German, French, Italian, and Spanish. Moreover, combit has recently released eight more language kits (www.combit.net/en/reporting-tool/report-generator-List-Label-international), which are available for download as a service pack for those customers who hold a valid enterprise edition license.
 
I would suggest that combit release a .NET-specific version of List & Label 15 so that developers need not have to install controls oriented for other programming languages. The product team should provide the documentation in HTML Help Format rather than in a PDF, which would help developers keep track of the content easily. Several video demonstrations are available for download from the website, which should be of immense use for developers, especially beginners.

From my point of view, List & Label 15 provides immense possibilities for building rich and compelling .NET-based reporting applications. It's up to the developer to take maximum advantage of the product by incorporating the core features into their projects.

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