Sunday, 14 October 2007

FreshReports 0.6 is out

PUff, finally I got this paging thing working.. more or less. I have put so much effort into it, I decided to make it a new release.

In fact, I made paging work from the third attempt. First time I took the path of Need-Driven Development, as I understood it. Namely, instead of writing a functional test, I worked step by step and mocked the stuff I planned to add later. The result was a disaster -- I quickly lost all understanding of what works and what is left to be implemented yet. So, at some point I decided to hit the "delete" button.

Second time I did it better. I already had a Page class that held all the element positions in a hashtable. I was pretty sure that once an element appears in this class at a correct position, it should be printed correctly. However, I was treating "unbreakable" sections (ones that cannot be split across pages) as single elements (thus having a single entry in this hashtable). Once I had all the possible tests i could think of pass, I was pretty sure that I got it.

Well, I launched my test application and promptly discovered that everything is printed at wrong positions even if it fits on a single page!

Had to start again.

This time I decided to keep that hashtable, but now I keep all the individual elements' positions there, not sections.

This change broke about half of my tests. I suspected that my tests are a mess, but not that much. Turned out that most of them are not "unit" enough, nor integration. I remember that I should refactor my code, but I'm forgetting about refactoring my tests.

Anyway, I think I've nailed it this time. The code is very ugly at the moment, so I'm not releasing it. I'll be refactoring it as well as add some additional checks about stuff like page margins and such. Probably the next release will see the section margins as well, to get finished with the layout features. But the most important things now are grouping support and aggregates.

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