Thursday, March 27th, 2008
We're happy to announce that Strata beta 9 is now available for download. This build includes tons of bug fixes and really tightens down the interface. Here are some of the more significant items in this release:
We've had a long, winding history in trying to clearly present formatting options to a user. Formatting is mainly used in report creation, but it can also be used in a table view, for such things as coloring columns. Bottom line, there were lots of different options on the table.
In the end, we think we came up with a pretty good solution. By default, the formatting toolbar is now embedded in the report writer document view. This makes it really easy to do formatting in a report but also tucks away the formatting while using other parts of the package.
However, we really didn't want to limit the formatting to only reports, so we have an option in the View menu to show the Format Toolbar. If you turn this on, the Format toolbar will appear underneath the Boomkark Toolbar and will no longer appear in the report writer. It boils down to a toggle: either always show the format toolbar or only show it when creating reports.
So far in our testing, it seems to be working out well.
There are lots of very small items here. We've tried to tighten down the UI as much as possible with this beta. We've updated some icons, worked on a consistent nomenclature in menus and dialogs and did the work on the formatting toolbar mentioned above. There may be some other small changes here and there, but this should be pretty close to what the interface will look like when we officially release.
There's been some really great development on the report writer front. We've got a new grouping/settings panel, which should make it easier to quickly define your page layout and groups. Also, many bugs are getting squashed.
However, the big feature to fall in this version is Save to PDF. You can now create a report and go to File > Save As External to save the report to a PDF file for archiving or sharing. It is never easy to get things working with external format types, but we're delighted to see this available.
There are still a bunch of bugs in report writer that will be sorted out very soon; we appreciate your patience.
Our Options/Preferences area (Tools > Options) has gotten a big overhaul. We now have settings for popup blocking, cookie management as well as script and report preferences. There are still a few things yet to be hooked up (the Privacy tab in particular), but these will be coming online very soon.
Scripting: DOM Bindings!
We've now got DOM bindings in our scripting, which will let you programmatically interact with the web control in the scripting language and let you design forms and controls that use web widgets.
We're been craving these bindings since we originally incorporated the web browser into Strata, as it really provides a ton of power to manipulate the web and build extensions.
Stay tuned over the next month for extensions and script examples that utilize these new bindings. We're looking forward to see what ideas everyone can come up with too.