Introduction to Scripts with the Plant 3D Report Creator

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Report Creator Scripts

Recently in a training class, I found out that you can use script with the Report Creator.  A user asked how to convert decimal numbers to feet and inches, and while seeing how the 3D Parts report was setup, I ran into scripts.

Scripts lie in a gray area about half-way between real programming and advanced users functionality.  They’re typically too loosely developed (no strict, architecture) to be considered development, but too technical for most users. Incidentally, that’s where a lot of us get into development, because we learn how to harness script power.

The report creator is built from a set of tools developed by a company called DevExpress.  DevExpress makes a living by building development tools.  Companies like Autodesk buy developer tools because it’s much cheaper than writing it themselves, and generally provides broader features and more stability.  It’s a great way to add a lot of functionality by doing a minimal amount of work.

Dev Express provides documentation on the report creatore here: http://docs.autodesk.com/PLNT3D/2013/ENU/report_designer.pdf

The documentation for the api is here: http://documentation.devexpress.com/#XtraReports/clsDevExpressXtraReportsUIXtraReporttopic

The search bar on the api documentation works well, so be sure to use that if you can’t navigate to an object.

Generally, the script functionality is limited to reacting to specific events which is perfect for us.

Scripts can be written in a variety of languages like C#, Visual Basic, or J# (Report Designer, p. 296).

We will look at using scripts with the report creator in the next couple of posts as we learn how to add a row number to bill of material items, and how to format decimal numbers to feet and inches.

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