Smokin’ new Parameter: Formulas, Hidden Parameters, and relaxed Validation

With Citrus, we added static parameters. Although this already brought us closer to our goal to total world domination for our reporting tool (Ya know, you have to have some small goals to make a life worthwhile) it is not enough to solve the more complex problems. Therefore, the Lemonade release pushes the frontier a bit further and allows a whole range of new features.

Hidden Parameters

By selecting a tiny little check-box, parameters can now be excluded from the UI-generation. The parameter itself still behaves like any other parameter and thus takes part in the formula-calculations and is part of the validation.

Parameter Validation can be loosened

When this flag is set to false, the validator will accept other values than the ones that have been specified in a list-parameter. With relaxed validation, you can easily write WHERE conditions, that accept partial matches or contain “LIKE” clauses. For the sake of security, we none-the-less default this feature to strict-checks.


Every List-Parameter can now have computed display-texts. This way, you are no longer limited by what your datasource can produce, and even a simple data-source like an XML file or a static table-datasource can produce better looking prompts.

Post-Processing Formula

A post-processing formula processes the parameter-input before it gets validated or passed into the report. The post-processing can either be defined on the parameter itself or can be defined as an extra field by using a hidden parameter. The computed value will still be validated by the engine and thus using formula’s does not necessarily mean you have to fear that illegal input comes through. Formulas allow you to access runtime information, like the current user’s roles or the user’s name via the ENV(..) function.

All these features are available in the CI-build. To make use of them in the platform, you will have to upgrade the reporting-engine and the reporting-plugin of the 3.5-GA BI-server.

Next stop: Dynamic mondrian roles and dynamic security information for JDBC datasources.

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About Thomas

After working as all-hands guy and lead developer on Pentaho Reporting for over an decade, I have learned a thing or two about report generation, layouting and general BI practices. I have witnessed the remarkable growth of Pentaho Reporting from a small niche product to a enterprise class Business Intelligence product. This blog documents my own perspective on Pentaho Reporting's development process and our our steps towards upcoming releases.

3 thoughts on “Smokin’ new Parameter: Formulas, Hidden Parameters, and relaxed Validation

  1. Phil

    What do you have to replace from the latest CI build to get PRD up to the latest version?

    Replacing 3.5.0-GA BI-Servers’ versions of pentaho-reporting-engine-classic-core-3.5.0-GA.jar and pentaho-reporting-engine-classic-core-platform-plugin-3.5.0.stable.jar with those from hudson didn’t work for me.

  2. Thomas

    Hmm .. it is the easiest to just pull the latest CI-build of the server as well. There was also a bugfix for libloader that required changes to the old jfreereport-component code as well.

    You need to upgrade all the reporting-engine-*.jar files, the various reporting libraries (lib*.jar, like libloader, libfonts etc), the reporting-plugin and last but not least the bi-server’s plugin-action-components.jar (which contains the legacy jfreereport-component).

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