As my Macbook Pro gave up after just 4 years of service, and given that Apple removed all serious offers and retained only toys, I am back to using Windows.
But boy, our Windows integration is painful.
On the Mac, I unzip the app-bundle, drag it into “/Applications” and the OS deals with associating it with the prpt files on my disk. Launching the report-designer there feels fairly native (for the amount of work we actually did). Oh, and the JDK is installed and just works. (Well, 1.6, not that crappy Oracle thingie! That’s just buggy like hell.)
On Windows, I get a different story. I have the JDK installed. After the install, I have NOT set the JAVA_HOME, as the installer does not do that. I unzip the report-designer and end up with a directory on the disk that has a report-designer.bat file. Starting that file flashes a console window into my face. Highly technical, and totally 1980’s.
Clicking on a PRPT file in the Explorer, the Report-Designer does not start. Instead I get a dialog telling me that no application can open that file. Well, I wrote the beast, so I am sure that the report-designer can handle PRPT files. And manually fixing that is ugly. No normal user would go through that.
Its time for a change!
Using my rusty C# skills I normally only use for game-development, I created a small launcher that improves the integration of the Pentaho Fat-Clients with Windows. The launcher is simply a smarterway of invoking the batch-files we use for our products.
The launcher hides the ugly command window and deals with setting up and maintaining the file associations with the .prpt and .prpti files. And the best of all: It works for all existing Pentaho Report-Designer installations. Just drop it into any of your PRD-3.7, 3.8 or 3.9 installation and enjoy a modern experience.
This small change greatly hides the fact that our tools are not native Windows applications and makes launching them feel more native.
So download the (experimental) launcher, put it into your report-designer installation directory and give it a try. In case you encounter problems, please give me a shout here or in the Pentaho Forum so that we can iron them out quickly.
Download the Pentaho Report Designer Launcher.