How to use Online Designer with the FastReport Open Source library in the ASP .NET Core + React project

FastReport Open Source is a free product and does not include online report designer. However, you can purchase it separately and use it in conjunction with FastReport Open Source. In this article we will look at the way to do this in a project with a server part on ASP .Net Core MVC, and the client part on ReactJS.

Preparation
Before you start building an application, you need to be sure that you have Node.JS and .Net Core SDK 2.0 or higher installed. If you use Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 for development, the SDK is already installed.
Create the application
You can create the application with one command. Move to the folder where you want to create a project, call the context menu using the shift button and right-click. Next, select the command line in the menu. At the command prompt, enter the command:
dotnet new react –o ReactFROSDesigner.
After that, the ReactFROSDesigner project will be created in the current folder. Open it in Visual Studio.
Add packages
To display the report designer, you need a WebReport object from the FastReport.OpenSource.Web library. Open the NuGet package manager and select the package source nuget.org. Find FastReport packages using the search and install two of them:
·         FastReport.OpenSource;
·         FastReport.OpenSource.Web;
In order to make libraries work, you need to add one line of code in the Startup.cs file:
public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IHostingEnvironment env)
        {
            app.UseFastReport();
            
       }
Add reports to the project
To upload a report template to an online designer, you need to add it to the project, as well as the data source for it. In our case, the data source is a XMD database. Create an App_Data folder and using the mouse drag and drop a report template and a database into it.
Create a controller
In the created application there is already one controller - SampleDataController. Add a couple of web methods to it:

using FastReport.Web;
using System.IO;
[HttpGet("[action]")]
        public IActionResult Design()
        {
            WebReport WebReport = new WebReport();
            WebReport.Width = "1000";
            WebReport.Height = "1000";
            WebReport.Report.Load("App_Data/Master-Detail.frx"); // Load the report into the WebReport object
            System.Data.DataSet dataSet = new System.Data.DataSet(); // Create a data source
            dataSet.ReadXml("App_Data/nwind.xml");  // Open the xml database
            WebReport.Report.RegisterData(dataSet, "NorthWind"); // Register the data source in the report

            WebReport.Mode = WebReportMode.Designer; // Set the web report object mode - designer display
            WebReport.DesignerLocale = "en";
            WebReport.DesignerPath = @"WebReportDesigner/index.html"; // Set the URL of the online designer
            WebReport.DesignerSaveCallBack = @"api/SampleData/SaveDesignedReport"; // Set the view URL for the report save method
            WebReport.Debug = true;
            ViewBag.WebReport = WebReport; // Pass the report to View
            return View();
        }

        [HttpPost("[action]")]
        public IActionResult SaveDesignedReport(string reportID, string reportUUID)
        {
            ViewBag.Message = String.Format("Confirmed {0} {1}", reportID, reportUUID); // Set the message for representation

            Stream reportForSave = Request.Body; // Write the result of the Post request to the stream.
            string pathToSave = @"App_Data/TestReport.frx"; // Get the path to save the file
            using (FileStream file = new FileStream(pathToSave, FileMode.Create)) // Create a file stream
            {
                reportForSave.CopyTo(file); // Save query result to file
            }
            return View();
        }
The first Design method creates a web report object, a data source, sets the design mode and settings for the paths to the report designer and the report saving method.
The second method - SaveDesignedReport handles callback events of pressing the “Save” button in the online designer. The report will be saved to the App_Data folder on the server.
Create views
Now we need to create views for our web methods. The idea is to use a regular ASP .Net Core MVC application as a backend.
Add the Views folder to the project root. Let's go back to the controller. Right-click on the signature of the Design method and select Add view. Just click OK. In the created view, we replace the entire code with:
@await ViewBag.WebReport.Render()
In the same way we create a view for the SaveDesignedReport method.
For him, the content is even simpler:
@ViewBag.Message
You should get this hierarchy:


Client part
We proceed to the implementation of the client side. Due to the fact that we have created a demo application, the entire structure of the client application is ready for us. We just need to edit some files and add our component. Let's start with it. In the project manager, find the ClientApp folder. Drill down it in a tree. Next, open the src and components folder. Here you need to add a new JavaScript file, let's call it Designer.js. Consider the contents of this file:

import React, { PureComponent } from 'react';

export class Designer extends PureComponent {
    constructor(props) {
        super(props);
        this.state = { content: '', loading: true };
        fetch('api/SampleData/Design', { mode: 'cors' })
            .then(response => response.text())
            .then(data => {
                this.setState({ content: data, loading: false });
            });
    }

    static renderContent(content) {
        return (
            <div dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{ __html: content }} />           
        )
    }

    render() {
        let contents = this.state.loading
            ? <p><em>Loading...</em></p>
            : Designer.renderContent(this.state.content);


        return (
            <div>
                {contents}
            </div>
        );
    }
}
In the class constructor, we declare states and execute a fetch that will make a ‘get’ request to the server to get the data.
The static renderContent method receives the request response to the server and converts it to secure html, so that React can embed this code into the DOM.
Next, the render function displays the result of the static renderContent method.
Now you need to embed the created component into the existing page structure. Editing the NavMenu.js file:
export class NavMenu extends Component {
  displayName = NavMenu.name

  render() {
    return (
      <Navbar inverse fixedTop fluid collapseOnSelect>
        <Navbar.Header>
          <Navbar.Brand>
            <Link to={'/'}>ReactFROSDesigner</Link>
          </Navbar.Brand>
          <Navbar.Toggle />
            </Navbar.Header>  
            <Navbar.Collapse>
                <Nav>
                    <LinkContainer to={'/designer'}>
                        <NavItem>
                            Designer
              </NavItem>
                    </LinkContainer>
                </Nav>
            </Navbar.Collapse>
      </Navbar>
    );
  }
}
And another file - App.js:
import { Designer } from './components/Designer';

export default class App extends Component {
  displayName = App.name

  render() {
    return (
      <Layout>
            <Route path='/designer' component={Designer} />
      </Layout>
    );
  }
}
That's all. Now we can start our application and make sure that it works:
Go to the Report tab and click the Save button:
As you can see, the message ‘saved’ was displayed on the right. This means that our SaveDesignedReport method successfully saved the report. Let's check it in the App_Data folder:
There was added TestReport.frx file.
Summarizing, we can say that it is not so difficult to use an online designer in React applications. We used only standard solutions and no complex algorithms.

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