Now with any visual development IDE, you have the ability to change and
manipulate various properties for visual components. BIRT provides this
ability through the Property Editor. Things that you would expect such as font
attributes—like size and weighting, alignment, and color—are available through the
Property Editor. But there are other features of the Property Editor such as value
formatting, hyperlinking, Table of Contents entries for online reports, element to
data binding, the ability to set conditional visual properties known as highlights, and
enumerated value replacements called Maps—all available from the Property Editor.
For example, let's say I was doing a financial report. Now with a column of financial
data, I would want to right-justify it so that the decimal numbers line up. I would
also want to bold my column headers, set the values to display as currency with a
preceding dollar sign, and only display two decimal places. This is all set through the
In addition, if an account status is stored as a number, and I want the report to
display an actual text representation—assuming that there is not a table in my
database that contains this mapping—I would assign a map to my display element
with the possible values and their display representation. I would also set a
Highlight to bold the accounts that were in danger of defaulting.
The Property Editor is a particularly large beast that we will be revisiting many
times throughout the course of this book. As I indicated in the Outline section, the
Property Editor and the Outline make a very useful combination when setting report
parameters, especially with visual elements in complex reports.
The properties pane allows users to set various properties for report elements.
Things such as font size, boldness, and italics can be set here for text-based elements.
Data bindings for list elements and table elements are set here, and really tricky
things such as highlighting conditions for setting up alternating colors for rows are