Monday, 9 October 2017

About a plug-in providing native Apex functionality

This Saturday I published a plug-in on to create subheaders in a classic report. I got the idea while developing a long report and it seemed like a good idea to create a plugin for it to wrap and parameterize the JavaScript code. I searched the internet for the existence of such a plug-in and found nothing.
So I set out to create the plug-in. After finishing it I wrote a blogpost and added it to the plug-in repository on And I proudly tweeted about it.
Pretty soon I got a reply from Peter Raganitz: "Wouldn’t a control break do just that?".

I set out to check this and.. he is absolutely right. This functionality is available in Apex in a declarative way!

The only extra needed is a small CSS definition for the visuals of the headers:

.apex_report_break {
  1. background-colorlightgrey!important;
  2. font-weightbold;
  3. font-size12px;

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Adding Subheaders to reports the easy way

After publishing this plug-in I found out that this functionality is native in Apex. Read more details here.

For an assignment I was working on a page containing a list of dates with the amount of sunlight on that day. This produces a long list of dates with numbers which I think is not very accessible. I applied my Report2columns plug-in which already improved the layout, but I still was not satisfied:

It are still a lot of numbers with little structure. Especially the repetition of the month and year adds a lot of characters, but adds little meaning.

After some experimenting with bold fonts and grey colors I came up with the solution to use subheaders for the months. And suddenly the data made much more sense to me:

This was done by adding an extra column with the subheader text to the report. In a After Refresh  dynamic action a JavaScript function scans the table and adds a subheader at each location where the content of the subheader column differs from the previous row.

In addition to the sub headers the month and year indicators are displayed in grey. This way they have less effect  on the general picture, but they are still readable: you do not have to shift your attention to the sub header to know the month and year of the date. This effect was accomplished by adding the formatting in the query:

SELECT to_char(lgr_date,'dd')
||'<span style="color: lightgrey;">'
||to_char(lgr_date,'-mm-yyyy')||'</span>' AS thedate
FROM mytable

Plug-in for subheaders

I was so enthousiastic about the effect of the subheaders that I have created a plug-in to generate subheaders in a Classic report.

The Report Subheaders plug-in is very easy to use. All you have to do is:
  • import the plug-in ( you can download it from )
  • add a column to your query which contains you subheader content
  • create an After Refresh dynamic action on your report
  • add a true action with a call to the Report Subheaders plug-in
  • fill in the name of your subheader column in the Subheader Column attribute
  • if you want to have your table headings repeated after each subheader, set Repeat Subheaders to Yes
  • The default formatting of the subheaders can be changed by defining the class td.t-Report-cell.subheader.Note that the background-color has to be defined with !important.
You can see the plug-in in action here on my demo site:

Happy Apexing :-)