Sage CRM uses Apache FOP (Formatting Objects Processor) to generate its reports in PDF format.
FOP is an example of a print formatter that uses XSL formatting objects (XSL-FO) and is in theory not tied to outputting in a particular format, although its usage in Sage CRM is designed around creating PDF files.
When Sage CRM is installed it gets installed with it in the
The interaction with FOP for the reports creation is controlled within the Administration area under
Administration -> E-mail and Documents -> Documents & Reports Configuration
We can see that FOP is called via a batch file (FOP.bat) and this in turn calls the Java application that reads a formatting object (FO) tree and renders the resulting pages to PDF.
We can see where the "Adobe Converter Parameter String" field in the screen shot above reads
-q %1 %2
The -q means quiet mode. The %1 is the input file and the %2 is the output file.
The input file is created in the folder
C:\Program Files\Sage\CRM\[installname]\WWWRoot\Temp\Temporary Report Files
initially as a tmp file and then as an XML file.
The output file is then created in
C:\Program Files\Sage\CRM\[installname]\WWWRoot\Temp\Temporary Adobe Files
Once the file has been converted the temp XML file is removed.
In theory you may be able to use FOP directly yourself within an ASP page.
A simple way of use FOP to generate PDF files is to use the inbuilt Sage CRM actions. For example if you have a need to create a Report like a Summary Report button on a custom new entity then you could add a button to the ASP page. Like this:
//Example to show how to build a button that calls a custom report from a screen.
//intReportAction is either 1410 to display the report options or 1411 to directly run the report
//var intReportAction = 1410;
var intReportAction = 1411;
//Allowed values for strDestination are "Screen", "Adobe", "CSV", "Excel"
var strDestination = "Adobe";
var strSummaryReportButton = CRM.Button("Print to Excel", "executesummaryreport.gif", CRM.URL(intReportAction)+"&Key41=31&FlgNewWindow=True&Destination="+strDestination+"&PageSize=210x297&Orientation=Landscape", "", "", "EWARE_HELP")
The Action code 1411 means that the report is generated as a PDF file. You will have to take care and identify the primary key value for the report. This report ID is the value in the parameter key41.
Although the above button definition is for the ASP COM API, the same basic principle can be used for the .NET API.