my general impression is that the reports-subreports hierarchy is too high level a metaphor for convenience and, especially with sufficiently suboptimal preview interface, hard to work with.
I personally would have liked it to be more of a “I load data from database and add rows one after the other to table objects on the page, using styling info input using a separate editor”. I.e. closer to the web programming in a styled page type of work. Naturally, with debugging being then as easy as just put some logging code into the code that does the printing.
My main environment is DevExpress Reports, and I am pretty sure that something like that could be implemented there. For now I am just stuck with the legacy code that seems to emulate the Crystal Reports way of doing things, I guess.
Has there been discussion along these lines in the programmer community? Does everybody considers the reports/subreports setup normal and easy to work with or is there in fact a community of dissidents who would prefer a different model, whether what I have briefly described above or some entirely different competing model that I should read up on?