Report Designer


As the name suggests, the Report Designer is used to create the infrastructure of and layout for a report. The infrastructure first requires specification of one or more data sources. Data sources supported include anything accessible through the list of Providers shown in the Data Link Properties dialog (what you're used to seeing when creating data sources for other purposes). For the extraction of specific data, you have query builders that facilitate the query building process. This is built into Business Intelligence Development Studio and hosts a similar look and feel to Analysis Services and Integration Services projects. These tools enable the creation of tabular and matrix-based reports. In addition, charts are also supported. You can customize your report to span multiple pages based on conditionals and grouping; this capability supports readability as does the judicious use of fonts and colors. Note that less is often more when it comes to things like fonts and colors; the fewer variations displayed in a report, the more meaningful are those that are used. So, for best results, use the power of customization sparingly! If you are not already dizzy from wielding all this power, note that you can specify parametric reports and subreports. And the user can seamlessly navigate all these reports because you can provide clickable cells in the reports. Once you have defined your report, it can be previewed within the designer; only after you are pleased with the layout do you deploy the report to a report server.

Report Definition Language

Report Definition Language (RDL) is an XML-based language used to specify all the characteristics which make up a report; RDL is created in the Report Designer and manifests itself when a report is processed and viewed. When you create your report, all the definitions are in this form of XML. It is this definition that is deployed on to the server. If you are a reporting whiz, you might take to editing RDL files easily; all of the element definitions and appropriate XML Diagrams are described in Books On-Line. Beware that any malformed XML you feed the report server will likely have less than desirable consequences at runtime! The following table shows some sample report definition XML elements from Books On-Line:

Open table as spreadsheet

Element

Parent

Description

Axis

CategoryAxis, ValueAxis

Defines properties for labels, titles, and gridlines on an axis.

DataCollectionName

Grouping

Contains the name of the data element of the collection containing all instances of the group in a report rendered using a data rendering extension, like the XML rendering extension.

Parameters

Drill-through, Subreport

Contains a list of parameters to pass to the report or control.

Visible

Axis, DataLabel, Legend

Indicates whether the item is displayed in the chart.

Report Wizard

There is no shame in using the Report Wizard. It is a time-saving device that simplifies the creation of the most basic reports; actually, you can get as sophisticated as you like in terms of query building because the Query Builder is covered in the wizard. Of course, you also have the option to create reports without use of the report wizard.



Professional SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 with MDX
Professional SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 with MDX (Programmer to Programmer)
ISBN: 0764579185
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 176

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