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MS SQL

Posted Jan 16, 2008

Reporting Services: Customize Automatically Created Parameter Support Objects - Page 5

By William Pearson

Verification: Preview the Report and Inspect the Effectiveness of Our Solution

Let’s preview the report to inspect the results of our handiwork. (One of the reasons that I chose hierarchical time for the dimensional example with which we undertook our practice efforts is the unambiguous relationship between parent and child level members. The idea was to both demonstrate the means of eliminating the “All” selection within the parameter picklists, while providing the dual benefit of demonstrating the cascading nature of the picklists as a secondary advantage of taking the avenue we have taken.)

1.  Click the Preview tab.

DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl initializes, and the first prompt (based upon the pre-existing ProductCategory parameter), becomes enabled.

2.  Leave the Product Category prompt selection at its default of” Bikes, Components.”

3.  Click the downward pointing arrow on the right side of the Calendar Year selector.

4.  Select CY 2004 within the Calendar Year parameter picklist.

We notice the “All Periods” selection that previously appeared atop the Year parameter’s picklist has now disappeared. We also notice that, once we make a choice within the Calendar Year dropdown selector, the next parameter selector, Calendar Quarter, becomes enabled. The cascading nature of the newly added, date-related parameter set becomes obvious in this scenario, as the AdventureWorks cube contains data only through August, and the third quarter (CY Q3) of 2004, a fact that is reflected in the picklist of three Quarter selection options, as we shall see next.

5.  Select CY Q2 from the Calendar Quarter picklist, as depicted in Illustration 25.


Illustration 25: Selection Options Demonstrate Cascading Nature of the Date Parameters

6.  Select the month of June in the Month parameter picklist, as shown in Illustration 26.


Illustration 26: Cascading Nature of the Date Parameters Again in Evidence

We notice again that the “All Periods” selections that previously appeared atop the Quarter and Month parameters’ picklists have disappeared. The cascading nature of the date-related parameters is also demonstrated again, as we see that our selection of CY Q2 enables the picklist for the Month parameter, which appropriately reflects only the three member Months belonging to CY Q2 as selections, April, May and June.

7.  Click the View Report button.

The report executes quickly and returns the data for the selections we have made within our parameter picklists, in a manner similar to that depicted in Illustration 27.


Illustration 27: The Sample Report Operates as Expected with New Date Parameters

Our verification process has demonstrated the effective removal of the “All” selection (which appears by default when we chose to generate our parameter picklists via the automatic creation mechanism that Reporting Services offers) from our newly added picklists. Moreover, we have witnessed the cascading nature of the new parameters that is established as a secondary benefit of adding parameters in the manner we have chosen.

We have verified that the parameter level filtering we have put into place accomplishes the intended ends, and allows us to meet the expressed requirement of the information consumers to remove the “All” selection. We have also noted that the Reporting Services 2005 environment, with its graphical design environment, supports easy and flexible design of cascading parameters, in addition to allowing us to customize picklists via filtering within the automatically created datasets.

We will extend our examination of parameterization yet further in the second half of this article, where we will generate a solution to meet the need of our colleagues to provide intuitive parameter defaults to information consumers at report runtime.

NOTE: Please consider saving the .rdl file we have created to this point for use in the second half of this article, so as to avoid the need to repeat the preparation process we have undertaken above.

8.  Experiment further with the report, if desired.

9.  When ready, click the Layout tab.

10.  Select File -> Save DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl As ... to save our work, up to this point, to a location where it can be easily accessed for Part II of this article.

11.  Select File -> Exit to leave the design environment, when ready.

Conclusion ...

In this article, we continued the extended examination of Parameters in Reporting Services 2005 that we began in Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameters for Analysis Services Reporting, Pt. I and Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameters for Analysis Services Reporting, Pt. II. After discussing parameterization in general, we defined a hypothetical scenario within the context of a client business requirement: the need to remove the “All” selection that appears by default within parameter picklists created automatically by Reporting Services. We then moved into our hands-on practice session.

After creating a clone of a sample OLAP report, containing a Matrix data region, we ascertained connectivity of its shared Analysis Services data source. We then made structural modifications to the report, to prepare for our practice exercise session with three date-related parameters, whose additions to the report were requested by our hypothetical client. We created, within the graphical Design Mode of the MDX Query Builder, three filters for which parameterization was enabled via the Filter pane setting.

In conjunction with the creation of the parameterized filters, we inspected the automatically created Report Parameters and their settings, as well as the subsequently created datasets underlying the new Report Parameters. We then focused upon the modification of the respective datasets to filter the “Allparameter level from the data rows retrieved and presented within the parameter picklists at runtime. Throughout the steps we undertook, we discussed how the various components were tied together, and the potential challenges we face in modifying these objects without consideration of the resulting dependencies. Finally, we previewed the report to observe the effectiveness of our solution in eliminating the “All” selection in the picklists at runtime, as well as the added benefit of the general cascading nature of the parameters at runtime.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

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