Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameters for Analysis Services Reporting, Pt. II - Page 7

January 16, 2007

Verification: Preview the Report and Inspect Effectiveness of Cascading Parameters

Let’s preview the report to inspect the results of our handiwork. (As is probably obvious, one of the reasons that I chose hierarchical time for an example in cascading parameters is the unambiguous relationship between parent and child level members. We should be able to verify correct operation simply by knowing, for example, which Months are the children of a given Calendar Quarter, etc.)

1. Click the Preview tab.

DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl initializes, and the Calendar Year prompt becomes enabled.

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

3. Select CY 2002 within the Calendar Year parameter picklist.

Once we make a selection within the Calendar Year dropdown selector, the next parameter within the cascading chain, Calendar Quarter, becomes enabled.

4. Select CY Q3 from the Calendar Quarter picklist.

We note that Calendar Quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 appear, indicating that what we're seeing is likely to be correct.

5. Select the month of August in the Calendar Month parameter picklist.

Again, we can see that our selections consist of months that belong to parent CY Q3.

6. Click the View Report button.

The report executes quickly and returns the data for the selections we have made within our parameter picklists. We will “drill down” the August 2002 group that appears upon the face the report, to verify that the dates therein indeed belong to the month of August, 2002.

7. Expand the August 2002 group by clicking the “+” sign to its immediate left.

The underlying dates appear, all of which are appropriately classified children (specific Dates) of the Month of August, 2002, as partially shown in Illustration 46.


Illustration 46: Our Cascading Parameters Deliver as Expected ...

We thus see that the cascading parameters we have put into place accomplish the intended ends, and allow us to meet the need as expressed by the information consumers. We can easily see that the Reporting Services 2005 environment, with its graphical design environment, supports easy and flexible design of cascading parameters. As we have noted throughout the steps of our practice procedures, however, potential obstacles exist when we rely upon the automatic generation of the objects supporting cascading parameters, particularly in scenarios where we need to modify one or more objects after their initial creation and alignment. We have examined some of these considerations, and, if we keep them in mind during design of cascading parameters, we should be able to enjoy the benefits of the capabilities they provide in the current version of Reporting Services.

8. Experiment further with the report, if desired.

9. Select File -> Save All to save our work to this point.

10.  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. After discussing some of the improvements that have come along since Reporting Services 2000, and specifically focusing upon how the new Query Builder makes the assembly of the various objects involved in the construction of cascading parameters much more straightforward than the steps we had to take in Reporting Services 2000, we briefly touched upon some of the shortcomings that accompany automatic generation of those objects, and 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 cascading parameters. We then created, within the graphical Design Mode of the MDX Query Builder, multiple 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. 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 cascading Parameters in runtime action.

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

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Forum.

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