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Posted Oct 16, 2006

Black Belt Components: Interactive Sorts within a Matrix Data Region - Page 3

By William Pearson

Verification: Preview the Report and Inspect Effectiveness of Interactive Sorting

Let’s preview the report to inspect the results of our handiwork.

1.  Click the Preview tab.

DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl executes, and returns the data for the default Product Category indicated within the parameter pick list in the upper left corner of the report. We note this time, however, the appearance of upward / downward pointing arrows, alongside the Sales Reason column heading, as depicted in Illustration 4.

Illustration 4: Interactive Sorting is Enabled ...

Recall that we have established sorting based upon the members of the Sales Reason group. Clicking the “up” arrow should, therefore, sort the Sales Reasons listed, in ascending fashion alphabetically, (this is actually their default sort).

2.  Click the upper of the two arrows.

The report remains in an alphabetically ascending order, as expected. We see the downward pointing arrow disappear, leaving the upper arrow in place to indicate that Sales Reason has been sorted (and has only one remaining “direction” in which it can be re-sorted).

We can just as easily sort in descending fashion, by clicking the upward pointing arrow that remains. The re-sort will occur, leaving the Matrix data region sorted by Sales Reason, this time in alphabetically descending order (with a downward pointing arrow in evidence), as partially shown in Illustration 5.

Illustration 5: Descending Sort Accomplished ... (Partial View of Report)

We thus see that the interactive sorting capability accomplishes the intended ends, and allows us to meet the need as expressed by the information consumers. The flexibility of interactive sort support is extended in its allowance for selection of data region and scope for our sorts, as we have seen. Through this means we can meet varying needs of the organizations we support, limiting the desired sort actions to the data region containing the textbox upon which we enact the capability, or allowing us to extend the scope of our sorts to another set of data regions that we can choose as easily as we have done with the one in our practice example. We can see that interactive sorting is supported for the Matrix data region just as it is for the Table data region, as documented in the Books Online.

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

4.  Select File -> Exit to leave Reporting Services, when ready.

Conclusion ...

In this article, we extended our previous examination of interactive sorting within Reporting Services to specifically focus on establishment of this capability for a Matrix data region. This was in an attempt to address difficulties experienced within the development community in supporting this capability for a Matrix. Our overall objective was to get hands-on exposure to employing interactive sorting to support a commonly encountered business need: the desire of information consumers to be able to perform ad hoc sorting for a given item or items within the report, based upon their own values or upon a corresponding value that appears elsewhere within the report. As a part of preparing the backdrop for a practice exercise surrounding the setup of interactive sorting support, we created a copy of an existing sample report to leave the original intact for other uses.

The steps we took within the context of the clone report gave us a feel for what is involved in bringing the capability to perform interactive sorting to Matrix data regions within existing reports in our own environments. As we performed the necessary settings to enable interactive sorting within the report, we addressed the importance of scope within the sort properties. Finally, we verified the operation of our enhancements in a test of report operation.

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

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

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