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Posted Dec 18, 2006

Black Belt Components: Support Simple Navigation with a Document Map - Page 6

By William Pearson

Verification: Preview the Report and Inspect Effectiveness of the Document Map

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

1.  Click the Preview tab, once again.

2.  Select All Products in the Product Category parameter selector, as depicted in Illustration 20.

Illustration 20: Select “All Products” in the Parameter Selector ...

3.  Click the View Report button, to execute the report.

The Report is being generated message briefly appears, as before, and then the report displays. The report appears as partially shown in Illustration 21.

Illustration 21: The Report Tab Displays (Document Map Tree Collapsed) ...

As we can see, DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl has again executed, this time returning its data for all Product Categories. This time, however, we see the new Document Map tree appear in the left margin of the report. We note that the Document Map tree is collapsed by default (as we see circled in illustration above).

We will expand the Document Map tree, and then take it for a “test spin,” in the steps that follow.

4.  Expand the collapsed Document Map tree (the top level of which, as we can see, is named after the report itself), by clicking the “+” sign to its immediate left.

We see the first hierarchical level of the Document Map, representing the Sales Reason group in the report, appear. Each label can itself be expanded, to see the levels below, as we shall see, but we can also navigate the report from this level as well.

5.  Click the “Other” Sales Reason level within the tree.

We are taken to the section of the report (actually moved to Page 4 from the default display starting point, Page 1), where the “Other” Sales Reason data group begins, as partially depicted in Illustration 22.

Illustration 22: Navigating To the Level 1 “Other” Sales Reason Group ...

It is useful to remember that we are previewing the report within the development viewer, where behavior may not exactly mimic that of the viewing environment for a deployed report. For example, within the Preview tab we may click upon a given Sales Reason, and be taken appropriately to the page upon which the data for the selected Sales Reason begins, but it may appear that we are in an adjacent level until we scroll to the selected group within the window, which, of course, makes visible only a portion of a given page at a time.

6.  Expand the collapsed “Manufacturer” Sales Reason level (the level immediately underneath the “top,” DBJ_OLAP_Report level we have already expanded, in the Document Map tree, by clicking the “+” sign to its immediate left.

We see those members of the third hierarchical level of the Document Map (Product) that are associated with the respective second level, Manufacturer” Sales Reason, appear.

7.  Click the Touring-2000 Blue, 46 member of the expanded “Manufacturer” Sales Reason, within the tree.

We are taken to the section of the report where Touring-2000 Blue, 46 appears, as shown in Illustration 23.

Illustration 23: Navigating To a Specific Product ...

Another convenient characteristic of the Document Map feature resides in the fact that we can easily turn it on or off, by clicking the Show or Hide Document Map button that appears in the upper left-hand corner of the tab, just above the top level of the Document Map tree. This button is depicted (circled) in Illustration 24.

Illustration 24: Show or Hide Document Map Button

We have, therefore, seen that the Document Map feature supports navigation in the intended manner, and thereby enables us to meet the need as expressed by the information consumers. As we have noted, although the business requirement in our immediate scenario involved a simple matching of group labels to their associated Document Map labels, the flexibility of navigation support via the Document Map tree is extended in its allowance for more sophisticated labeling, based upon expressions through which we might accommodate more customized specifications. And even though the Document Map feature is not necessarily a good fit in all implementations, it can still be useful as a part of the design and development phase of the report lifecycle.

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

9.  Perform other operations with the Document Map, as desired.

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

Conclusion ...

In this article, we examined the Document Map feature, which is available within any implementation of Reporting Services, to support easy navigation for information consumers. Our hands-on exposure to the “out-of-the-box” Document Map feature specifically focused upon its enablement within a sample OLAP report, containing a Matrix data region. We discussed the general concepts, and then set up a scenario wherein which we worked with a modified copy of a sample report to expose the steps involved in establishing a Document Map within a report.

Our overall objective was to demonstrate the ease with which we can employ a Document Map within a report to support a commonly encountered business need: providing information consumers with a means of easy navigation, within a report, to information upon which they wish to focus, eliminating the need for them to page through potentially large quantities of data to get there. As a part of preparing the backdrop for a practice exercise surrounding the setup of a Document Map, we created a copy of an existing sample report to leave the original intact for other uses.

The steps we took within the clone report gave us a feel for what is involved in bringing easy, out-of-the-box navigation to a report. We noted that, while the Document Map feature might not provide the sophistication to meet the precise needs of some consumers, the flexibility offered by the option for using expressions within its settings make it appealing to many who want a solution that does not involve programming and customization outside the basic application features. As we performed the necessary settings to enable the Document Map within the report, we addressed the options available, as well as the fact that the feature might have utility in the design and development phases of the report life cycle, even if it does not meet the needs of a targeted end audience. Finally, we verified the operation of our enhancements in a test of report operation.

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

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