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Posted Mar 26, 2008

Parameterization from Analysis Services - Cascading Picklists - Page 3

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.

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 Year selector.

4.  Select CY 2004 within the Year parameter picklist.

The third prompt, Quarter, becomes enabled.

5.  Select CY Q2 from the Quarter parameter picklist.

We notice at this stage that cascading is occurring within the Quarter parameter picklists, as we see only the three existing quarters for CY 2004 appear in the dropdown selector list, as shown in Illustration 15.

Illustration 15: Only the CY 2004 Quarters Appear ...

The fourth, and final, prompt, Quarter, becomes enabled.

6.  Select the month of June in the Month parameter picklist.

Here we see further evidence that the parameter picklists are cascading, as desired. We see only the three months that reside within CY Q2 of CY 2004 appear in the dropdown selector list, as depicted in Illustration 16.

Illustration 16: Only the Q2 Months for CY 2004 Quarters Appear ...

As we noted in Support Parameterization from Analysis Services, where we first established our Analysis Services - supported date parameters within the report, it occurs to us at this point in running the report that intelligent defaults would give our consumers a better runtime experience. We will address this item in a subsequent article devoted specifically to the subject.

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 shown in Illustration 17.

Illustration 17: The Report Parameters Operate as Expected ...

Our verification process has demonstrated the effective support of cascading picklists for our Report Parameters, which are themselves supported by objects within the Analysis Services layer of our BI solution. We will extend our examination of Analysis Services supported parameterization yet further in the next article of our series, 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 article that follows, 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 finished with the report, 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 the next article within our series.

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

Conclusion ...

In this article, we continued an extended examination of Parameters in Reporting Services, which we began in Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameters for Analysis Services Reporting, Pt. I, and Mastering OLAP Reports: Parameters for Analysis Services Reporting, Pt. II. Having focused upon the support of parameterization solely from within Reporting Services in Reporting Services: Customize Automatically Created Parameter Support Objects and Parameter Support Objects, Pt II: Support OLAP Parameter Defaults with Datasets, we then turned our attention to supporting parameterization from outside Reporting Services. In the article preceding this one, Support Parameterization from Analysis Services, we established rudimentary Analysis Services - supported parameters within the report.

Working with the basic OLAP report we created in Support Parameterization from Analysis Services, we set out to further enhance the Analysis Services - based parameter support by making the modifications required to support cascading picklists for those parameters at runtime. In examining the requested refinement, we began with a brief review of the concept of parameterization in general, touching upon options for supporting report parameterization among the three primary layers of the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. We then returned to the report we began in our previous article, Support Parameterization from Analysis Services, and discussed, and then implemented, an approach, for adding cascading behavior to our Analysis Services - based parameter picklists.

Throughout our article, we overviewed how the various components of the parameter support solution we proposed are tied together. Working with the components we had already established within Analysis Services and Reporting Services to support our runtime parameters, we focused our practice session upon the enhancements necessary to support cascading parameter picklists at runtime. Finally, we previewed the report to observe the effectiveness of our solution in runtime action, and looked ahead to our next article, where we will examine the addition of intuitive parameter defaults, for greater runtime user-friendliness and overall operational efficiencies.

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

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

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