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Posted Dec 30, 2008

Simple Bar Chart for Analysis Services Data - Page 2

By William Pearson


Our first objective is to create a copy of the Sales Reason Comparisons sample report, within which we will perform the addition and setup of the simple Bar Chart data region, for the reasons noted above. (We typically work with a similar report copy in articles that are focused on the individual chart types elsewhere in the series.) We will perform our practice session from inside the MSSQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio. For more exposure to the Business Intelligence Development Studio itself, and the myriad design, development and other evolutions we can perform within this powerful interface, see other articles in this column, as well as within my Database Journal series Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services. In this article, we will be commenting only on the features relevant to our immediate practice exercise, to allow us to keep to the focus of the article more efficiently.

Preparation: Create a Clone Report within the Reporting Services Development Environment

For purposes of our practice session, we will create a copy of the Sales Reason Comparisons report, one of several samples that are available with (and installable separately from) the MSSQL Server 2005 integrated business intelligence suite. Making preparatory modifications, and then making the enhancements to the report to add the functionality that forms the subject of our lesson, can be done easily within the Business Intelligence Studio environment. Working with a copy of the report will allow us the luxury of freely exploring our options, and will leave us with a working example of the specific approach we took, to which we can refer in our individual business environments.

Open the Sample Report Server Project

For purposes of our practice session, we will open the AdventureWorks Sample Reports project, which contains the sample reports that ship with the Reporting Services component of the MSSQL Server 2005 suite. We will complete our practice session within the sample project, so as to save the time required to set up a development environment from scratch within the Business Intelligence Development Studio.

To open the AdventureWorks Sample Reports project, please see the following procedure in the References section of my articles index:

Ascertain Connectivity of the Shared Data Source

Let’s ensure we have a working data source. Some of us may be running “side-by-side” installations of MSSQL Server 2000 and MSSQL Server 2005. This means that our installation of the latter will need to be referenced as a server / instance combination, versus a server name alone. (The default for the Adventure Works DW project sample’s connection is localhost, which will not work correctly in such a side-by-side installation, as MSSQL Server 2000 will have assumed the identity of the local PC by default.)

If you do not know how to ascertain or modify connectivity of the Analysis Services data source, please perform the steps of the following procedure in the References section of my articles index:

Create a Copy of the Sales Reason Comparisons Report

We will begin with a copy of the Reporting Services 2005 Sales Reason Comparisons OLAP report, which we will use as a basis for our Bar chart types practice exercise. Creating a “clone” of the report means we can make changes to select components (perhaps as a part of later exploration with our independent solution), while retaining the original sample in a pristine state for other purposes, such as using it to accompany relevant sections of the Books Online, and other documentation. Such uses may form a part of learning more about Reporting Services (particularly an OLAP report using an Analysis Services data source), and other components of the Microsoft integrated business intelligence solution in general.

If you do not know how to create a copy of an existing report, please perform the steps of the following procedure in the References section of my articles index:

We now have a clone Analysis Services report file within our Reporting Services 2005 Project, and are ready for our hands-on practice session with the simple Bar chart type, which we will begin in the next section.

Preparation: Modify the Analysis Services Report Clone for Use within Our Practice Session

We will next make a few modifications to prepare the report for our practice session. Let’s open the report clone we created above in Layout view (for those of us not already there), upon which we can commence our overview steps.

1.  Right-click DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl in the Solution Explorer.

2.  Select Open from the context menu that appears, as shown in Illustration 1, as necessary.

Opening the New Report ...
Illustration 1: Opening the New Report ...

DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl opens in Layout view.

Filter the Primary Dataset to Limit the Data Retrieved

First, we will modify the primary dataset underlying the existing report, called ProductData. We will simply place a filter on returned data to limit the size of our ultimate report to two (versus four) Calendar Years’ activity.

1.  Click the Data tab.

2.  Ensure that the ProductData dataset appears within the data selector.

3.  On the Metadata tab, within the pane that appears under the Dataset selector (which now indicates ProductData), expand the Date dimension by clicking the “+” sign to its immediate left.

4.  Expand the Calendar folder that appears underneath the newly expanded Date dimension.

5.  Click the Date.Calendar Year hierarchy to select it.

6.  Drag the Date.Calendar Year hierarchy to the Query pane, dropping it to the immediate left of the Sales Reason column that is already in place.

The Query pane, with the newly added Calendar Year column, appears as partially presented in Illustration 2.

Query Pane with the Newly Added Column (Partial View)
Illustration 2: The Query Pane with the Newly Added Column (Partial View)

7.  Click the Edit Selected Dataset (“...”) button to the immediate right of the Dataset selector, as depicted (circled) in Illustration 3.

Editing the Dataset ...
Illustration 3: Editing the Dataset ...

The multi-tabbed Dataset dialog opens.

8.  Click the Filters tab.

9.  In the first row of the Filters box, within the leftmost Expression column, select =Fields!Calendar_Year.Value, as shown in Illustration 4.

Select =Fields!Calendar_Year.Value in the Expression Column
Illustration 4: Select =Fields!Calendar_Year.Value in the Expression Column ...

10.  In the Operator column (to the immediate right of the Expression column), select the “>=” operator.

11.  Type (or cut and paste) the following into the Value column (to the immediate right of the Value column):

="CY 2003"

Because we are stating that we want only Calendar Years “greater than or equal to CY 2003,” we know we will retrieve only two years’ data into the dataset (the Adventure Works cube contains Calendar Years 2001 through 2004).

The Filters tab of the Dataset dialog appears as presented in Illustration 5.

Filters Tab of the Dataset Dialog with Our Additions
Illustration 5: The Filters Tab of the Dataset Dialog with Our Additions ...

12.  Click OK to accept our addition, and to dismiss the Dataset dialog.

Modify the Report Layout to Accommodate Our Focus

Next, we will make some changes to the report layout to more easily accommodate the focus of our practice session. We will start with a larger report canvas.

1.  Click the Layout tab atop the Report Designer.

2.  Click the report body at some point below the matrix data region that is in place.

The Body bar assumes the focus (becomes darker). Body also appears in the Properties pane (by default to the lower right of the design environment). The point here is to ascertain that the report body is, indeed, selected.

3.  Pass the cursor over the lower edge of the report body, until it becomes a “two-headed arrow.”

4.  Enlarge the report canvas to about the 2-1/2 point on the scale on the left side of the Layout tab, stretching it downward to create empty space below the matrix data region on the report body, as depicted in Illustration 6.

Stretch the Canvas Downward to Create Empty Space in the Report Body
Illustration 6: Stretch the Canvas Downward to Create Empty Space in the Report Body

Because, from this point, we will be performing procedures that relate only to the chart type with which we are working in this article, and because we create similar files for different chart types in other articles, let’s rename the .rdl file to clearly associate it with this article and the simple Bar chart type.

5.  Select File from the main menu.

6.  Select Save DBJ_OLAP_Report.rdl As ....

7.  Type the following into the File name box of the Save File As box that appears next:


8.  Click the Save button in the lower right corner of the Save File As box.

The Save File As box is dismissed, and we see the new name appear in the Solution Explorer. We are now ready to begin the procedural section of our practice session.

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