MSSQL Server Reporting Services: Master Chart Reports: Track Exchange Rates in a Line Chart

About the Series …

This is the ninth article of the series MSSQL Server
2000 Reporting Services
. The series is designed to introduce MSSQL
Server 2000 Reporting Services ("Reporting Services"), with the
objective of presenting an overview of its features, together with many tips
and techniques for real-world use. This column also serves as a vehicle for
sharing my conviction in Reporting Services’ role as a new paradigm in
enterprise reporting. As I advise clients on a more and more frequent basis
these days, this is the future in a big way. I hope you will consider my input
valuable, and that you will investigate closely the savings and advanced
functionality that will soon be available to anyone with an MSSQL Server 2000
(and beyond) license.

Important: For information concerning the applications to which you will
require access to benefit the most from our series, please see our initial Database
Journal
article, A New Paradigm for Enterprise Reporting.

It
is assumed that you have access and the other rights / privileges required to
complete the articles within the series. For details on the specifics of the
adjustments necessary to quickly allow full freedom to complete the exercises
in this and subsequent articles, as well as important assumptions regarding
rights and privileges in general, please see earlier articles in our series, as
well as the Reporting Services Books Online.

Overview

In our last article, Pie
Charts in Reporting Services
, we began the Master Chart Reports subset of our
MSSQL
Server 2000 Reporting Services
series. This "mini-series" will demonstrate how to
create chart reports of various types, and how to exploit the rich and flexible
features contained in Reporting Services that enable us to make report data
more meaningful, and easier to understand, from the perspective of our
information consumer audiences.

As we have seen in previous articles, and as we will show in
many prospective articles within this series, Reporting Services enables us to
present both summarized and detailed data in colorful, easy-to-read charts of
various designs. We can choose from a number of chart layouts and types within
the Reporting Services chart data region options. (As
we have discussed in earlier articles, a data region is an area on a report that
contains data from a data source that is repeated. The types of data regions
are list, matrix, table, and chart.) As we have
begun to see in our exploration of charts, as well as other data regions within
Reporting Services, already, and as we will see through in-depth, practical
exercises in coming articles, we can also extend the value of our reports in
myriad ways. Among these ways, just for starters, are the capability to format
chart and other objects in a host of ways, to drill down to see the details
behind the graphical / numerical summaries, to combine chart reports with other
types of reports, and to access myriad other options in the powerful Reporting
Services tool set.

The focus of many of my "introductory" articles is
a full set of procedures that are designed to underlie a more in-depth study of
specific property settings, and so forth, in subsequent articles. My objective
is to allow a reader to complete a report, or a report component, in a manner
that is insulated from non-linear distractions. This, I hope, serves as a
complement to the digital documentation that ships with the application, and which
focuses more on definitions and purposes of fields and settings than on
building a specific kind of report from scratch. The ultimate objective,
again, is to provide hands-on opportunities to learn overall, start-to-finish
procedures, before homing in on specific options of interest, although we will
certainly deal with a set of these options in each exercise as a part of
completing the stated objectives of the session.

In this
article, our exploration of chart reports will move into an examination of the line
chart
. Line charts are another popular chart type, and are likely to be
familiar to the majority of us, if not in the context of report authoring, then
at least as an information consumer. Just as we saw was the case with the
Reporting Services pie chart item in our last article, we will find that the line
chart item is both easy to use and feature endowed. In this session we will:

  • Create a chart
    report in Report Designer;

  • Create an
    underlying dataset;

  • Locate a chart
    item on the new report;

  • Assign the
    line chart type to the item;

  • Populate the
    chart item with the required data.

  • Practice the
    use of various properties available to the line chart;

  • Preview the
    report to verify its operation.
William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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