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Some Random Thoughts

Dashboards in SSRS 2008

Apr 16 2010 3:33AM by Jason Thomas   


To be frank, I was extremely happy when I got to work on SSRS 2008. The 2008 version has changed so much for the better when you compare to the 2005 version, be it on terms of aesthetics or developer friendliness, you just name it. Moreover, I am the sort of person who hates to say NO to the customer when it comes to requirements, so I always make sure that I try to utilize all workarounds before I utter the dreaded No word. So when my customer asked whether I would be able to create a dashboard for them, I started scratching up my head and in the end, managed to develop the following (included a trial version of Dundas Map also)


Now talking of dashboard, recently there was a post in the forums asking whether it was possible to create a heatmap sort of control which displays data in 2 dimensions - one dimension is the colour which will keep on changing based on one measure and the other was the size which again increases or decreases based on a second measure. Even though it looked impossible in the beginning, I suggested a workaround - utilize the N character in Wingdings which will give you a square box.

To develop this sort of control, follow the steps below:-
1) Open the report and define your datasets with atleast 2 measures.
2) Create a tablix and along with your normal rows and columns, add a new column for the heatmap control
3) In that column, type the letter N and change the font to Wingdings. Now the tablix column should display a square.
4) Change the font color by adding the expression you like. As for myself, I used the code from Dave's blog (refer this, a wonderful and handy blog on conditional formatting)
5) Change the font size by adding the expression you like.
6) Now when you preview the report, you should be able to see something like below


In my example, the colour changes based on the Growth% measure and the size changes based on the Avg Sell In Vol (Last 3 months) measure. This method can be further improvised to get some very nice dashboards.

Tags: SSRS, MSBI,


Jason Thomas
19 · 9% · 2997
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11  Comments  

  • Nice trick Jason, thanks for sharing the same. 1 question, What if the "Wingdings" font is not installed on the client machine ?

    BTW, in my views "NO" is not a dreaded word to tell any client for reqs. In fact, when you consider engagement economics of any project, after both parties sign up the contract, any enhancement that takes more than 3 working days is always either billed or served with the answer "NO" :)

    For technical feasibility, you should try out everything before saying NO, but for requirements, conditions do apply. It's just my opinion :)

    commented on Apr 15 2010 6:53PM
    ,
    168 · 1% · 293
  • Wingdings is generally installed along with your OS but in case if it is not, you can always install it later by using your OS CD. Open the Fonts folder from Control Panel, and select File, Install New Font. Then browse to the CD and the folder that contains the fonts.

    As for my lame justifications why I hate to say No - 1) I would always like to keep the customer happy when it comes to reporting requirements, and I always try to keep an open mentality that it might be possible instead of having a closed view that it is not possible. Most of the times, the customer would be very happy with even a workaround. 2) No-one does anything for free, and I actually take such requirements as a chance to earn extra money for the company. Ofcourse we would be estimating for this piece of work extra in case it would work out.

    But in general, I would agree with you, you would not want to promise the customer a mountain and come up with a mole-hill :)

    commented on Apr 15 2010 11:04PM
    Jason Thomas
    19 · 9% · 2997
  • Very interesting trick, Jason.

    commented on Apr 15 2010 11:20PM
    Jacob Sebastian
    1 · 100% · 32235
  • I use SQL 2008 R2, want to deploy SQL Reports to Sharepoint - I want to build Enterprise Dashboards with rich reports.

    commented on Mar 9 2011 7:23PM
    kevin_nikolai
    300 · 0% · 146
  • Require assistance with the following: Want to deploy sql 2008 R2 reports to sharepoint to build Enterprise Dashboards with rich reports.

    commented on Mar 9 2011 7:44PM
    kevin_nikolai
    300 · 0% · 146
  • I was great .... thanks for such Info... but How did you get multiple tabs like "Welcome, KPI,.." I am very much curious to know about that

    thank you..

    commented on Aug 30 2011 7:58AM
    Shivendra Kumar Yadav
    60 · 3% · 936
  • Hi Kevin, Sadly, I don't have any experience with Sharepoint. So would not be able to help you there. Please let me know if you have any other questions related to SSRS.

    Hi Shiv, We were using Panorama Dashboards (a third party ad-hoc analysis tool based on SSAS cubes), which provides the tabs. The SSRS reports are embedded within Panorama.

    commented on Aug 30 2011 9:30AM
    Jason Thomas
    19 · 9% · 2997
  • Okay thanks for that Info. sir. :)

    commented on Sep 23 2011 8:35AM
    Shivendra Kumar Yadav
    60 · 3% · 936
  • Sir, in our scenario we are going for microstrategy . Is Panorama Dashboards are supplement of microstrategy or better than that.??

    commented on Sep 27 2011 7:21AM
    Shivendra Kumar Yadav
    60 · 3% · 936
  • Again, I am not sure of MicrosStrategy as I don't have any experience in that. But I don't think Panorama and MicroStrategy can be used together for getting the same results...

    commented on Sep 27 2011 7:31AM
    Jason Thomas
    19 · 9% · 2997
  • Okay thanks..

    commented on Sep 27 2011 8:41AM
    Shivendra Kumar Yadav
    60 · 3% · 936

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