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Chapter 4 Reports

4. Reports

In the following chapter, we would like to familiarize you with the basic tools for your daily work with reports. ReportServer supports various report types, each of which fulfills a different application purpose. Depending on the report type, different configuration options can be used. What all report types have in common is the option to configure them using parameters predefined by report developers. We look at working with parameters in section 4.2.1. Further configuration options for individual report types are discussed separately in later chapters.

4.1. Report Types

ReportServer supports a variety of different report formats, which we classify into different groups (report type) according to their typical area of application. Depending on the report type, different interaction options are available to you, which we will look at in more detail in the following sections and chapters. At this point we would like to briefly introduce the different report types. A detailed look at the report formats supported by ReportServer (e.g. ReportServer supports various report formats for the integration of so-called graphical reports).

4.1.1 Graphical reports

Graphical reports are report formats that have been developed for the creation of graphically sophisticated evaluations. Graphical reports are usually designed by report developers using special tools. The development and changes are therefore usually time-consuming. Graphical reports are usually finished evaluations that are not intended for further processing. In ReportServer, graphical reports can usually only be configured using a few parameters (we look at parameters in section 4.2.1.) and are usually exported in PDF format.

4.1.2 Dynamic list

In contrast to graphical reports, the dynamic list is a report format that offers you as the end user complete freedom with regard to the type of evaluation to be carried out. You can decide on the data contained and any post-processing yourself. Your evaluations can be exported as Excel or PDF, for example. The dynamic list offers extensive filters and formatting options and can export data directly to Excel, Word or text documents using so-called templates. In addition, the dynamic list offers an analysis mode (pivot) with which data sets can be prepared in a variety of ways. These formats can be exported in the form of crosstabs or graphics, for example.

With its wide range of configuration options, the dynamic list is the ideal tool for day-to-day work. The many different export options (Excel, PDF, CSV, XML, ...) also allow data to be prepared for further processing by other systems. The various configuration options of the dynamic list are presented in detail in chapter 6.

4.1.3 Excel template reports

With JXLS, ReportServer offers a reporting language based on Microsoft Excel. In terms of configuration options, JXLS reports are most similar to graphical reports for you as a user. Configuration options are specified by report developers via parameters. The subsequent export takes place as an Excel worksheet.

4.1.4 OLAP -- Analysis reports

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) is often used synonymously for the analysis of multidimensional data. ReportServer supports the Mondrian reporting language for defining so-called multidimensional analysis spaces (cubes), which offer very flexible analysis options for experienced users.


We discuss OLAP reports in chapter 8.

4.1.5 Data processing report formats

The previous report formats are used to evaluate data. ReportServer also offers formats that can be used to manage data (e.g. to control processes).

4.2 Configuration and execution of reports

When you open a report via the TeamSpace, you enter the so-called report execution mode. This allows you to configure the selected report and export it in various formats. You can also automate the export and have the report sent to you by e-mail at a specific time, e.g. daily or weekly, using a schedule. In the following, we present the working method in report execution mode, which is common to the various report types.

The report execution mode is essentially divided into four areas. A toolbar at the top gives you access to the following functions:

Export Allows export in different formats. The available formats are determined by the report type.
Send to Allows you to run the report and send the result by email or save it in TeamSpace.
Schedule Scheduling can be used to run reports on a time-controlled basis (e.g. every third Monday of the month).
Report documentation Displays the documentation associated with the report.
Save Allows you to save a variant of the report. All configuration changes made are saved.

At the bottom of the screen you will find a tab for each open report. If you have several reports open at the same time, these allow you to quickly switch between the open reports and close individual reports.

The main view is usually divided into two areas. On the left-hand side you will find the various available aspects. In the center you will see the corresponding view. Each report type has at least the Preview aspect. Other aspects, such as parameters, allow you to make settings to the report. If only the preview aspect is available, the left bar is hidden.

4.2.1 Parameters

Report developers can add parameters to reports which can be used to further configure the report before it is executed. If parameters are available for a report, you will see the Parameters aspect on the left in report mode. Select this to make settings to the existing parameters. The structure of the parameter page can vary in detail depending on the report. As a rule, however, the parameter page consists of a series of input fields and any additional descriptive texts.

Parameters can be preset with default values. To reset a value to the default value, right-click on the form field and select Set default value from the context menu. The following parameter types can occur in reports:

Text parameters

The simplest parameter type is the text parameter. This offers you a text input field for setting the parameter value. Depending on the setting, the field may be required to be filled out in a specific format (e.g. minimum and maximum length, or only digits). If the format does not match the input, the field is highlighted and a corresponding error message is displayed.

Date parameters

The date parameter allows you to select a date or time. To select the date, click on the icon to the right of the form field. A calendar opens, allowing you to conveniently select the date. Times are selected from a selection list (drop-down list).

Instead of a fixed date, you can also enter a date relative to the current day. To do this, you must switch the parameter to formula mode using the right mouse button. You can then enter a formula expression based on the "today" object. The expression ${today}, for example, references the current date, ${today.firstDay()} denotes the first day of the current month. Further information on formula expressions and the today object can be found in Appendix B.

Selection lists

Selection lists allow you to select one or more values from a predefined list. Selection lists can be displayed in different ways:

Dropdown You can select a single value from a drop-down list. If you do not explicitly select a value, the first entry in the list is used.
Radio Buttons Radio buttons also allow you to select a single value. However, all available values are directly visible.
Multiple selection A list of all selected values is displayed. To change the selection, double-click in the list. A window opens in which the possible values are displayed on the left-hand side and the currently selected values on the right-hand side. To select data, drag it from left to right. To save the selection, click on Apply. Note that the empty selection is interpreted as All data is selected. This is to be distinguished from the manual selection of all available values. If the data basis changes, the empty selection will automatically also include new values; if you have manually selected all values, the selection will remain exactly as it is; added or changed values are not included in the selection.
Checkboxes Another view for selecting multiple values.

Special parameters

Special parameters are individually programmed parameters that implement special requirements. Examples of such parameters are, for example, the selection of an area on a map or a value selection with search. If there is a configuration option that does not correspond to the parameter types presented above, this is a special parameter. In this case, you can find out how to use it from the report developer.

4.2.2 Preview

The Preview aspect displays a detailed preview of the report with the current configuration. Please note that the report is executed with current data to generate the preview and this may take a few moments, depending on the report.

4.2.3 Execution / Export

Once a report has been configured, you can execute it. This means that the report is filled with current data from the data warehouse and converted into the desired target format. The available formats depend on the type of report. Graphical reports are usually exported in PDF format, as this guarantees a pixel-perfect display and is ideal for printing. Dynamic lists, on the other hand, are usually exported as Excel worksheets.

Once a report has been configured, you can execute it. This means that the report is filled with current data from the data warehouse and converted into the desired target format. The available formats depend on the type of report. Graphical reports are usually exported in PDF format, as this guarantees a pixel-perfect display and is ideal for printing. Dynamic lists, on the other hand, are usually exported as Excel worksheets.

4.2.4 Storage of variants

All configuration settings made for a report (e.g. parameters set) can be saved in report variants. Please note that only the configuration settings are actually saved, not the current report data. To save a variant, select the Save button from the toolbar. You can then enter a name and an additional description for the variant. The variant is saved in TeamSpace in the same folder as the previously opened report. If you are already working on a variant, you have the option of changing the current variant "Save" or creating a new variant "Save as".

4.2.5 The report documentation

All settings saved in a variant are clearly summarized in the report documentation. This ensures that even individual evaluations are always documented in a traceable and audit-proof manner.

4.2.6 Planning

Saved variants can be scheduled and automatically executed at specified times and sent by email, for example. To do this, select the Schedule option from the toolbar. Further information on scheduling and managing scheduled reports can be found in chapter 9.

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