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Satya Srikant Mantha Reflecting DAX NET and SQL Server

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a model-based approach for creating reports by providing project templates and modelling tools that are incorporated into the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment. The reporting features provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX are based on a tight integration with SQL Server Reporting Services.

Using the Microsoft Visual Studio reporting tools provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX has the following benefits:

  • You can create reports quickly using the auto design reporting feature. This feature automatically creates a report design based on the report data. Most reports can be created this way.

  • You can use SQL Report Designer for reports that require a very precise design. SQL Report Designer can be launched directly from within your reporting project.

  • You can create a consistent look and feel for your reports using style templates. One style template can be applied to many reports. Style templates allow you to separate the style settings from the actual report definition.

  • You can preview reports at design time from within the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment.

Reports created with the Microsoft Visual Studio reporting tools can be integrated into Microsoft Dynamics AX. They can be displayed as menu items on menus and forms in the Microsoft Dynamics AX client and in Enterprise Portal Web parts.

In this part we will discuss the following topics:

1) Creating Report

2) Defining Report Data

3) Designing Reports and Layouts 

Creating Reports

Before creating reports you need to ensure that the Reporting Extensions are installed on your system, please see the installation guide of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 (Jan 2009 Edition). Reporting Extensions once installed will provide add ins for visual studio for creating AX web reports projects which will be used in our case.

Here are the steps to create a reporting project in Microsoft Visual Studio:

1) Open Visual Studio Environment

2) Click on New –> Project –> <Select Language C#.NET or VB.NET> –> Dynamics AX Report Project

By default, the Reporting project will contain an Report1.moxl file, you can edit this file and create your report. As discussed earlier, using model-based approach you can easily create and edit reports inside the Visual Studio Environment. Microsoft Dynamics AX provides two tools, Model Editor and Model View, to edit and view models. If you double-click a model (.moxl file) in Solution Explorer, the model opens in Model Editor.

Defining Report Data

When you create a report, you must define the data that will display in the report. To do this, you must first identify the data sources that will be used. A data source represents a source of data for one or more reports. A report can display data from more than one data source. You can use the predefined data source called Dynamics AX, which connects to the Microsoft Dynamics AX application database. When you use this data source, you can use queries that are defined in the Application Object Tree (AOT) within Microsoft Dynamics AX or you can write data methods within your reporting project to retrieve data for your reports. If you want to connect to a legacy system, OLAP data, or an external database, you must define a new data source and specify connection information. There are two provider types that can be used when defining a new data source: SQL and OLAP.

After you define data sources, you must define one or more datasets. A dataset identifies data that is displayed in a report. When you define a dataset, you must specify the data source and the means used to retrieve the data, such as a query, data method, or stored procedure. Data sources and datasets are defined in the model along with your reports.

 

Designing Reports and Layouts

A report design represents a particular layout of a report. A report can have multiple designs. The following table provides a description of the types of report designs that you can create.

Type Description
Auto Design

An auto design is a report design that is automatically generated based on the report data. It is created by using Model Editor. The auto design functionality provides an efficient way to create the most common types of reports, such as a customer list or a list of inventory items.

Precision Design A Precision design is a report design that is created by using SQL Report Designer. Precision designs are typically used when a report requires a very precise layout, such as invoices or bank checks. SQL Report Designer allows you to manually drag-and-drop fields onto a report and place them exactly where they need to be.

Auto Design Layout

An auto design follows a particular layout. It has a header, a body containing one or more data regions, and a footer as shown below:

Auto design report layout

You control the content that is displayed in each area within an auto design. For example, you can include a report title and the date in the header and display the page number in the footer. Or, you may not want to display anything in the header and footer.

The data regions that display in an auto design depend upon the datasets that you created when you defined the data for the report. When you define a dataset, you can specify the type of data region that will be used to render the data whenever the dataset is used in an auto design. Data can be displayed in table, list, matrix, or chart formats.

Note: One way to create an auto design is to simply drag a dataset onto the node for the auto design in the model.

Precision Design Layout

A precision design is free-form where you define the layout using SQL Report Designer. Therefore, the format of a precision design can vary depending upon the layout that is required.

Adding Interactive Report Features

There are several features that you can add to your reports to allow users to interact with and control the data that they see in a report. For example, you can display a document map in a report. A document map allows users to easily navigate to different areas in the report by clicking an item within the document map. A document map is useful when a report displays a large amount of data. You can add data groupings and drill-down features that allow users to expand or collapse areas within a report. You can create drill through reports and add URL drill through actions. You can also create parameters and filters that allow users to select or filter the data that they see in a report.

Modifying the Appearance of a Report

Style templates are used to modify the appearance of a report. Style templates contain properties that control the visual elements of a report, such as the size of the text or the background colour of a data region. There are several predefined style templates that you can use to keep your reports consistent with existing reports in Microsoft Dynamics AX. You can also create your own style templates and apply them to a set of reports. Style templates ensure consistency and uniformity throughout your reports.

You can display images in reports. Images can be embedded directly in a report, or they can be referenced from a database table. Embedded images are typically used when the set of images to display is constant, as in key performance indicator (KPI) reports. Images from a database table are typically used when you want to provide images for a set of items listed in a report, which is common in product listings.

In the next parts of the reporting tutorial we will get into the details of the report creation process. The aim of the future articles would be to understand the concepts of Reporting in Dynamics AX using a case study.

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2009 10:50 AM Enterprise Portal Reporting | Back to top


Comments on this post: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction

# re: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction
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Some Visuals wud make it easier to understand
Left by Sonali on Aug 02, 2009 9:22 PM

# re: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction
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Thanks for you comments Sonali, I will try to include some more visuals to this series of articles so that it is easier to understand.
Left by Satya Srikant Mantha on Aug 03, 2009 4:01 AM

# re: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction
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These tools are very useful especially for students and office executives who need to prepare reports and presentations.Sales reports, marketing reports and other types of reports would surely be more interesting by using this tool. It is also great to have the option to auto-generate for beginners or create customized reports for those who require a more detailed and exact layout.
Left by boiler cover on Apr 28, 2010 5:45 PM

# re: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction
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I have a report created through report builder and deployed on the Report Server. How can I deploy this report as a menu Item in dynamics AX 2009??

Thanks
Shruti
Left by Shruti Khanna on Jun 14, 2010 5:45 AM

# re: Reporting Services for Microsoft Dynamics 2009 Enterprise Portal – Part 1 Introduction
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Thanks great info. Do you have any information on creating subreports it seems the report model hides the rdlc and it does not display in the subreport properties.
Left by Josh on Nov 22, 2010 5:32 AM

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