Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Silverlight Charts - Data visualization for SSRS

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I have been always wanting since long, that Microsoft should come out with Silverlight based data visualization controls that can be used in Business Intelligence solutions. Products / Services like Performancepoint Services which are still found digesting the codebase of Proclarity, are not equipped with Silverlight based data visualizations. SSRS Team also bagged the license from Dundas to distribute and use Charts, Bars and data visualization of Dundas but still they do not have that silverlight magical touch. In my previous post about Trend Compass, I mentioned that this is a wonderful way of visualizing or analyzing data as Time can be literally used as a dimension of analysis by the end users instead of using it as a filter, and that too with animation.

Sometimes I happen to find that this BI world is too big and my knowledge is too small. Coming to why I feel so, the reason for the same is Silverlight Toolkit. This toolkit is available from Microsoft and I was completely unaware of one of the wonderful gems that has been developed jointly by SSRS Team and Silverlight team. This gem is known as Silverlight Chart Control which is a part of Silverlight toolkit. This control can be bound to data and has got a lot of functionality to explore, and if you have read my previous post, you would find that this control can cater what Trend Compass offers. A picture is worth thousand words, so watch the below effect that can be obtained from this control. I found this picture on a post of a blogger Tim Heuer.

So if you feel interested, jump on to download this toolkit and try out the use of this control in SSRS. I am also ready to get my hands on trying it's use in SSRS as soon as it get time of my regular work. If you want to check out demo of different controls available from this toolkit including the chart control, you can check out the same from here.


Jason Thomas said...

Is this possible on SSRS? I thought you would not be able to simulate such animations when the default report is rendered in HTML. I didn't find any reference to SSRS in the links provided also. It would be great if such a feature would be available though.

Siddharth Mehta said...

Silverlight controls are generally hosted in a page in the form of .XAP files. In Sharepoint there is a silverlight webpart, that can host .XAP files.
By calling a function on this .XAP files from report such functionality can be made possible, and for the same you need to browse the object model of this control. I see a high possibility of it, but I cannot gurantee it for sure. The links hint to the programmability and as I said I would be trying my hands-on for this effect, not that I already have.

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