Sunday, October 14, 2012

Using SSRS with Silverlight, HTML5, JavaScript, Flash, Google Charts and other third party products.

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SSRS, Powerpivot, Powerview, Excel Services, Powerpoint Services, Sharepoint Dashboarding all offer variety of data visualizations. But most of them end up with a static graphic image on a web browser, which is neither interactive nor appealing enough to the end users. Many architects take the route of custom development or try seeking reusable assets (third party / in-house) that can be used to bring a wow-factor on the user interface. These report platforms are not packaged with those rich interactive graphical capabilities that can blend on a portal or by itself serve the high-end UI needs.

For example, the charts and graphs that are generated by SSRS report output, are in the form of static images. There is no way that user can click on a chart/graph and it would drill down to the next level of hierarchy. Also if I have two charts/graphs and I want to configure them in a way such that I click on one of them and the other shows context sensitive information related to the same. Often reporting systems require such graphical interactivity, but the present stack of reporting tools are not yet capable of presenting such information with user interactivity.

There are different options that can be taken to provide reporting using a rich UI, which are mentioned as below:

1) Develop UI using Silverlight applications (.xap)
2) Develop UI using Silverlight + .Net or plain .Net
3) Develop UI using HTML5 + JavaScript + Adobe Flash based graphics
4) Develop UI using online charting services like Google Charts
5) Develop UI using third party tools.

A sample architecture diagram is shown below where application layers makes calls to SSRS web services. Above mentioned options would fit in one or other layer and have its own advantages and limitations.

Below listed are different chart and graph options to generate interactive charts and graphs, and blend with your UI along with SSRS reports.

1) Highcharts

2) JS Charts

3) gRaphael JavaScript Library

4) amCharts : JavaScript / HTML5 Charts

5) RGraph JavaScript Chart and Graphs

6) FusionCharts : JavaScript, HTML5 and Flash based data visualizations

7) JPowered JavaScript graphing library

8) CHAP Links Library using Google Charts Visualization

9) TeeChart JavaScript and HTML5 charting library

10) jQuery Sparklines plugin

11) jqPlot : jQuery plotting plugin

12) Microsoft Silverlight Toolkit

13) Infragistics NetAdvantage Ultimate

14) Dojo Charting

15) CanvasXpress - JavaScript library based on HTML5 Canvas Tag

16) Flotr2- JavaScript library based on HTML5 Canvas Tag


1030 said...

Hi Siddharth,

Can you please specify the process for displaying highcharts using ssrs and finally display the output on reportserver.

Raymond Amegadjin said...

Hi Siddharth,
As mentioned by the previous comment ,i would also be interested in basic steps using the Web service of SSRS and a charting platform like Google Chart or Highchart .

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