Once the datasets and KPIs are in place, you are ready to assemble dashboard pages. Web developers may find this process similar to designing a web page in Visual Studio but it is much simpler because you don't have to write code. The Toolbox pane includes a plethora of controls that are organized in four groups:
- KPIs – contains the key performance indicators that you have defined
- Datasets – contains the datasets that you have defined to visualize tabular data
- Data Controls – shows the controls that you can use for visualization of KPIs and datasets. Here is where the Dundas visualization power becomes evident. You will find a large assortment of charts, gauges, indicators, and other controls that should give you everything you need to convey data effectively.
- General Controls – includes common controls for decorative and interactive purposes, such as Line, Frame, Image, Label, Hyperlink, Button, CheckBox, etc.
You can drag an element and drop it to an existing dashboard page at an arbitrary location. Overwriting the preferred visualization of the element is a matter of a few simple steps:
- Drag a visualization control, such as Radial Gauge, from the toolbox and drop it on the dashboard page.
- Drag the KPI and drop it onto the visualization control.
- Fine-tune the KPI appearance by setting properties in the Properties Window (see Figure 3 ).
Figure 3. Assemble a dashboard by dragging and dropping datasets, KPIs, and visualization controls.
Dashboard pages often include global parameters (called filters in PerformancePoint) to let end users filter all data shown in the dashboard or a subset of elements. Dundas gives you a lot of flexibility for parameterizing your dashboard pages. As a prerequisite of implementing a global parameter, you need to define a public filter inside the element configuration. When doing so, if you use an Analysis Services as a data source, you can specify if the attribute All member is allowed for selection, the grain of the filter, such as Year, Quarter, or Month level, and the filter default value.
Next, during the dashboard implementation phase, you can define a global parameter by clicking the Add New Parameter link found under the Parameters section in the ToolBox Window. This starts a wizard that asks for the parameter name, which dashboard elements (datasets and KPIs) can be filtered using this parameter, and which element filters the parameter should connect to. Then, you specify the parameter type as a single parameter, a range, single hierarchy, or a hierarchy range. Finally, you specify the parameter grain and default values. Once a parameter is defined, it can be dragged and dropped to the dashboard just like any other control. Figure 4 shows a range parameter added to a dashboard in design mode.
Figure 4. Dundas Dashboard supports different parameter types, including ranges.
In case of date parameters, Dundas Dashboard supports relative dates. At run time, the users could expand the drop-down list next to the date picker and choose a relative date, such as End of Previous Month, or use the advanced properties to specify a custom date offset.