You can add interactive features to your dashboards to make them more user-friendly and informative. One interesting interactive option is hover-over actions that navigate the user to another dashboard or a web page. Coupled with the scripting, hover-over actions are a powerful mechanism to provide additional context to KPIs and datasets.
Figure 5. Hover-over actions navigate the user to another dashboard.
Figure 5 shows the effect of a hover-over action initiated by the user pointing the mouse cursor over the small image above the KPI to open the Variable Operational Expenses Trend dashboard in order to see more details behind the Support Expenses per Month KPI. Behind the scenes, the hover action triggers an event that executes the following script:
ParameterInfoCollection params = new ParameterInfoCollection();
param = new ParameterInfo();
param.GrainLevel = e.GrainLevel;
param.ParameterName = "MarginTime";
param.FilterValues = DateRange.FilterValues;
sender, e, params, 500, 300);
Another interactive feature that your users will appreciate is drillthrough. KPIs and datasets can be configured for drillthrough actions. Similar to hover-overs, developers can write custom scripts to control the scope and target of the action.
Finally, end users can add annotations. A user annotation is a comment that is manually attached to a data point (or data range) by a user viewing a dashboard. These comments can be used to add context to data or to communicate with other users.
Implementing Analytical Dashboards
Dundas analytical dashboards are somewhat similar to PerformancePoint analytical charts and grids. It allows end users to analyze data from an Analysis Services cube interactively. Dundas provides three controls for implementing an analytical dashboard:
- Analytical Chart – a control for building an interactive chart reports using any of the supported chart types, such as bar, line, chart, etc.
- Analytical Grid – a control for implementing crosstab (pivot) reports.
- Analytical Combo – a tabbed control that lets the user switch between chart and grid views.
Figure 6 shows a sample analytical dashboard with an Analytical Combo control connected to the Adventure Works cube.
Figure 6. Add an analytical dashboard to let users create interactive historical and trend reports from a cube.
Implementing the above analytical dashboard takes a few mouse clicks:
- Right-click the Analytical Dashboards section in the Design Explorer and choose New Analytical Dashboard.
- Drag the Analytical Combo control and save the changes.
- At run time, the users can drag the cube objects and drop them to the Measures, Categorical, Grouping, and Slicer zone.
To avoid starting from scratch each time users open the analytical dashboard page, you can add pre-defined report views to the virtual cube. Unlike PerformancePoint, version 2.0 of Dundas Dashboard doesn't let you write custom MDX queries when requirements go beyond creating simple reports.