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Is ASP.NET the best choice for producing reports?

P: n/a
Hi,

I am developing a timesheet system that collects information about employees
activities. In this I collect details about projects they do work for, what
type of work, how long, when etc etc.

For distributed data input/storage and display I am happy using ASP.NET.
However ther eis one aspect of the project I am not entirely comfortable
with, report production. The requirement is to produce 6 or 7 reports that
view certain aspects of the data in particular layouts with certain totals,
averages, etc. Getting the data was not to difficult although the ROLLUP
and CUBE function in SQL Server did tend to have a habit of producing more
results rows than I needed.

I wont begin to mention my woes at creating my own version of the Access
TRANSFORM/PIVOT functions.

So in my BLL I began stripping rows and creating new tables to pass on to my
Presentation layer. However once here I found my self having to perform all
sorts of webcontrol acrobatics to get my data to display how I want it. A
combinational mixture of nested repeaters/datagrid/datalists aloong with
many datarelations to link results sets from several complex sql statements,
then there was the color fomatting, in comes the use of the ItemDatabound
event to check rows as they are added.

By then end I have several reports that while look good, have completely
destroyed any sense of object modelling in that area of the code, I
specialised where I could but the difference in data returned made it near
impossible to find any common means to create a useful hierarchy.

So my question after all this is: Is ASP.NET suited to producing/displaying
reports of a complex nature in a way that can be easily maintained? Would
something like Crystal reports be better used for this aspect of the
projects.

Now I am totally open to the suggestion that I have obviously not grasped to
full features available to me in ADO.NET but it would seem that is, in some
respects, more difficult now that it was in ASP. The more complex the data
the more you are contrained by the generic nature of data displaying
webcontrols.

MattC
Nov 18 '05 #1
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2 Replies


P: n/a
Hi Matt:

If you are using SQL Server (not MSDE), you might want to consider SQL
Server Reporting Services which comes with the SQL Server license.

http://www.microsoft.com/sql/reporting/default.asp

You can design the reports in SSRS and decouple them from the rest of
the application. The formatting and layout will generally need you to
jump through fewer hoops.

There are a few ways to integrate SSRS into an ASP.NET applicaiton.
You can just have users go directly to the report server, which has a
web based report browsing GUI. You can embed reports into a form with
the report viewer component. You can also use the web service API for
full control.

--
Scott
http://www.OdeToCode.com

On Mon, 27 Sep 2004 15:25:38 +0100, "MattC" <m@m.com> wrote:
Hi,

I am developing a timesheet system that collects information about employees
activities. In this I collect details about projects they do work for, what
type of work, how long, when etc etc.

For distributed data input/storage and display I am happy using ASP.NET.
However ther eis one aspect of the project I am not entirely comfortable
with, report production. The requirement is to produce 6 or 7 reports that
view certain aspects of the data in particular layouts with certain totals,
averages, etc. Getting the data was not to difficult although the ROLLUP
and CUBE function in SQL Server did tend to have a habit of producing more
results rows than I needed.

I wont begin to mention my woes at creating my own version of the Access
TRANSFORM/PIVOT functions.

So in my BLL I began stripping rows and creating new tables to pass on to my
Presentation layer. However once here I found my self having to perform all
sorts of webcontrol acrobatics to get my data to display how I want it. A
combinational mixture of nested repeaters/datagrid/datalists aloong with
many datarelations to link results sets from several complex sql statements,
then there was the color fomatting, in comes the use of the ItemDatabound
event to check rows as they are added.

By then end I have several reports that while look good, have completely
destroyed any sense of object modelling in that area of the code, I
specialised where I could but the difference in data returned made it near
impossible to find any common means to create a useful hierarchy.

So my question after all this is: Is ASP.NET suited to producing/displaying
reports of a complex nature in a way that can be easily maintained? Would
something like Crystal reports be better used for this aspect of the
projects.

Now I am totally open to the suggestion that I have obviously not grasped to
full features available to me in ADO.NET but it would seem that is, in some
respects, more difficult now that it was in ASP. The more complex the data
the more you are contrained by the generic nature of data displaying
webcontrols.

MattC


Nov 18 '05 #2

P: n/a
Is canvas the best choice for painting landscapes?

The reason I ask this is that ASP.Net is not a software product, but a
platform for developing software products, much as canvas is the medium for
painting. ASP.Net makes a great platform for developing thin-client software
apps. That doesn't help you much with your issue however.

There are several popular reports-generating tool suites, such as Crystal
Reports, that you can certainly employ on the ASP.Net platform, or you can
write your own. When all is said and done, it comes down to a couple of
issues:

1. How much are you willing to pay? Third-party solutions are less flexible
than your own, but cost less.
2. How much control do you want? Third-party solutions are limited in
functionality, but you are not (see number 1)
3. How much do you trust the vendor? Third-party solutions can be great
software. Often, they are not.

--
HTH,
Kevin Spencer
..Net Developer
Microsoft MVP
I get paid good money to
solve puzzles for a living

"MattC" <m@m.com> wrote in message
news:OL**************@TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl...
Hi,

I am developing a timesheet system that collects information about employees activities. In this I collect details about projects they do work for, what type of work, how long, when etc etc.

For distributed data input/storage and display I am happy using ASP.NET.
However ther eis one aspect of the project I am not entirely comfortable
with, report production. The requirement is to produce 6 or 7 reports that view certain aspects of the data in particular layouts with certain totals, averages, etc. Getting the data was not to difficult although the ROLLUP
and CUBE function in SQL Server did tend to have a habit of producing more
results rows than I needed.

I wont begin to mention my woes at creating my own version of the Access
TRANSFORM/PIVOT functions.

So in my BLL I began stripping rows and creating new tables to pass on to my Presentation layer. However once here I found my self having to perform all sorts of webcontrol acrobatics to get my data to display how I want it. A
combinational mixture of nested repeaters/datagrid/datalists aloong with
many datarelations to link results sets from several complex sql statements, then there was the color fomatting, in comes the use of the ItemDatabound
event to check rows as they are added.

By then end I have several reports that while look good, have completely
destroyed any sense of object modelling in that area of the code, I
specialised where I could but the difference in data returned made it near
impossible to find any common means to create a useful hierarchy.

So my question after all this is: Is ASP.NET suited to producing/displaying reports of a complex nature in a way that can be easily maintained? Would
something like Crystal reports be better used for this aspect of the
projects.

Now I am totally open to the suggestion that I have obviously not grasped to full features available to me in ADO.NET but it would seem that is, in some respects, more difficult now that it was in ASP. The more complex the data the more you are contrained by the generic nature of data displaying
webcontrols.

MattC

Nov 18 '05 #3

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