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Get Started With Drill Through Reports

Introduction

A drill-through reporting allows a reader to navigate back and forth through a sequence of reports by clicking parametrized links. Such navigation usually consists of the main report that displays items summary and a subreport that provides details for a specific item. In ActiveReportsJS, a report author creates a drill-through link by configuring the Jump to Report action of a report item or its part.

In this tutorial, we build the Drillthrough Sales Chart from the ground up, providing experience with the typical report designing process. By the end, you will be able to do the following:

  • Create a new report
  • Bind the report to the OData API with multiple endpoints
  • Use the OData $select and $filter query options to reduce the volume of retrieved data
  • Build line chart and stacked column chart
  • Use the Report explorer to navigate through the report hierarchy
  • Use the Lookup function to display the data from multiple data sets
  • Setup the parametrized drill through navigation between the main report and the subreport
  • Use the Galley mode and History functions of the report viewer

Upon completion of all tutorial steps, the final report will look like this: live demo.

Prerequisites

The following content assumes that you have the Standalone Report Designer running. Visit the tutorial for detailed information. A stable internet connection is also required to access the Demo Data Hub.

Creating a New Report

In the standalone report designer, click the File menu and select the Continuous Page Layout template for a newly created report. Click anywhere on the gray area around the report layout to load the report properties in the Properties panel. In the Margins section, set the Style property to Narrow to change the report page margins size.

Expand to watch creating a new report in action

Creating a new report

Data Binding

Data binding establishes a connection between the report and the data it displays. In this tutorial, we use the GrapeCity Demo OData API that contains the sales data for a fictitious company called Contoso that is a manufacturing, sales, and support organization with more than 100,000 products.

Adding Data Source

You can think of the Contoso OData API as the "database" that you can connect to using its root URL https://demodata.grapecity.com/contoso/odata/v1, and that has multiple "tables" which presented with endpoints such as /DimCustomers, /DimStores, and /DimProducts. You can create a Report DataSource that establishes the connection to such a "database" using the following steps.

  • Open the Data panel of the property inspector and click the Add button.
  • In the Data Source editor dialog, type Contoso in the NAME field and https://demodata.grapecity.com/contoso/odata/v1 in the ENDPOINT field.
  • Click the Save Changes button

Expand to watch adding the data source in action

Adding data source

Adding Data Sets

Data Sets represent one or more endpoints of the Data Source. For the Drillthrough Sales Report, we need to have access to the data from the /DimChannels and /FactSales endpoints of the Contoso Data Source that we added in the previous section.

Use the following steps to add the Channels data set:

  • Click the + icon near Contoso in the Data panel.
  • In the Data Set Editor dialog, type Channels in the NAME field, /DimChannels in the Uri/Path field, and $.value.* in the Json Path field.
  • By default, each Channel record includes seven fields, but we don't need them all. Therefore we limit the retrieved fields by applying the OData $select query option via a query parameter.
    • Click the + icon on the right side of the Parameters section.
    • Type $select in the Parameter field of the newly added Parameter item.
    • Type ChannelKey, ChannelName in the Value field of the same Parameter item.
  • Click the Validate button.
  • Ensure that the DataBase Fields section displays [2 items] text.
  • Click the Save Changes button.

Expand to watch adding the Channels data set in action

Adding data set

Next, add the Sales data set with the same approach:

  • Click the + icon near Contoso in the Data panel.
  • In the Data Set Editor dialog, type Sales in the NAME field, /FactSales in the Uri/Path field, and $.value.* in the Json Path field.
  • By default, each FactSales record includes 19 fields, but we don't need them all. Therefore we limit the retrieved fields by applying the OData $select query option via the query parameter.
    • Click the + icon on the right side of the Parameters section.
    • Type $select in the Parameter field of the newly added Parameter item.
    • Type DateKey, ChannelKey, SalesAmount in the Value field of the same Parameter item.
  • Click the Validate button.
  • Ensure that the DataBase Fields section displays [3 items] text.
  • Click the Save Changes button.

Saving report templates

The report template that we created is the starting point of both the main report and the subreport. Hence, it's convenient to save this template to two files:

  • In the standalone report designer, open the File menu, then click the Save As item on the sidebar and save the report under DrillThroughMainReport.rdlx-json name in the directory of your choice.
  • Repeat the same operation to save the report template under DrillThroughSubReport.rdlx-json in the same directory.

Expand to watch saving report templates in action

Saving report templates

Adding Subreport Parameters

A drill-through link between the main report and a subreport has two properties:

  • The subreport name
  • The collection of subreport parameter values

The subreport accepts these parameter values and filters the visualized data accordingly.

In this step, we add two parameters that will filter the data displayed in DrillThroughSubReport.rdlx-json report:

  • In the Data panel click the + Add button in the Parameters Section.
  • Type SalesYear in the Name field.
  • Select Integer in the Data Typedrop-down.
  • Click the Hidden switch to prevent the parameter input from being shown to a report reader.
  • In the Default Value section, select the Non-queried tab, expand the Values collection, click the Add Item button, and type 2007 in the newly added field.

Expand to watch adding the SalesYear parameter in action

Adding parameters

Using the same approach, add the ChannelKey parameter:

  • Click the Left Arrow icon near the EDIT PARAMETER header.
  • In the Data panel, click the + Add button in the Parameters Section.
  • Type ChannelKey in the Name field.
  • Select Integer in the Data Typedrop-down.
  • Click the Hidden switch to prevent the parameter input from being shown to a report reader.
  • In the Default Value section, select the Non-queried tab, expand the Values collection, click the Add Item button and type 2 in the newly added field.

Modifying the Subreport DataSet

The DrillThroughSubReport.rdlx-json should display monthly sales for the given sales year and channel. Thus, we should modify the Sales data set by adding the $filter option in the query parameters.

  • Click the Left Arrow icon near the EDIT PARAMETER header.
  • Click the Pencil icon near Sales in the Data panel.
  • Click the + icon on the right side of the Parameters section.
  • Type $filter in the Parameter field of the newly added Parameter item.
  • Type ChannelKey+eq+{@ChannelKey}+and+Year(DateKey)+eq+{@SalesYear} in the Value field of the same Parameter item.
  • Click the Validate button.
  • In the Parameter Prompt that appears, type 2 in the @ChannelKey field, 2007 in the @SalesYear field and click the Save & Run button.
  • Ensure that the DataBase Fields section displays [3 items] text.

Adding Line Chart

To display monthly sales data, we use the Line Chart:

  • Expand the toolbox using the Hamburger menu located on the left side of the toolbar.
  • Drag and drop the Chart item from the toolbox to the report page area's top-left corner.
  • Switch to the Properties panel in the Property inspector.
  • Select the Line item in the Plot Template drop-down menu. The property panel automatically displays properties of the Chart Plot.

Expand to watch adding the Line Chart in action

Adding line chart

Configuring Line Chart Plot

The plot properties define the visualization of actual data within a chart. Follow the next steps to configure the line chart plot.

  • In the Properties panel, expand the Values editor using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the Add Item button and open the newly added value editor using the gear icon on the right side.
  • Expand the Values list using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the gray box on the right side of the default value and choose the SalesAmount element in the drop-down menu.
  • Choose Sum in the Aggregate drop-down.

Expand to watch configuring the plot value in action

Configuring Line Chart Plot

In the same manner, configure the plot category:

  • Return to the Plot properties using the Left Arrow icon near the Value Properties header.
  • Expand the Category editor in the Encodings section using the List icon on the right side.
  • Type {MonthName(Month(DateKey))} in the default category field.
  • Type {Month(DateKey)} in the Category Sort Expression field.
  • Select Ascending in the Category Sort Directiondrop-down.

Thus, the plot will display the sum of sales amounts for each month extracted from many DateKey values. Months will appear in the natural order, from January to December.

Next, configure the line appearance:

  • Scroll down to the Style section and set the Line Color to Black and the Line Width to 2pt.
  • In the Symbols section, choose Dot for the Symbol Shape property, White for the Background Color property, and Solid for Style property.

You can now preview the report output and see how the plot we just configured displays monthly sales using dots connected with the line.

Configuring Line Chart appearance

The report explorer provides a convenient way to navigate through report parts and load their properties for modification. Click the Explorer icon on the toolbox and pin the Explorer panel. You can see the report hierarchy, and if you select a node, its properties appear in the properties panel. Click the Chart item and set the Width property to 7.5in and the Height property to 6in in the property panel.

Expand to watch setting chart dimensions in action

Setting chart dimensions

Similarly, set the properties of the X Axis - [Plot 1], and Y Axis - [Plot 1] chart sub-items according to tables below. Check the Chart Axes documentation for the detailed explanation of these properties.

X Axis - [Plot 1]

Property Value
Title Empty string(Reset the default value)
Line Visible False
Labels Color #1a1a1a
Labels Angle -45
Major Grid/Show Grid Lines True
Major Grid/Width 0.25pt
Major Grid/Color #ccc

Y Axis - [Plot 1]

Property Value
Title Empty string(Reset the default value)
Line Visible False
Labels Color #1a1a1a
Labels Format c2(select Currency in the drop-down)
Major Grid/Show Grid Lines True
Major Grid/Width 0.25pt
Major Grid/Color Gainsboro
Major Grid/ Major Interval 20000

The chart might look distorted at design-time, but you can preview the report output and notice that it looks sharp.

Configuring Line Chart Header

The chart header should display the information about the data's sales channel and year. These values are available as the report parameters values so that we could use the Monthly {@ChannelKey} Sales in {@SalesYear} Expression, but the ChannelKey is the integer value, and we want to display the actual sales channel name. We will use the Lookup function to resolve the Channel Name by its Key.

  • Click the Chart1 -> Header item in the report explorer.
  • Set the Caption property to Monthly {Lookup(@ChannelKey, ChannelKey, ChannelName, "Channels")} Sales in {@SalesYear} expression. The Lookup function takes the value of the first argument - the ChannelKey parameter value - finds the row with the same ChannelKey in the Channels data set and returns the corresponding ChannelName.
  • Also, set the Text Color of the chart header to #3da7a8, the Font Size to 22pt, and then the Font Weight to Bold.

You can preview the report output and notice that the chart header displays the Monthly Online Sales in 2007 header.

We finished configuring the drill-through subreport. Go back to the report design, and save the progress using the Save button of the standalone report designer.

Next, open the previously saved DrillThroughMainReport.rdlx-json using the Open button of the File menu.

Adding Stacked Column Chart and Configuring its Plot, Appearance, and Header

The main report of the drill-through navigation uses the stacked column chart to display the annual sales data:

  • Expand the toolbox using the Hamburger menu located on the left side of the toolbar.
  • Drag and drop the Chart item from the toolbox to the report page area's top-left corner.
  • Switch to the Properties panel in the Property inspector.
  • Select the Column Stacked in the Plot Template drop-down menu. The property panel automatically displays chart plot properties.
  • In the Properties panel, expand the Values editor using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the Add Item button and open the newly added value editor using the gear icon on the right side.
  • Expand the Values list using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the gray box on the right side of the default value and choose the SalesAmount element in the drop-down menu.
  • Choose Sum in the Aggregate drop-down.
  • Return to the Plot properties using the Left Arrow icon near the Value Properties header.
  • Expand the Category editor in the Encodings section using the List icon on the right side.
  • Type {Year(DateKey)} in the default category field.
  • Type {Year(DateKey)} in the Category Sort Expression field.
  • Select Ascending in the Category Sort Direction drop-down.

Set the following properties for the Chart1 item using the Report Explorer as it was explained in the Configuring Line Chart appearance section above:

Property Value
Width 7.5in
Height 7.5in

For the X Axis - [Plot 1] item:

Property Value
Title Empty string(Reset the default value)
Line Visible False

For the Y Axis - [Plot 1] item:

Property Value
Title Empty string(Reset the default value)
Line Visible False
Labels Color #3c3c3c
Labels Format c2(select Currency in the drop-down)
Major Grid/Show Grid Lines True
Major Grid/Width 0.25pt
Major Grid/Style Dashed
Major Grid/Color #ccc
Major Grid/ Major Interval 50000

And for the Header item:

Property Value
Caption Annual Sales by Channel
Font Size 20pt
Font Weight Bold

Configuring Stacked Column Chart Details

You can now preview the report output and notice that it displays the sum of sales for each year, but it also should split each column among sales channels and show the legend. To achieve that, we use the Details Encoding, Colors Encoding, and the Legend configuration :

  • Go back to the report design select the Plot item in the Report Explorer.
  • Expand the Details editor in the Encodings section using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the Add Item button and open the newly added value editor using the gear icon on the right side.
  • Expand the Values list using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the gray box on the right side of the default value and choose the ChannelKey element in the drop-down menu.
  • Return to the Plot properties using the Left Arrow icon near the Details Properties header.
  • Expand the Color editor in the Encodings section using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the Add Item button and type {Lookup(ChannelKey, ChannelKey, ChannelName, "Channels")} in the newly added item field. This usage of the Lookup function is similar to the one for the Line Chart header described earlier.
  • Select the Legend - Color item in the Report Explorer.
  • Set the Orientation property to Horizontal and the Position property to Top in the Layout section.

Displaying Plot Labels and Tooltips

You can now preview the report output and notice that each column splits into four colored parts that correspond to the sales channels, and the legend helps to match the color with the channel name. To improve the data visualization, we configure the Plot Labels and Tooltips appearance:

  • Go back to the report design select the Plot item in the Report Explorer.
  • Select the Color Field Value item in the Tooltip Template drop-down in the Common section.
  • Click the gray box on the right side of the Template editor in the Label Text section of the Properties panel and select the Expression... item. The Expression Editor will appear. Type {valueField.value:C2} in the expression text area and click the Save button.
  • Set the Label Text/Position property to Center

Expand to watch configuring plot tooltips and labels in action

Configuring Tooltips and Labels

You can now preview the report output and notice that the chart columns display the sales amount for each channel and year, and the channel name tooltip shows up when the mouse is over a column.

Finally, we configure the link between the main report and subreport for the drill-through navigation.

  • Go back to the report design select the Plot item in the Report Explorer.
  • Select the Jump to Report in the Type editor of the Action section.
  • In the Jump to Report editor select the DrillThroughSubReport.rdlx-json item.
  • Expand the Parameters editor using the List icon on the right side.
  • Click the Add Item button and open the newly added value editor using the gear icon on the right side.
  • Type ChannelKey in the Parameter Name field and select the ChannelKey item in the Value drop-down.
  • Return to the Plot properties using the Left Arrow icon near the Parameter Properties header.
  • Similarly add another parameter with SalesYear name and {Year(DateKey)} value.

You can now preview the report output and click any column and notice that the report viewer opens the subreport with the detailed data on the selected sales year and channel as per drill through configuration. You can go back using the Go Back in History report viewer toolbar button. You can also click the rightmost button, called Galley Mode. It switches the viewer mode to display the unpaginated output that is suitable for reading drill-through reports.

The final version of report is available at the demo web-site.