April 5, 2012 by
Category:

Power Builder, PowerPivot. Let me guess what word is common in these technologies ,“POWER”.  Quite a few products and technologies have used the word “Power” to give a sense of empowerment to the users. And, I guess they deserve to use the name as they have delivered the results. Now there’s another one to join the family and that’s Power View (aka. Project Crescent) in SQL Server 2012.

 

So far Power View seems pretty good. It does empower the end users. Here’s the requirements for using Power View:

  • SharePoint 2010 Enterprise edition with SP1
  • SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot (SharePoint must be configured as well)
  • Silverlight 5 (What?? No HTML 5 or AJAX?? Sad smile)

 

Yes, you read it right. It’s a Silverlight 5 based application and it won’t run on iOS. That’s where Microsoft should have offered AJAX alternative as well so those who don’t have Silverlight plug-in could use it as well. If you could just come over this one itsy bitsy drawback Power View is definitely an excellent self-servicing BI feature for business users.

As far as data source goes, Power View requires one of the following:

  • Tabular Model (New in SSAS 2012)
  • PowerPivot based Excel report (this could use OLTP, OLAP or Tabular Model)

Here are some of the graphical visualizations that we can create in Power View:

  • Charts (Horizontal and Vertical)

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  • Scatter Chart (with Play Axis. Simply love the animation for showing breakdown of the data over period of time)

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  • Charts (with Tiles)

image

 

  • Views (OK, this is not really a visualization since it’s available out-of-the-box but I just got to mention it since it’s soooooo good. Just like Excel has sheets concept, PowerPoint has slides concept the Power View has views concept. It lets you add multiple views of the data in the same report. You could say that it’s Power View’s equivalent to Sub-report in SSRS)

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Here are the pros, cons and the personal verdict (it’s by no means an exhaustive list of pros and cons)

Pros:

  • Easy to create reports in a matter of minutes
  • No programming / SQL knowledge is required
  • Out-of-the-Box animations and visualizations (Play Axis stole my heart away)
  • Easy to filter reports at control level or at the report level

Cons:

  • Uses Silverlight plug-in
  • Yet to see any support for creating custom extensions or plug-ins to develop custom visualizations and animations

 

Personal Verdict:

Excellent reporting tool for business users and delivers well considering it’s the first iteration of Power View. Definitely looking forward to it’s future iterations.

2 Comments

amit

Sir. this is a great article but can u tell about what happens after i create a report for e.g. how i am going to distribute it to user. where and how will i host it. where and how can i publish the reports and can i apply scheduler on report for e.g. email a report automatically to manager at 9:00 am in morning

Faheem

Thanks for your comments, Amit. As for your questions here the answers:
1. Hosting is done on SharePoint. That’s one of the shortcomings of Power View that it can’t operate without SharePoint so all Power View reports have to be hosted on SharePoint. You have to configure Power Pivot Gallery as well.
2. Distribution can be done in two ways. First way is to provide URL to the Power View reports. Power View has .rdlx (instead of rdl) extension. Once report has been created and hosted on SharePoint then the URL to the report can be sent to the user. Either add the URL to the Links List in SharePoint or configure the Library so it automatically emails the links to the modified / created reports to the users. Second way to distribute the report is to export the Power View report as Power Point file. Export option is available in the Power View web based designer. Again, SharePoint is mandatory to do that. Once the report has been exported to PowerPoint it retains the animations and no longer requires SharePoint and instead just requires standard PowerPoint or Power Point viewer on the machine.
3. As for the scheduling part I am yet to see this feature. It’s definitely available for the regular Reporting Services based reports (.rdl extension) but this feature doesn’t seem to be there for Power View (rdlx) based reports. I could be wrong about it but as I mentioned I haven’t found this option on Power View based reports so far.

HTH

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