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Editor's Note: New Releases!

This month, Dundas Software released a new version of Dundas Chart for .NET: v5.5.1.1700. As well, a new version of Dundas Chart for .NET - OLAP Services is available, v5.5.1.1701, which includes all the fixes from the new build of Dundas Chart for .NET.

In addition to updates to our core products, Dundas Software is pleased to announce a brand new product: Dundas Chart for SharePoint! Dundas Chart for SharePoint 2007 is currently in Beta and accepting new members. While SharePoint is a different environment from .NET, it has the advantage of being easy to configure by both those strong in development practices and those who are more business oriented.

On a different note, a new Support Section has been added to the Dundas homepage, which contains links to all of the support material offered by Dundas. Additionally, this new support section contains a new section called Sample of the Month which features every article that has been in the newsletter over the past months.

Terrence Sheflin

In this Issue: February 26, 2007


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Excel Data Export (Add-On)

In a previous newsletter we featured the Excel Image Export Add-On which saves a Chart image into an Excel file. However, we have received quite a few requests from clients for the ability to export Chart's data into an Excel file format and have thus implemented this request as an add-on.

The Excel Data Export add-on is built upon Chart's existing functionality of exporting its data to a DataSet. This exported DataSet is then written into an XML Stream with an applied style sheet. The result of the applied style sheet on the XML is an Excel data file in XML format. The Windows Forms version of this add-on saves the created files on the disk. However, the ASP.NET version of this add-on can save the data both to disk and send the data as part of the HTTP response, where the browser will prompt the user to open the file using Microsoft Excel.

As this utility class is a static class you only need to invoke its exportChart method. Before this method is called, however, you need to set the fileUrl property to a path which includes a directory location and a file name. Generally, the steps to use this add-on are as follows:

  1. Add the ExportToExcel file to your project
  2. Add the style sheet XMLToExcel.xslt to your project
  3. Use the class in your project

Once these steps have been completed, implementation using this utility class is fairly easy. The full article contains sample code snippets demonstrating how to use this add-on as well as the full source code to the add-on for use in your own projects.

Tips n' Tricks Chart | Gauge | Map

General Tips

Dundas Components and Daylight Savings Time Changes
Dundas Software products are used to visualize data and as such do not rely on dates themselves. All data provided to our entire line of visualization products is provided by the developer or user and thus left to their discretion to ensure the data complies with the daylight savings time changes. Since our products work in this way, no changes are required for our products to be compliant: they already are.

That said, we do have some tips to help you ensure your data displays correctly no matter what form it is in. Typically, your data will be defined with times like 12:00 a.m., 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., etc., where no indication is given for the current time zone and any daylight saving time that occurs within it. This means if your data is recorded while an hour rolls ahead or rolls back, your clock will either experience 1:00 a.m. twice, or it will skip over 2:00 a.m. straight to 3:00 a.m. Dundas Chart will plot this data as it is stored in your database or other data source and does not interact with the clock directly. A few tips are contained within the full article to ensure these entries are displayed clearly.
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Join the Dundas Chart for SharePoint Beta
As mentioned above, Dundas Chart for SharePoint is now in Beta and accepting new users. To sign up, go to the Dundas Beta Page and select the Request Access Now link. Dundas Chart for SharePoint provides a whole new way to set up and configure Dundas Chart and joining the Beta is a great way to learn how to use it and see the many ways it can be used to visualize your data.

How to Dynamically Change Chart's Culture Settings at Run-Time
Dundas Chart formats all text based on the current thread's culture. If the current thread's culture is set to EN-US then the culture used to format text within the Dundas control will be EN-US.

If you want to dynamically change the culture for a Dundas control at run-time without affecting the culture of other elements on the page, then you need to override the Render event. Once the Render event has been overridden, it is necessary to save the original culture, change it, call the base Render method and then set the culture back to the original value. Code snippets and source files demonstrating how to do this are available within the full article.
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Chart for Reporting Services

Create a Grouped Pie Chart in Dundas Chart for Reporting Services
The last newsletter explained how a Grouped Pie Chart can be created in Dundas Chart for .NET. This month we have extended this explanation and functionality to Dundas Chart for Reporting Services. In Dundas Chart for Reporting Services, you must first group the series and then use custom code to go through each series and add the data points of each series to the two new pie series. Typically, most of the implementation is placed within the PostApplyData event. Code explaining how to use this feature as well as a sample RDL file are available within the full article.
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Use Dundas Gauge to Create a Bullet Graph
Many of the leading dashboard experts on popular websites describe a type of graph called the Bullet Graph. This is supposed to be one of the single most powerful widgets, since it can display a large amount of data and is extremely space efficient. Quite a few Dundas clients have asked if it is possible to create such a graph using Dundas Chart. While it is possible, it is far easier and faster to create a Bullet Graph in Dundas Gauge for .NET. Attached at the bottom of the full article are XML templates for creating a Bullet Graph Gauge. To load an XML template, simply drop a Gauge control onto your page, right click on it and select load template. Once you have selected the template from the menu, select "Load Complete Gauge"; you will instantly have a bullet graph ready to go.
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How to Plot Street Addresses, Zip Codes or City Names on your Map
Dundas Map works with and displays information using geographical coordinates. If you have data to plot geographically with location data aside from coordinates, such as street addresses, zip codes, or city names, you will need to convert these to geographical coordinates first since Dundas Map cannot store extremely large geocoded databases.

Some information, such as zip codes, can be imported into Dundas Map as shapes; see our article on ESRI shapefile sources for some examples of sources for these shapes. Other information like street addresses must be interpolated before being put into Dundas Map. Geographical coordinates can be found from multiple sources on the internet; if you are manually trying to find the coordinates of a street address then an easy solution is to type the address into Google Maps and zoom in. You will find the coordinates in the "ll" parameter of the "Link To This Page" hyperlink.

To find geographical coordinates during run-time from within your application, you can send HTTP requests to the APIs provided by Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, or MapQuest. Additionally, Microsoft MapPoint provides web services which you can also use to get coordinate data within your application.

Dundas Q & A Chart | Gauge | Map

Chart for Reporting Services

Q. I'm having problems using Dundas Chart for Reporting Services on a 64-bit machine after the install.
A. Normally the installer will copy RSChartInstaller.exe and run it at the end of the install process. However, if you are using a 64-bit machine, the installer may fail to run this file. In this case it is possible to run the file yourself in order to complete the install process. To run the RSChartInstaller.exe file manually, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Dundas Software\Charting\Reporting Services\Tools (default install location). If this does not solve the problem, please refer to the full article for manual installation steps.
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Chart for .NET - OLAP Services

Q. How can I handle errors detected by OLAP manager?
A. If an error occurs inside the OLAP manager, you cannot put a try/catch block to handle the error because the code is not exposed. However, you can handle the error in the OLAP manager by using the ErrorDetected event handler.
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Gauge for .NET

Q. I am trying to use the Dundas Gauge (for VS2005 .NET) as a web part in SharePoint 2007. Is it possible?
A. While Dundas Software has released an official beta version of Dundas Chart for SharePoint 2007, there is currently no version of Dundas Gauge for SharePoint. However, Dundas Gauge for .NET can still be used as a web part. Dundas Software has put together a white paper explaining how to integrate Dundas Chart for .NET into SharePoint as a web part and the same tactic used in the white paper can be employed for Dundas Gauge as well.
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Map for .NET

Q. Why do I get GDI+ error when trying to save a PNG image into the Response?
A. In ASP.NET, images can be saved only into a bidirectional stream. The most common approach to saving an image created by Map into the response is to write it directly to the HTTP Response object. However, the HTTP Response object is not a bidirectional stream. The solution is to first write the image into a memory stream and then write the memory stream to Response.OutputStream.
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