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Editor's Note: Speaking your language

As a member of the Dundas Software support team, I frequently get to speak to customers about how they use our products. While the environment used varies a great deal, the biggest difference is language: VB.NET or C#. Here at Dundas Software, we code in both languages and the selection depends on the task as well as the developer's personal preference. But enough about us, what I'd like to know is which one you prefer.

Newsletter Poll

The results of the poll will be in the next issue of this newsletter.

I'd also like to mention that the support team is currently in the planning stages of an online forum which will be used to answer your questions online. If you have ideas of what you'd like to see in the forum, such as a VB section with all code in VB, then feel free to write in and tell me.

Terrence Sheflin

In this Issue: May 23, 2006

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Six Sigma for Reporting Services

Not long ago Dundas Software released its Dundas Chart for .NET add-on Six Sigma for .NET. We have ported this powerful statistical process control (SPC) class library to Reporting Services and are proud to offer it as a new free add-on.

Our Six Sigma for Reporting Services has a full set of SPC Charts available, including:
  • P-Chart*
  • C-Chart*
  • NP-Chart
  • S-Chart*
  • R-Chart*
  • XBAR-Chart*
  • Individuals Chart
*Sample included demonstrating how to create this type of chart

This add-on works by taking advantage of the new external assembly feature in Dundas Chart for Reporting Services v1.5, and includes the source code for the assembly to show how you can take advantage of this functionality. The full article contains an in-depth walkthrough on how to install and use this add-on.

Difference Line Graph

Dundas Software is pleased to bring you the latest new Chart for .NET add-on: Difference Line Graph. So what is a Difference Line Graph? A Difference Line Graph is a chart that visually represents the area between two lines. This visual representation is shown by coloring in the area between the lines which results in an increase in the readability of your chart. As well, the lines in the Difference Line Graph Chart often intersect at one or more points, so the color used to fill the area between the lines is dependent on the choice of which line is "good", and which is "bad".

Included in this add-on is a free helper library called LineUtils. This library includes functions for analyzing lines and is used by the Difference Line Graph add-on to create the filled polygons. Feel free to use LineUtils for your own projects that involve lines or intersections of lines.

The article includes a sample, source code, and a full explanation of how to use this add-on.

Tips n' Tricks Chart | Gauge | Diagram

General Tips

How to remove activation for ActiveX and Flash objects in Internet Explorer
Microsoft recently released a patch for Internet Explorer that requires all interactive objects to activate before they are usable. This includes .NET controls (SmartClient), Flash objects, and all other interactive ActiveX objects. While it is not possible to remove this activation when the object is embedded directly into the page, it is possible to remove the activation by placing the object in an external JavaScript file. Microsoft recently released an article detailing how to do this; Dundas Software has gone a step further and created a class that implements Microsoft's recommendation. The implemented class works for any ASP.NET control, not just Dundas controls. A full explanation on how to use this class along with the source code is available in the full article.
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New Formula Available: MACD-H
Dundas Software has added a free formula to its formulas collection: MACD-H. MACD-H, a variation of MACD, shows the difference between the MACD formula and its signal line. The signal line is usually the exponential average of the data over some period of time. While you do have to write one line of code in order to calculate MACD-H, Dundas Chart already includes an exponential moving average formula within the FormulaFinancial function that will calculate the exponential average for you. Financial formulas and many other useful data manipulation functions are contained within the DataManipulator class within Chart for .NET. Please refer to the article for specifics on how to use the MACD-H formula.
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Extract your data from Dundas Chart for .NET - OLAP Services
Dundas Chart for .NET - OLAP Services contains a very powerful engine for communicating with OLAP databases, and an equally powerful front-end (Chart) for displaying it. However, it is sometimes desirable to display the data in a different form, such as a grid. The easiest way to display data in a grid is to extract it from the Chart and put it into an Excel file. A sample application is included in the article demonstrating how to do this.
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How to view 10 hours of data in 10 seconds
Dundas Gauge for .NET includes a powerful feature that is often overlooked: playback. This feature is extremely easy to use, all that needs to be done is to set the HistoryDepth and HistoryDepthType properties of the GaugeContainer. Once these two properties are set, Gauge will automatically record all input values. To playback historical values, use the Playback function which is in the Values collection of GaugeContainer. The Playback function allows you to specify the speed of playback so that you can speed up or slow down the Gauge. This allows you to view large amounts of data quickly, or small amounts of data in more detail. For more information on playback, please search for "playback" within the documentation included with Dundas Gauge for .NET.

Dynamic Range with Ajax
The Dynamic Range sample included with Dundas Gauge for Windows Forms is now available for ASP.NET. This sample demonstrates how to change a range dynamically based on the minimum and maximum values of the data over a period of time using CalculatedValues. As well, the Gauge is updated in real-time using images from the server; there is no requirements on the browser for this sample to work. To make Gauge stream as an image, all that needs to be done is to set the RenderType property to RealTimeStreaming. The included sample contains source code demonstrating how this sample was created.
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".diagram", ".library" and ".libexport": Making sense of diagram file extensions
Files with the extension ".diagram" are used by Diagram Editor and are associated with it by default so that you can simply double click to open them. Files of this type can also be loaded into Dundas Diagram for .NET controls directly.

Files with an extension of ".library" contain physical storage information for LibraryDatabase objects. LibraryDatabase objects are DOM objects responsible for keeping all libraries, which contain diagram elements, together. This means that one or more sets of separate libraries can be contained in a ".library" file.

Files with the ".libexport" extension are transport files that can be used when importing or exporting templates using the Diagram Editor or Library Manager. Unlike ".library" files, ".libexport" files can only contain 1 library.

Dundas Q & A Chart | Gauge | Diagram

Chart for.NET

Q. Dundas Chart for ASP.NET is giving a security error when I try to bind to my SQL database in run-time. In design-time, it works fine. What's wrong?
A. This problem occurs because of security restrictions in ASP.NET. By default, the ASP.NET account does not have access to the data stored in the SQL database. Normally, the easiest way to fix this problem is to add the lines <authentication mode="Windows"/> and <identity impersonate="true"/> to your Web.Config file.
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Chart for Reporting Services

Q. How can I change the output DPI of my Dundas Chart for Reporting Services?
A. The latest Dundas Chart for Reporting Services now includes the property ImageResolution that allows you to set the output DPI of Chart.

While changing this property will change the output DPI used by Chart, it is not very flexible as the user cannot change the DPI without modifying the report file. To make this report more flexible, it is better to use a report parameter. An explanation on how to do this is available in the full article.
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Q. How can I pass multi-value parameters to another report with the jump to report feature?
A. Dundas Chart for Reporting Services includes support for multi-valued parameters. Multi-valued parameters are used in the same way normal parameters are used, but the implementation is slightly different. The example in the article explains how they are used with the jump to report feature.

The biggest difference between multi-value parameters and single-value parameters is the separator string used to separate each value. As well, because it has multiple values instead of one, the report that is jumped to receives an array instead of a single value. The received array is referenced with a line like: =Parameters!fieldname.Value(0).
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Q. All of my Charts that use interactivity are displayed with a blue border around them.
A. This is a known bug in Microsoft Reporting Services and has been fixed as part of SQL Server SP1. Please download and install SP1 to resolve this issue.

Gauge for .NET

Q. What is the best real-time streaming method to use: Flash, image, or SmartClient?
A. We recommend Flash as the optimal choice for real-time streaming. Each type of streaming has an advantage and disadvantage: SmartClient allows for interaction but requires Internet Explorer, Flash is efficient but requires a plug-in, and image-based streaming works on any browser but is not as efficient. Since almost all browsers have the Macromedia Flash plug-in, it is not a big concern for most projects, and therefore is recommended. Flash is efficient because only those parts of Gauge that change are streamed to the client, unlike image based which streams an entire new image to the client on every update.

Diagram for .NET

Q. Is it possible to bind Diagram to a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet?
A. Yes, it is possible and quite easy. You can accomplish this by using OLEDB to create a connection to an Excel file and then creating Nodes and Edges based on the data within the spreadsheet. To download an example with source code of how this is done, please refer to the article.
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