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Editor's Note: Re-designed Support Site

Over the past month our support team here at Dundas Software has been working hard to get the new support site up and running. During this process we took suggestions from clients and added a lot of new articles to make the site more friendly and useful. The result is a great new site containing a growing collection of all the best Dundas products knowledgebase material.

Now that the new support site is running, we'd like your feedback as to what new articles you'd like to see. We believe that the best source of information about what customers want to see is the customers themselves: you know better than us what interests you. Please feel free to write us about any article ideas you may have when you have the time. I'd also like to mention that we plan to add a forum to the support site, and while I have received a lot of great suggestions as to what should be within it, we're always looking for more.

I hope you enjoy this month's newsletter. We've got some great add-ons and information available and of course new ones always in progress. As always, all of our add-ons are free to use and modify.

Terrence Sheflin

In this Issue: July 24, 2006

 

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Articles  

Activity Legend

This month Dundas Software has designed a new way of visualizing data: Activity Legend. The Activity Legend add-on was made to assist in marking important data and providing additional information about it without sacrificing the clarity of the chart. Furthermore, the important data marked by this add-on is clear and easy to visualize because of the way Activity Legend connects the additional information with the corresponding data points.

Visually this add-on makes your data clear and concise; programmatically it is easy to use. Activity Legend is also flexible with many aspects of the output configurable through the available class properties.

For more information, a working sample with source code, and a complete explanation of the class add-on please read the full article.

Power Point Chart

Due to the numerous e-mails requesting functionality for saving a Chart image into a PowerPoint slide, Dundas Software has implemented this functionality. If you have PowerPoint (2002 or later) installed on your PC, then you're ready to use our add-on helper class.

This creates a single slide PowerPoint file with the chart image within it.

This add-on also supports its own style of templates. These templates allow you to specify the dimensions, location, and slide that you wish your chart to appear in. The template is then used by the export functionality in the add-on to create the output PowerPoint file. This allows you to easily add a chart into your existing PowerPoint presentations.

As always, an example, source code, and further explanation of this add-on are available in the full write up.

Tips n' Tricks Chart | Gauge | Diagram

General Tips

Dundas Products and Compact (Mobile) .NET framework
All Dundas products can be used in conjunction with ASP.NET to produce results that can be viewed on any mobile device. This includes Windows CE devices, Smart Phones, PocketPCs, and any regular cell phone with a web browser. To give you an idea of the flexibility available with this option, we have created a website that demonstrates our products working on mobile devices. Please use any mobile web browser and navigate to our example website to see a demonstration (http://mobile.dundas.com/).

Our mobile page, when viewed on a Mobile Browser, is 100% WML compliant so there are no compatibility issues; it simply works with all mobile devices. This example in specific was created using Visual Studio 2005 Mobile Controls, IIS, and unmodified copies of our ASP.NET products in BinaryStreaming mode. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our technical support staff.

Transparency
Semi-Transparent colors can be used with all Dundas Products. Using transparencies is easy and simple: Whenever there is a Color property, the type of that property is System.Drawing.Color. This .NET class has a method called FromArgb(..) which can take 4 parameters, alpha level, red, green and blue color levels to create a color. The parameter of interest is alpha level which allows you to specify the transparency of the color. Setting this value to 127, for example, will make your color 50% transparent.

Cache your Binary Stream
Caching a Binary Streamed image has the advantage that the image will not be re-created every time a user requests the page. This way, each request is served from Web Server's cache and is updated after the specified time (Duration) has expired. This can save valuable processor and memory resources.

To enable caching, place the following code in the page which produces the Binary Streamed image:
                <%@ OutputCache Duration="100" VaryByParam="none" %>
read more »


AJAX Drill Down with Preview
Since the version 5.5 release of Dundas Chart included AJAX functionality, it would only make sense that we also give you a way to make interactive previews. In order to create an AJAX interactive drill down with preview which occurs when the mouse is over a data-point it is necessary to use JavaScript and the MapAreaAttributes property of data-points. The basic steps are:

  1. Add a new WebForm to your project
  2. Add the required JavaScript to your main ASPX page
  3. Set up the MapAreaAttributes property to contain a call to your JavaScript functions
  4. In your newly created WebForm, add a Chart and remove all extraneous HTML tags
  5. Set the RenderType property of the new Chart to BinaryStreaming

For more detailed steps including code snippets on how to do this, please see the full article.
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Chart for OLAP Services

Basics of Chart for OLAP Services
Since the release of Dundas Chart for OLAP Services developers have asked us for a simple run down on how to use it. The samples included with our product provide a lot of information on how to use Chart for OLAP, but this month we've gone a step further and created two full articles to help you start using our OLAP solution:

These articles will help you get started and to learn what our products are all about. If you wish to get more information on our OLAP Services solution, you can also check out our OLAP product webpage.


Clone a Gauge within Gauge Container
Sometimes it is desirable to clone a gauge within a gauge container. In Visual Studio 2005, this can be done quickly at design time by selecting the collection of Gauges (circular or linear), selecting the gauge you wish to clone and pressing the Clone button. In Visual Studio 2003, or to accomplish this at run-time, this is easily done using Gauge's built-in serialization functionality. The steps to clone a gauge are fairly easy, and include:

  1. Create a memory stream
  2. Save the original gauge container to the memory stream
  3. Create a temporary gauge container
  4. Load the original gauge container's settings into the temporary gauge container
  5. Create a new circular/linear gauge object in the temporary gauge container that is the same the original gauge container
  6. Assign a unique name to the newly created circular/linear gauge object
  7. Add this newly created circular/linear gauge to the original gauge container

While these steps may seem complicated, they are easy to implement. The code within the full article demonstrates how to implement these steps.
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Broadcasted Events (Spreading an event)
Broadcasting occurs when one diagram element "broadcasts" information via an event to another connected diagram element. The term "broadcasting" is also referred to as spreading. There are 4 steps in using broadcasting:

  1. Raise the event that should be broadcasted (e.g. OnClick event)
  2. When an element receives the event that was broadcasted from step 1, raise it as a broadcasted event
  3. Call the Element class' BroadcastEvent method which allows you to broadcast an event through all the element's connected points
  4. Create a delegate to handle the broadcasted event

Code illustrating how to do this is available in the full article.
read more »

Dundas Q & A Chart | Gauge | Diagram

Chart for .NET

Q. How can I add more color to my chart?
A. The easiest way is to change the color of each data-point within a series. We have created an example which randomizes the color of each data-point (using the DataPoint.Color property) to demonstrate how this can be done. Please see the full article for a code snippet and illustration.
read more »

Q. Why does my Page_Load Event get called more than once when I am using Dundas Chart for ASP.NET?
A. This problem occurs because a post-back has taken place on your page and has caused it to reload. The ASP.NET controls are run from the server whenever an action occurs, including actions on the client using AJAX technologies, so the webpage does an http post using itself as a target to determine which control has been activated. The result of this is that the Page_Load event will be called. To avoid this problem, please use the IsPostBack variable within your Page_Load event to determine whether a Callback is occurring or not.
read more »


Chart for Reporting Services

Q. When I set Visibility.Hidden to true, I get an exception. What's wrong and how can I fix it?
A. This is a known issue in Microsoft Reporting Services 2005 and has been fixed as part of SQL Server SP1. Please download and install SP1 to resolve this issue. To download SP1, please follow this link or search for Reporting Services 2005 SP1 on Microsoft's webpage.

Q. Do I need to have Reporting Services and SQL 2005 on the machine I'm using for development?
A. On each development machine, Reporting Services must be installed. However, a full SQL 2005 database is not required as Reporting Services can be configured to use a database that is on a different computer. As well, .NET 2.0 is required, but this is installed by default by Reporting Services 2005. We also recommend downloading SP1 for Reporting Services as it fixes a number of issues.


Gauge for .NET

Q. I'm using high anti-aliasing yet my font does not look very smooth. Is there another way to get smooth text?
A. When using high anti-aliasing, Gauge tries to draw fonts according to their original specifications. Usually this results in better looking text, but sometimes it does not. In the cases where it does not, setting the property TextAntiAliasingQuality located within the GaugeContainer to Normal will result in better and smoother looking text.

Q. Can Dundas Gauge provide information on the gauge element clicked on by the user?
A. Yes, Dundas Gauge provides a HitTest() method which can be used to find the gauge object clicked by the user. The information on the object clicked is provided through a HitTestResult class which is returned by the HitTest method.

The HitTest method requires the X and Y coordinates of where the user clicked. In ASP.NET, this information is provided in the event handler for the Click event, while in Windows Forms you must handle the MouseDown or MouseUp events in order to get the clicked coordinates.
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Diagram for .NET

Q. How can I convert an element to a Shape element?
A. You can easily convert an element to a Shape element using ElementFunctionality's ConvertToShape method. This method accepts two parameters: Element object and a flag that indicates whether to replace the element from the page with the generated element or not. Both cases are discussed in the full article and include code snippets to illustrate how to code each solution.
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