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Editor's Note: Poll Results

In the last newsletter we asked readers: What is the preferred platform to develop on? While you've probably already looked at the prominent chart below, and are therefore not even reading this, I still feel the need to introduce it. Below are the results from last month's newsletter poll:

As you can see, Visual Studio 2005 is the preferred platform for development with ASP.NET being the preferred technology. The main reasons cited for using Visual Studio 2005 were: it's easier to use than its predecessors, it's the "latest and greatest", and it has a lot of new useful features not found in any other product. I should mention that the "Other" category included Visual Web Developer Express 2005, which also uses the ASP.NET 2.0 platform.

Terrence Sheflin

In this Issue: September 26, '06

 

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Articles  

Dundas Chart for .NET: PDF Export Add-On

Over the past few newsletters Dundas Software has introduced Excel Export and Power Point Export Add-Ons for Dundas Chart for .NET. This month we feature PDF Export as our latest addition of export utilities. You have probably already guessed that the PDF Export Add-On exports Chart images to PDF format, and that it works in a similar way as our Excel and Power Point export utilities. PDF Export is a bit different, however, in that it uses Visual Studio 2005's ReportViewer control in order to produce the PDF file. Because of this, this add-on is only available for the .NET 2.0 platform.

This Add-On makes use of local report files (.rdlc) for template functionality. The template allows you to move around an Image control within the local report which will be replaced by the Chart image when the Add-On is run. This template functionality is very similar to that in the Excel and Power Point export Add-Ons; the only major difference in template implementation is that for this Add-On you use a local report file.

To use this Add-On simply add PDFAdapter.dll to your project's references. This file contains all of the code necessary to do the actual conversion. The full source code is available on the article page along with the DLL file. Once this is done, a line of code needs to be added to your code to tell Chart to generate a temporary image. For this, Chart's Save(..) function is used which takes a path parameter and a format parameter specifying the type and location of the image file created. At this point, a call to the function PDFAdapter.WebPDFConverter.ConvertToPDF(..) will convert the generated temporary image to PDF format. The ConvertToPDF(..) function takes 3 parameters, the path of the temporary chart image, the path of the .rdlc template file and the path for the generated PDF file.


Tips n' Tricks Chart | Gauge | Map

General Tips

Dundas Map for .NET Released
After a very successful Beta program, Dundas Map for .NET has been officially released. The new release build of Dundas Map includes more stability, greatly increased speed for ASP.NET panning, and additional AJAX functionality within Map's AJAX framework. As well, the sample set included with Dundas Map for .NET has been greatly increased providing you with ample source code for tasks involving the control. Dundas has also added a Map Online Demo section to our website so that you can preview the control before downloading it. The Dundas Software Support Site has also received a Dundas Map section which we will be updating regularly with hints, tricks and information regarding the Dundas Map control.
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Dundas Map for Reporting Services Released
Dundas Map for Reporting Services also makes its debut this month. Closely related to Dundas Map for .NET, Dundas Map for Reporting Services extends the powerful control to the Reporting Services platform giving you the same flexibility and power of the .NET control in the Reporting Services environment. Dundas Map for Reporting Services includes a large and detailed sample set, easy data-binding functionality, and an in-depth wizard to make customization of the control simple and fast. Like our other Reporting Services controls, Dundas Map for Reporting Services includes the ability to add C# or VB.NET code to the control. Dundas Map for Reporting Services has been designed with simplicity of development in mind to minimize the time needed to learn the control, making it a tool that is both easy to use and powerful.
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Dundas Chart for Reporting Services v2.0 Released
This month has also seen a new release of Dundas Chart for Reporting Services, namely version 2.0. As well as including numerous bug fixes and the new Chart v5.5 build, Dundas Chart for Reporting Services v2.0 also contains:

  • A new set of UI dialogs to allow the developer to data-bind and create a chart faster and more intuitively than ever before. This will reduce the learning curve when using the chart.
  • A UI for the new legend features that Chart v5.5 supports. Most of these new properties are located under advanced tab.
  • New features including 2D and 3D drawing effects, grouping of stacked bar and column series, FastPoint chart and custom color palettes.
  • Many more features, including optimization in a number of Chart types.
For a full list of the features included with this release, please refer to the article.
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Dundas Calendar  for Reporting Services v1.5 Released
Dundas Calendar for Reporting Services has received a number of updates and changes as of version 1.5 to make the development experience easier than ever before. One notable change is the addition of the Sizing property to the General tab within the wizard which allows you to specify how the control is sized when it is rendered. This is especially useful when the user changes the ImageResolution property, as in this case setting the Sizing property to FitProportional will result in a better looking image. A full list of the features included with this new release is included in the release notes article.
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Scatter Plot Quadrant
A Scatter Plot Quadrant Chart is a Scatter Chart which has each quadrant colored differently. This differentiation in color allows the user to easily define regions within a Chart. To implement this feature, you must overload one of the paint events within Chart and make the appropriate calculations for drawing the quadrants. Fortunately, these calculations are already done and included in the full article so you will only need to copy and paste this code into your project and set the colors. This functionality will work in ASP.NET, Windows Forms and Reporting Services.
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CSS and Dundas Chart for ASP.NET
Dundas Chart for ASP.NET contains the property CssClass. This property allows you to specify the CSS class that Chart should use. The CSS class can control any regular HTML elements of the produced tag. This can be an invaluable tool if you have more than one Chart that need the same HTML properties assigned to them. Furthermore, it has the normal advantages of CSS in that changes to the look can be quickly done to only one place within the website, namely the CSS file. For more information, please read the full article.
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Save your Gauge as an Image
To save your Gauge as an image, the function SaveAsImage(..) is used. This function has six overloads, but in most cases takes the path of the filename and the desired image format and creates an image of Gauge with the specifications. The available file formats for this function are:

  • Jpeg
  • Png
  • Bmp
  • Tiff
  • Gif
  • Svg
  • Emf
  • Flash
This function can be very useful when you wish to use the output of Gauge within some sort of media, such as a PDF or Word document.


Use Interactive Panning to Enhance the User Experience
Interactive panning can greatly increase a users productivity with Dundas Map for .NET. It allows the user to use the mouse to drag the map to specific areas and better inspect them. This functionality is available in both Windows Forms and ASP.NET through AJAX functionality. Additionally, this functionality is extremely simple to use requiring only one line of code: MapControl1.Viewport.EnablePanning=true. Panning can also be enabled by setting the same property (EnablePanning) to true in the Wizard under the Properties window.

Modify or Delete Multiple Items in a Collection at Once
In Dundas Map, settings are often made on multiple shapes, paths, symbols, groups, or other collection items at once. To do this at design-time, go to the Map control's Properties window and open the collection that you want to make changes in. Select multiple collection items by holding down the [Shift] or [Ctrl] key while selecting members, and then make changes to the properties.

In Visual Studio 2005, you can also remove multiple items this way by selecting multiple items and clicking the Remove button. In Visual Studio 2002/2003 this functionality is not available but can be replicated by holding down [Alt]-R to select the Remove button repeatedly.


Dundas Q & A Chart | Gauge | Map

Chart for .NET

Q. How can I ungroup series in a stacked column?
A. To ungroup stacked column series the CustomAttribute StackedGroupName must be used. If two series have different values for this property then they will not stack together, but instead, stack side-by-side. If two or more series do share the same value for this property then they will be stacked together.
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Q. I am trying to use the Series' Data Visualizer, but it is not showing up or throwing an error. How can I fix this?
A. Dundas Chart for .NET (version 5.5.0.1697) contains an out-of-date Dundas.Charting.Visualizers.dll file that was shipped in the Visualizers sub-directory. To resolve this issue, download the file from the article and replace the .dll file contained in that directory with the updated file.
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Chart for Reporting Services

Q. Do Dundas Controls for Reporting Services require a Microsoft SQL 2005 database?
A. No. While the controls do require Microsoft Reporting Services 2005 in order to run, the actual database that the control uses can be of any variety and does not need to be on the same machine that Reporting Services resides on.


Gauge for .NET

Q. Can Dundas Gauge be used in MFC applications?
A. Yes, Dundas Gauge can be used in MFC applications developed using Visual Studio .Net 2003 (MFC 7.1). The new development environment provides the ability for MFC applications to use .Net controls without any special wrappers or ActiveX controls. An article on the CodeProject describes what you need to do to enable your MFC application to add and use .Net controls and namespaces.

Attached to the full article is a simple sample that demonstrates how you can create an instance of Dundas Gauge in an MFC application, display it in CView, and handle .Net events.
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Gauge for Reporting Services

Q. How can I add Dundas Gauge for Reporting Services to the Visual Studio toolbox?
A. In some unique cases Dundas Gauge will not be displayed as an option in the VS.NET Toolbox after installation. To rectify this, you can add the control to the toolbox manually by doing the following:

  1. Right click in the toolbox and select "Choose Items..." from the popup menu.
  2. In the "Choose Toolbox Items" dialog select the ".Net Framework Components" tab.
  3. Click the "Browse" button and locate "DundasRSGaugeDesigner.dll" on HDD. This file can be found in the PrivateAssemblies folder of Visual Studio 2005 (e.g. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies\).
  4. In the "Choose Toolbox Items" dialog please make sure that the control has a check mark right next to its name before clicking OK.

After accepting the changes, "Dundas Gauge for Reporting Services" should appear in your toolbox control list. You can now drag a gauge onto your report and use it normally.


Map for .NET

Q. How can I plot an address, postal code, city name, etc.?
A. Dundas Map works with and displays information using geographical coordinates. If you have data to plot geographically with location data besides coordinates, such as street addresses, zip codes, or city names, you will need to convert these to geographical coordinates first. This is because while Dundas Map visualizes your data, it does not contain a database of the world's ever-changing cities and addresses. For more information on resources you can use to find city and address information, please refer to the full article.
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