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Walkthrough: Creating a Report from an External Data Source [AX 2012]

Updated: October 11, 2011

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

A data source is a facility for accessing data. You can use the predefined Dynamics AX data source, which connects to the Microsoft Dynamics AX application database. Or, you can define an external data source to retrieve data from a different location. In this walkthrough, you will create a report from data that is stored in a separate SQL database that you create. In your report model, you will define an external data source that specifies the connection information for the database so that you can retrieve data from that database to display in your report.

This walkthrough illustrates the following tasks:

  • Creating report data

  • Creating a reporting project

  • Defining an external data source

  • Creating a report

  • Modifying the appearance of a report

To complete this walkthrough, you will need:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

  • Microsoft Visual Studio tools for Microsoft Dynamics AX

You will start by creating a SQL database that will hold the data for your report. You will execute a set of SQL statements to create a database and a table that is populated with data.

To create the data

  1. Open SQL Server Management Studio.

  2. When prompted to connect to a server, be sure to specify Database Engine for the Server type field and log in as a user who has administrative privileges to create databases and tables for the SQL Server.

  3. In SQL Server Management Studio, click New Query to display the query editor window.

  4. Copy the following SQL statements into the query editor.

    CREATE DATABASE AXSampleData;
    GO
    USE AXSampleData
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Item](
        [ItemID] [int] NOT NULL,
        [Name] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [Description] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [Cost] [numeric](18, 2) NULL,
        [SellingPrice] [numeric](18, 2) NULL,
        [Status] [int] NULL)
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (1734, 'Clamp', 'Workbench Clamp', 12.48, 17.99, 0);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (1258, 'Hammer', '10 oz Hammer', 7.25, '11.99', 0);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (2783, 'Hammer', '12 oz Hammer', 9.50, 15.89, 2);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (1983, 'Saw', 'Wooden Handle Saw', 7.89, 11.99, 1);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (4920, 'Nails', '10 oz Flat Top Nails', 3.45, 4.99, 0);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (6728, 'Screwdriver', 'Standard Screwdriver', 2.75, 3.99, 1);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (9283, 'Nails', 'Roofing Nails 5 lbs', 12.45, 15.99, 0);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (4829, 'Tape Measure', '25 foot Tape Measure', 12.87, 16.99, 2);
    INSERT INTO Item VALUES (2893, 'Nails', 'Finish Nails', 3.90, 5.59, 1);
    
  5. Click Execute to execute the SQL statements.

  6. Verify that the database and table have been added to your server.

  7. Close SQL Server Management Studio.

Next, you will create a reporting project in Microsoft Visual Studio. In this walkthrough, you will use the Report Model template.

To create a reporting project

  1. Open Microsoft Visual Studio.

  2. On the File menu, click New, and then click Project. The New Project dialog box is displayed.

  3. In the Installed Templates pane, click the Microsoft Dynamics AX node, and in the Templates pane, click Report Model.

  4. In the Name box, type SampleExternalDataSourceReport, and in the Location box, type a location.

  5. Click OK.

A data source contains information about a connection to a database. This includes information such as the server name, the database name, and user credentials. Next, you will define a new data source in your model so that you can access the data in the AXSampleData database.

To define the data source for the report

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the SampleExternalDataSourceReport project, point to Add, and then click Report Datasource.

  2. In Model Editor, select the node for the data source.

  3. In the Properties window, specify the following values.

    Property

    Value

    Connection String

    Server=[YourServerName];Database=AXSampleData;Integrated Security=SSPI

    NoteNote

    Insert the name of your SQL server for [YourServerName]. It must be the name of the SQL server that contains the database that you created in the previous procedure. In this statement, Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI) is using Microsoft Windows user credentials for authentication. You may need to use a different authentication mode depending upon how you have set up your SQL Server instance.

    Name

    AXSampleData

    Provider

    SQL

Next, you will create a report to display item data. You will start by creating a query for the report dataset using a Transact-SQL statement. After you define the dataset, you will format the data. The status of an item is indicated by an integer value between 0 and 2. The value 0 means that the item is In Stock. The value 1 means that the item is On Order. The value 2 means that the item is Back Ordered. You will add an expression to the report to convert the integer value to a text representation so that it is easy to read. You will also format the cost and selling prices as currency values. The following procedure explains how to create the report.

To create the report

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the SampleExternalDataSourceReport project, point to Add, and then click Report.

  2. In Model Editor, right-click the Report1 node, and then click Rename.

  3. Type ItemListReport as the name.

  4. Right-click the Datasets node, and then click Add Dataset.

  5. Select the node for the dataset.

  6. In the Properties window, specify the following values.

    Property

    Value

    Data Source

    AXSampleData

    Data Source Type

    Query

    Default Layout

    Table

    Name

    Item

    Query

    Select ItemID, Name, Description, Cost, SellingPrice, Status from Item

  7. In Model Editor, expand the Fields node for the Item dataset. Select the Cost node, and in the Properties window, set the Format String property to Currency.

  8. Select the SellingPrice node, and in the Properties window, set the Format String property to Currency.

  9. Drag the Item dataset onto the Designs node for the report. This creates an auto design for the report based on the data in the dataset.

  10. Expand the AutoDesign1 node, expand the node for the table definition, and then expand the Data node.

  11. Select the Status node, and in the Properties window, click <Expression…> from the drop-down menu for the Expression property.

    The Edit Expression dialog box is displayed. In this dialog box, you will enter an expression so that text displays for the item status.

  12. In the Edit Expression dialog box, type the following expression =Switch(Fields!Status.Value = 0, "In Stock", Fields!Status.Value = 1, "On Order", Fields!Status.Value = 2, "Back Ordered"), and then click OK.

  13. In Model Editor, select the AutoDesign1 node.

  14. In the Properties window, set the Layout Template property to ReportLayoutStyleTemplate.

  15. For the Title property, type Inventory items .

  16. In Model Editor, expand the AutoDesign1 node, and then select the table definition node.

  17. In the Properties window, set the Style Template property to ListStyleTemplate.

  18. To preview the layout of the report, right-click the AutoDesign1 node, and then click Preview.

Next, you can add a menu item to display the report in the Microsoft Dynamics AX client or add additional interactive features to the report.

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