In the past I blogged about SQL Server Project "Crescent" Denali. This project will come general available in SQL 2012 named Power View. Last week I installed SQL 2012 RC0 to experience the Power View capabilities. First of all I will give some characteristics of Power View which will give you an idea what you can expect from Power View.
- Power View is a browser-based Silverlight application launched from SharePoint Server 2010 that enables users to present and share insights with others in their organization through interactive presentations.
- Web-based report designer. So, this will be the fifth report designer after BIDS, Report Builder 1.0 (not sure if RB 1.0 will survive SQL 11), Report Builder 3.0, Visual Studio Report Designer.
- Reporting experience will become more interactive and similar to Excel PivotTable. The end user can quickly create an interactive report by dragging metadata, and then with a few mouse clicks change the report layout without switching to design mode. This is completely different in comparison to a Reporting Services report which is always static.
- See next blog post for a perfect demo of Power View.
- SQL 2012
- SharePoint 2012 SP1
Having done this, it is now time to talk about my experiences with Power View. I will start with a list of GREAT user experience examples:
- You can really 'play' with the data without changing and redeploying your report.
- Highlight of selected values, see next example
Left chart is the revenue and margin per year of the company. Right chart is the revenu per employee over the years. Select one employee in the right chart and you will get:
- Pop out. Every visualization has an pop out option. This will show the visualization full screen so you can better look to the details. Press on the Pop In button to go back to the report.
- Tiles. Another way of selecting data. Selected data in the tile applies only to the visualization the tile belongs.
- Play Axis on a bubble chart. Press on the Play button so the bubbles move, grow, and shrink as their values change over the months. Note that the months display as watermarks in the upper-right corner, and the bubbles move to the right as the months pass and the year-to-date quantity increases.
- Interact in Power Point. You can export the Power View report to Power Point 2010. Each Power View view has been added as a separate slide. In PowerPoint design mode, each view is static. After you open the Power Point presentation in presenter view, you will get a button in the right bottom on your presentation called: Click to interact
Now you will see what the amount of Revenue and Margin this employee has made in comparison with the total amount of revenue made by the company.
- Installation is complex. It is not 'out of the box' like a one click installation.
- Additional knowledge about Sharepoint 2010 SP1 is needed. A big part of the SQL community do not use Sharepoint 2010. The installation of SQL Server itself is already complex enough for them.
- Silverlight is needed. This means Power View will not run on the IPad. Power View is, for instance, made for the people in the board room. However a lot of them are using IPad's as of today.
- Visualizations can not be customized like you can in SSRS. For instance, Fonts, Colors, Borders etc. It is not possible to apply your style guide.
- Default colors are sometimes in conflict with dashboard design rules. One example: The use of the color Red. The first color in charts is blue, the second color is red. According to the dashboard design rules, red is used to get attention for something. In next example, it is not intended to give extra attention to the Amount of Margin. Using red it looks like something is going wrong with the Amount of Margin.
- Automatic alignment of chart horizontal or vertical is not supported.
- Report is based on a metadata layer. You do not have datasets. To use Power View on a database you first need to develop a metadata layer.
- Existing SQL 2008 R2 reports (RDL) can't be converted to the Power View format RDLX. You need to build them from scratch. Of course you can use your SQL 2008 R2 RDL's in the traditional reporting service SSRS of SQL 2012.
- Power View is not available in SQL Azure Reporting. When Power View is available in SQL Azure Reporting we can get rid of the Share Point knowledge need.