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Charting Software for custom SharePoint web (chart) parts

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Last Modified: 2010-07-27
Hi all,

I'm just wondering what the best charting software would be for my particuliar situation (ie. Dundas, Chart FX, Crytsal Reports, MS RS, etc.). I basically just need a low-cost charting solution which will plug into the SharePoint framework and enable the development of nice looking charts which pull data from a SQL Server OLAP database and Excel sheets & pivot tables. I will be developing the SharePoint chart web parts in C#. I am interested in all comments/suggestions- I just need a way to create some visually appealing charts that will communicate important business info within SharePoint to those who need it.


Thanks a bunch in advance for all advice!


PS: (my points for this question will go to the most clearly explained and comprehesive answer I recieve (of the first 3).
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BI & Database Architect & Developer, Sitecore Developer
CERTIFIED EXPERT
Commented:
A cheap option, as you already have a SQL Server licence is SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). It's charts can be made to look quite nice.
SSRS also plugs into sharepoint well, you may not even need to code anything.
You can tart up SSRS charts in SQL 2005 if you buy the Dundas Chart add-on but it ain't that cheap. The charts that come with SSRS are in fact a 'lite' version of Dundas's charts.
SSRS 2005 can talk to SQL OLAP cubes very easily too.

I'm sure Crystal can do it too, but if you haven't got it already, it can be mighty expensive. I used to use Crystal heavily but I've been using RS for 3 years now and haven't touched Crystal for the last 2 years at all - and I don't miss it one bit!

Whilst I'm obviously an SSRS fan, YOU need to consider the bigger picture for your organisation - I like SSRS because as a SQL/VB programmer/DBA it allows me easy access to data and allows me to control reporting throughout the organisation and links into Sharepoint really well, which we use also. If you don't have the database skills or want end users to be able to create their own stuff then SSRS might be a bit too much.

Cheers
Chris McGuigan

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Commented:
Thanks Chris- that was an excellent answer to my question. 'Exactly the info I was looking for. I think SSRS would be the way to go for my circumstance (I am the DBA, the only app developer (have done extensive application development in ASP.NET with C# and VB.NET since 2003) for my company, a mid-sized corporation, and I have good deal (3+ years) of SQL query writing experience). I'm a novice with MDX queries though, and from the looks of what I've seen in SQL Mag, it doesn't look incredibly easy (or at least incredibly similiar to ANSI SQL or T-SQL). If you have any advice for good MSRS query writing/chart-developing resources (texts, sites, etc.) I would be all ears!

Thanks again,


Colin

Chris McGuiganBI & Database Architect & Developer, Sitecore Developer
CERTIFIED EXPERT

Commented:
With SSRS, you don't need to know MDX unless you really want to do extremely complex stuff. The OLAP is drag and drop (SSRS 2005 - RS2000 is not as good with OLAP).

I'm not well placed to recommend learning resources as I am largely self taught because at the time no books were available, I was on the 2005 beta program too so I learnt as the thing was developing. Getting started though I would highly recommend the step by step tutorials in MSDN - they helped me alot. Also the Microsoft forum for RS was good - I haven't been on it in a long while but it was a good source of info especially as MS staff regularly answered queries - but that died off considierably around the time 2005 was released.

Experts Exchange is a good source generally although RS is not particularly prominent (I've answered 6 questions in 2 days total and I'm already in the all time top 15 for DB Reporting!) .

Feel free to contact me if you want more advice.

Thanks for the points.

Cheers
Chris McGuigan
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