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ENTERPRISE REPORTING
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reason, one of the main goals for our framework is to act as a gatekeeper that validates report requests before handing them to the provider for processing. Implement a centralized report configuration store While some providers, such as RS, offer centralized report management, others don t. For this reason, it makes sense to centralize the report metadata in one place. Here, we use the term metadata to refer to the information describing the reports. An example of report metadata is the definition of parameters that the report takes, as well as the provider which will be responsible for generating the report. In this respect, our configuration store is similar to the RS catalog: it isolates the client from the reportspecific details. At best, the only information that the client will need in order to request a report is the report s identifier, the available export formats, and the parameter list. Supporting multiple report providers Perhaps the most important feature of the above design goals is supporting multiple report providers. In a typical enterprise environment, you will often witness a hodgepodge of technologies. While by now you are probably convinced that RS has many appealing features, upgrading the existing report providers to RS won t happen overnight, or it may not be an option at all. Therefore, our solution needs to deal with today s enterprise realities where RS may have to coexist with other reporting tools. To support multiple providers, we will introduce the concept of adapters. Most of you have probably built database-driven applications that interface with data stores via ODBC or OLE DB drivers. Similarly, our enterprise fa ade will interface with the report providers using adapters. Thanks to the adapter design pattern, plugging a new provider into our framework will be a matter of creating and registering a new adapter. Now that we ve described our envisioned reporting framework, we ll discuss how to implement it. High-level architectural view Based on our design goals, figure 13.1 shows the high-level architectural view of our solution.
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Figure 13.1 At the heart of the AW Enterprise Reporter is the Enterprise Reporting Fa ade, which intercepts the report requests from the report consumers and forwards them to the appropriate report providers.
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UNDERSTANDING ENTERPRISE REPORTING
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At a high level, our reporting framework will be implemented as a server-based layer that could be accessed by different types of consumers, such as WinForm or web-based client applications. At the heart of it is the Reporting Fa ade, which accepts incoming report requests submitted by the consumer, sends the requests to the report providers, and returns the generated reports. As we explained, the Reporting Fa ade communicates with the report providers via adapters. For example, as figure 13.1 shows, to generate an RS-based report, the Reporting Fa ade will use a Reporting Services adapter; to generate a Microsoft Access based report, it will use a Microsoft Access adapter, and so forth. To understand how the Adventure Works Enterprise Reporter works, let s look at the report processing flow among the different layers and find out how they work together. Report processing flow Figure 13.2 shows the sequence diagram of the report processing flow in the Adventure Works Enterprise Reporter. Let s discuss the purpose of the main components shown in the diagram, starting with the report consumer s role.
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Figure 13.2 The report processing sequence diagram of the Adventure Works Enterprise Reporter solution
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The report consumer
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The report consumer initiates the report request. The report request is described in XML and contains the minimum set of consumer-related input details that the fa ade needs to generate the report, including the following: The report identifier A unique identifier that corresponds to the primary key of the report in the Report Configuration Store. As we said, the main goal of the Report Configuration Store is to centralize the report configuration details in a single report repository. The report parameters For parameterized reports, the report consumer needs to specify the parameter values. The export format The format that the report will be rendered to, such as HTML, PDF, and so on. Once the report consumer creates the report request, it submits the request to the Reporting Fa ade.
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