Business views are the data sources used for creating reports in Designer. They are also used for creating ad hoc reports and performing visual analysis on Server. This topic introduces the benefits of using business views and the elements that business views contain.
Business views provide report developers and end users with an easily understood business-oriented view of their data. They internally contain database connections and relationships between view elements that are required for creating reports but display data to end users in an easy to use flat structure. Business views shield report end users from having to understand your underlying data structure, while enabling them to create complex reports containing multiple components.
All reports created from a business view automatically include all of the interactivity built into that business view. For example, they can include things like drill down, drill up so that end users are able to switch data from one group to another; they enable end users to exchange the columns and rows of a crosstab, and to convert a chart to a crosstab and vice verse.
Business view elements
A business view is built from four types of elements:
- Group objects are typically DBFields and formulas that you want to group. They present the availability and key performance of data, and characteristically return text data or dates, and answer the following question: who, when, what, where and which.
- Aggregation objects are typically numeric DBFields and formulas that use aggregate functions, like Sum, or they can be an existing summary from the catalog.
- Detail objects can be any DBField or formula. Typically they are values that you would want to display in the Detail section of a table.
- Categories are simply folders for organizing the other three elements.
A business view can also contain hierarchies. A hierarchy is a set of grouped objects that share a hierarchical relationship in order from the highest level to the lowest, for example, Year > Month > Day > Hour > Minute. Hierarchies enable end users to drill report data up and down to specific group levels at runtime.
Designer includes an interactive Business View Editor to build business views. Part III of this guide contains a detailed example of creating a business view.