Thursday, January 20, 2011

DAXCONF - Developing Advanced Reports - Deep Dive

This session promoted the use of SSRS as a reporting engine in Ax2012.
Let me rephrase that: '… as the reporting engine in Ax2012'.
The Ax reports as we know them from previous versions are still there in Ax2012, but no new development is to be done on them. The 'old' Ax reports are supported in the sense that they still exist and can be used, but there not supported in the sense that all Ax reports are converted to SRSS (read: SSRS is the way to go).

And since the security framework and the datamodel has had some serious redesigning in Ax2012, your reports will probably be broken anyway. Upgrading them would not be a good investment. The better decission would be to create new SSRS reports right away.

Not everyone was wildly enthousiastic about the SSRS integration in previous versions.
Do know that the SSRS integration in Ax2012 is seriously improved  and offers in combination with the latest 2008 version of SSRS a fair performance gain.
SSRS is totaly aware of Ax2012 metadata and new concepts such as the org model and security model. It has batch integration and archive support. Besides that, SSRS just offers cool graphical stuff and layot possibilities that just were not possible in Ax reporting. Let's face it: Ax reports were not eye-catchers.

The SSRS-Ax reporting framework allows creating basic reports (that need no coding at all).
OK, but what about more complex reports such as the projInvoice or salesInvoice?
All converted to SSRS! The new reporting framework gives developers different types of classes to customize reports as required: data provider classes, data contract classes and controller classes. These give the developer the same possibilities as with the Ax reports.

What does SSRS offer more over Ax reports?
- Awareness of Ax2012 metadata and concepts
- Correct PDF output
- Support for images in batch
Basically we the tiny shortages we had in Ax reports are a goner.

Is there anything in the Ax reporting framework offer that is not in SSRS?
Well, Ax reports allow the user to define sorting, subtotals, grouptotals, print ranges, …
SSRS does not offer this. And SSRS may be bit moody when it comes to footers in some circumstances.
But that's about it.

Not too bad this SSRS if you ask me!

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