Dave’s role in the company is to manage the Support Desk and resolve customer issues along with Martin and Tommy. Dave is also our hardware specialist, looking after and maintaining our internal infrastructure, including our servers and network.
Visualising Data: Charts in Dynamics NAV 2013
With the introduction of the Role Tailored Client into NAV 2009, functionality was added to allow graphical charts to be displayed on pages. However from what we have seen uptake of this functionality has been low, largely due to the lack of a good interface to add, modify and view these charts. With the imminent release of NAV 2013 all this should change!
NAV 2013 allows you to display two types of chart; what are referred to as Generic Charts and more advanced charts known as Extended Charts. Generic Charts are the same as what has always been available in the 2009 RTC, but with a new set of accompanying objects to make the job of creating and modifying your charts much easier. Extended Charts use the Business Chart Add-in which requires some NAV development experience to create charts with, but allows you much more control over the charts run time.
The recently released RTM version of the Cronus database has a good example of the difference between the chart types. The first thing you see when running the RTC is nice extended chart on the Sales Order Processor Role Centre.
This gives a breakdown of open and released sales orders grouped by months, however it leverages the functionality of the Extended Charts by allowing the user to set their own period length (Day, Week, Month, Quarter, Year) and choose whether to show the number of orders or value of the orders. This is where the Extended Charts excel, the user has a regular need for a chart, but needs the ability to be able to adjust it to show the data as needed each time they use it. The regular business need means it is worth the small development cost up front to create the chart.
On the other hand Generic Charts give two levels of ease of creation to allow you to create either completely ad-hoc reports based on any list page, or with slightly more design work by the user based on any page or query (an exciting new object type in NAV 2013 which allows you to combine tables together as you would in SQL or Access).
For example from the standard Customer list I can click Show as Chart, select an X dimension (No.) and a Y dimension (Balance) and I’ve instantly created a chart which would have taken knowledge of defining the charts in XML to achieve in NAV 2009. This can be done by any user of NAV as a way of quickly visualising any data they have access to.
As mentioned charts can now easily be created without being based on an existing list. The Generic Charts list (CRONUS UK Ltd./Departments/Administration/Application Setup/RoleTailored Client/Generic Charts) contains 45 charts which contain some good examples of this functionality.
For example the Top-10 Prod. Orders chart below would take very little time to create:
- Click New to create a new record and enter an ID and Name
- Enter a source type and ID
- Select the fields to use for each axis
Once the chart is defined you can add a chart part to a role centre, customise the part to select the chart to display in it and you chart is finished.
Both types of charts have a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing how a customers use them in the future.
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