I dare to make the assumption that you work for a company which needs to manage a handful of statistical figures, be it sales, logistics, salaries, prices or units.
Logically, you will store and display that data in a tabular source or control. But does this give your end users all the important information? Does it enable them to see the total price of sold products for a given period of time? Or the count of stores in a region and their profit difference by months? Or max and min revenue by city or each employee? And the final test – is it an easy task to change these relations dynamically at real-time?
All these questions lead to one thought – “I will need to do horrifying formulas and grouping to get this information! Is there a tool I can use to achieve all of that quickly and without all of this effort?” Yes, there is, the mighty Pivot Table.
The Pivot Table control, albeit complex at first glance, is one of the most powerful and flexible data management tools. It brings tremendous convenience when you organize, summarize and analyze data. The control makes it possible to see trends and patterns instantly, offers data comparisons, calculates all the numbers automatically and as a result – helps you make sense of your data by revealing its meaning.
Have you imagined being a Hero or Wizard as a kid? Using the Force to move and control objects around? I’m afraid I have to revoke you from that dream into the harsh reality of being a software developer, however, after getting used to the Pivot Table, you will have the power to control and move thousands and thousands of rows of raw data in the fist of your hand (some call it the mouse).
The most important and useful aspect within the features of the Pivot Table, unquestionably, is the dynamic and flexible re-arrangement of its layout structure. You choose the wrong field by mistake, want to change the relation of products or add another aggregate calculation – no problem, just drag and drop the fields as you wish. And combine that with the calculation power of the control’s engine, which is necessary to handle all this massive information, I guess you start to comprehend how irreplaceable the Pivot Table is for managing data.
Now, knowing what a Pivot Table is capable of, it is time to introduce you to RadPivotGrid, part of the award-winning ASP.NET AJAX control toolset provided by Telerik. This advanced Pivot Table control will allow you to implement intuitive and flexible statistical reports in your web application without any particular effort.
RadPivotGrid can be used in various scenarios, where the end-users will be able to generate a report dynamically, sort, filter, analyze or export it to Microsoft Excel for further inquiry. This can be best demonstrated with a ludicrously basic sample, easy like taking a candy from a debugging programmer.
I’m sure that ideas start to come up in your mind for some real-time implementations using the Pivot Table. I’ll select a simple yet meaningful scenario just to show how easy and effortless it is to include an efficient financial report on your web page. After completing the sample it will be child's play to tell the sum of order freights for each city.
In this sample I will use the Orders table from the widespread Northwind source:
Here is how it looks using a standard Grid control with enabled filtering:
Before starting to configure the Pivot Table, let’s see the main regions of its layout:
Data Area: here go the numeric
fields upon which the Pivot Grid
makes automatic calculations. In
this region we will get some
aggregated results out of our
Row Fields Area: this region
holds the fields that will group
and divide the data in a
meaningful way – e.g.
Country, City, etc.
Column Fields Area: to complete the picture, this area brings the required relation fields which will subdivide our defined data rows in column groups – e.g. Years, Months, Country, City, etc.
Finally, it’s time to create the Pivot Table. I will use a straightforward mark-up to answer the question “What are the total Year Freights for Orders shipped in different countries?” To do that, I set the ShipCountry field as a row field and the Year part of OrderDate as a column field. And to put the finishing touch, I add the Freight numeric field as an aggregate field:
Voilà! See how it looks like:
You can easily change the structure of the Pivot Table just by dragging one of the fields and dropping it onto another region. The example above was just the tip of the iceberg - the combinations and scenarios can be endless. Let’s play some more with our new toy.
I will enable the ConfigurationPanel provided by RadPivotGrid, as well as add some conditional formatting in the code-behind:
I hope it is now clear how mandatory this control is for managing and organizing data in your ASP.NET AJAX project. You can build complex summaries, sophisticated multi-dimensional table calculations, even bind it to an OLAP cube. Beside these features, constantly improving Telerik’s ASP.NET AJAX PivotGrid provides integrated paging, sorting, filtering, templates, fields drag and drop, skins, range grouping, tooltips configuration, total formatting, exporting, various layout modes and localization.
Feel free to go through PivotGrid’s demos to see whether you will meet the exact functionality your company needs. Don’t you think your client or boss would be impressed if you present them with a real-time report using a Pivot Table along with other graphic or diagram controls to back it up? Here is a sample to help your imagination.
And of course, let’s not forget how valuable your feedback is. Was the blog post helpful to you?
Eyup Yusein is a Technical Support Officer working on the Progress Telerik web developer tools. His main field of strength is handling various implementations with RadGrid. He likes to discover simple and unconventional explanations for complicated matters and to learn about the newest technological achievements. He also dearly enjoys spending time with his family.
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