Blog: Posts from January, 2011

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Posts from January, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011PrintSubscribe
Chart View

Code On Time applications now offer a new type of data rendering – “Chart” view. Chart view is just another way of presenting a set of data records retrieved from the database. Chart view supports many end-user features including sorting and adaptive filtering.


Creating a Chart View

Generate a new web application from the Northwind database.  Browse the generated web site and select Reports | Sales by Category menu option. The following data view will be displayed. Columns CategoryID, Category Name, Product Name, and Product Sales are visible in the grid view.


The data controller is based on the database view dbo.[Sales by Category]. This view is a part of the Northwind database and is defined as follows.

create view [dbo].[Sales by Category] AS
SELECT Categories.CategoryID, Categories.CategoryName, Products.ProductName, 
    Sum("Order Details Extended".ExtendedPrice) AS ProductSales
FROM     Categories INNER JOIN 
        (Products INNER JOIN 
            (Orders INNER JOIN "Order Details Extended" ON 
               Orders.OrderID = "Order Details Extended".OrderID) 
        ON Products.ProductID = "Order Details Extended".ProductID) 
    ON Categories.CategoryID = Products.CategoryID
WHERE Orders.OrderDate BETWEEN '19970101' And '19971231'
GROUP BY Categories.CategoryID, Categories.CategoryName, Products.ProductName

Start the code generator, select the project name, and click Design button.

Select the data controller SalesbyCategory and click on Views tab.

Add a new view, set its Id to chart1, select Chart as view type, and select command1 as command.

Set label to Sales Chart.

Enter “Total sales by product category.”  in the header text.

Save the view and click on its name in the list of available data controller views, select Data Fields tab.

Add new data field with the field name set to CategoryName. Set its Chart property under Miscellaneous section to X. Save the field.

Add another data field with the field name set to ProductSales. Enter letter “c” without double quotes into Data Format String. Set the Aggregate Function property of the data field to Sum. Set its Chart property to Bar (Cylinder).

The list of data views in Designer will look as follows.


Exit the Designer and generate your application. Activate the same page and select Sales Chart option in the view selector in the right hand corner of the action bar. The following chart will be displayed.


Activate the filter in the view selector and select “Filter…”  item in the popup menu of the Category Name option.


Select several filter options to review subset of data presented in the chart.


Displaying Multiple Values

The chart view is capable of displaying multiple data series. Let’s add a calculated field to the same data controller to simulate the “Previous Product Sales”.

Select the data controller in Designer and activate Fields tab.

Add a new field with name PreviousProductSales, indicate that the field value is calculated by SQL formula and enter the following SQL formula

cast(ProductSales * Rand() as Numeric(10,2))

into SQL Formula text box.

Set the label of the field to “Previous Product Sales”.  Set its Data Format String to “c” without quotes.

Save the field and select Views tab. Select chart1 in the list of available views.

Bind the new field to the chart1 view and set its properties to make them look as shown in the screenshot. Notice that we are using a different Chart type Column(Cylinder) for ProductSales.


Run the generated application. The following chart view will be presented if you activate Sales Chart in the view selector. The actual spline that you will see may look different due to randomization factor of the formula that we have specified to simulate the previous sales.



You can activate a legend if you select the chart view in Designer and mark the check box “Enable legend in the chart area”. The data field header will be used as the text displayed in the chart legend.


Custom charts

Chart views are based on the standard Microsoft Data Visualization component included with ASP.NET 4.0. Unlimited customization options are available to developers. You can quickly customize a chart view if you select “Custom” as Chart property of the data field.

All charts are generated as ASP.NET user controls stored in ~/Controls folder of your web application. For example, the name of the chart in this sample is ~/Controls/Chart_SalesbyCategory_chart1.ascx. The name of a chart user control always starts with Chart and includes the name of the data controller and the chart view ID.

“Custom” charts are generated once only. If a “Custom” chart exists then the code generator will not make an attempt to generate the chart again. You can safely modified hundreds of the chart control properties.

What’s Next

The upcoming updates of the code generation library will include support for Filter Groups on the view level to allow transitioning of grid view data filters applied to a selected chart view and vice versa. Additional chart types will also be supported. We are also working on bring interactive features of the chart such as tool tips and hyperlinks into the code generation library.

Sunday, January 23, 2011PrintSubscribe
Mixed Authentication

Code On Time web application generator supports ASP.NET Membership and several other authentication mechanisms. ASP.NET Membership is an attractive option for Internet applications and can be also successfully used in intranet applications deployed within network boundaries of an organization for use by a specific group of business users.

Web application administrator can use the advanced user manager provided with each generated application to create user accounts and manage roles.

Large organizations frequently mandate the need for a single sign-on mechanism to eliminate the need to manage multiple passwords and users accounts.

  1. Typically a user name token is created and validated by the authentication software deployed to the local network. The user name token is embedded into each web request coming to a server. The authenticated user name can be found in a page request header variable.
  2. Another option is to use the active directory identity name that can be available if Windows Authentication is enabled in your web application.

You can take advantage of either option to implement a mixed authentication based on ASP.NET Membership option available in Code On Time database web application. Only the users registered in the ASP.NET Membership database of your application can access the application.  User roles will also be derived from the membership database.

Users can self-registered to use the application and  will be able to access the application page when the user account is approved by administrator. Administrator can also create all authorized user accounts and assign the same “secret” password to all user.

Single sign-on is enabled through changes to the login user control. Open file ~/App_Code/Controls/Login.ascx and modify the code-behind file as shown below.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.UI;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;
using System.Web.Security;
using System.Security.Principal;

public partial class Controls_Login : System.Web.UI.UserControl
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
         // Mixed authentication sample
        if (!Page.User.Identity.IsAuthenticated)
            string userName = null;
            // 1. read the identity from the page request header variable
            userName = Request.Headers["UserName"];
            // 2. read the identity from the identity of the current Windows user
            userName = WindowsIdentity.GetCurrent().Name;
            // simulate the user name and ignore methods (1) and (2)
            userName = "admin";
            if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(userName))
                MembershipUser user = Membership.GetUser(userName);
                if (user != null)
                    FormsAuthentication.RedirectFromLoginPage(user.UserName, false);

Methods of “silent” authentication are marked as (1) and (2). This particular example ignores the obtained information and simply assigns explicitly the user name “admin” to variable “userName”.  Application makes a lookup request to identify the user as a valid ASP.NET Membership user. If that is the case then the user is automatically signed into the web application.

The login control is generated the first time only. Your changes to the code-behind file will stay intact with subsequent code generations.

Adjust the sample to reflect your actual single sign-on method.

Thursday, January 20, 2011PrintSubscribe
Charting Preview

Code On Time announces support for new type of view called “Chart”. The feature is based on the excellent charting capabilities built into chart component available in Microsoft Data Visualization tools.

Chart views are similar to grid views. An additional configuration step requires selection of a chart type.  A developer will also have to indicate which data fields will be rendered as X and Y values. Web application generator automatically configures appropriate presentation for the selected chart type.  A dedicated chart control is created for each chart view defined in an application. This will allow precise customization of the chart presentation.

End User Capabilities

The new feature allows advanced data visualization with adaptive filtering and sorting. 


Adaptive filters are available from the first option on the action bar.


The next screen shot shows the view with multiple value filters applied to the data.


An alternative access to the chart filters is available though the view selector as presented in the next screen shot.


Chart views automatically fit into the real estate available in the data view container. Learn more about data view containers at /Documents/UGP2%20-%20User%20Controls.pdf.



The chart view support will be shipped in the release scheduled to go out this week. The initial release will support charting in ASP.NET 4.0 projects only with a limited set of chart types. We expect to support dozens of chart types that will require no programming.

Developers will be able to customize charts manually to take the full advantage of data visualization components.

The feature will be included in Premium and Unlimited subscriptions.

The new feature does not require any external components.