VCL Pivot Grid - version 2 is on its way

Thinking Out Loud
06 August 2008

To all of our loyal VCL customers...

We are getting ready to release the ExpressPivotGrid v2 and ExpressSpell Checker controls - Pivot Table and Spell Checking for the VCL (Delphi and C++ Builder). The release is imminent and we will certainly notify everyone via Email and our blogs/forums once both of these products are the meantime, if you have yet to see a list of new features for the ExpressPivotGrid v2 - here it is:

OLAP Data Source Support
You can now use the ExpressPivotGrid Suite to display OLAP cube data. To achieve this, simply bind your control to data via the newly introduced TcxPivotGridOLAPDataSource component. Once bound, end-user report customizations will force server-side data recalculation, which allows you to analyze large amounts of data without affecting your application's performance.

Visualizing Summary Data using Charts
ExpressPivotGrid v2 simplifies data analysis by allowing you to visualize summary data using charts available in the ExpressQuantumGrid's Chart View (sold separately). To display pivot grid data in a chart, you simply need to bind one control to another using a newly introduced component.
By default, the chart displays all data from the pivot grid's current view. This works best when you have static views and fully control your report layout within code. If you provide dynamic views (i.e. allow end-user report customization) it's best to allow end-users to control which data portion should be visualized in the chart. By enabling multiple cell selection, your users can specify the data source for the chart by selecting an appropriate cell block.

Obtaining Summary Data in a Standard Dataset
In addition to its new charting capabilities, you can now display the pivot grid's data in any data aware control.  The new TcxPivotGridSummaryDataSet component transforms a pivot report into a standard dataset. For each data cell in a pivot grid, the control generates a record in the resulting dataset. A record will contain the data cell value, as well as appropriate column and row values.

Obtaining Drill-Down Data
Previously, drill-down data sources could only be generated via code and could only be used with the ExpressQuantumGrid. In version 2, we've introduced an entirely new component that makes drill-down data management more flexible.
Let’s assume you place a pivot grid and a standard dbgrid side-by-side and that you wish to use the grid to display drill-down data for the pivot grid's currently selected cell. We now provide a codeless way to achieve this objective.  The drill-down dataset component can be automatically updated in response to cell focus change events. Thus, the drill-down grid (or any other control) will be automatically updated when used in this manner.

Data Filtering Enhancements
The ExpressPivotGrid now provides end-users with an advanced Filter Editor dialog, Filter Panel and a most recently used filter criteria list, much like that found in the ExpressQuantumGrid.

Filter dropdowns are now available in data field headers.
Additional enhancements include the following:
• The control’s StoreTo~ and RestoreFrom~ methods now store and restore field filters and the currently applied prefilter criteria.
• You can now respond to filter criteria changes via specially designed events.
• Filter dropdown lists now display grayed check boxes for field values that are currently filtered out.

New Summary Calculation Options
Previously, totals were always calculated based on the original (drill-down) data. This could confuse end-users with totals other than sum… For instance, if you want to display a minimum value under a group of rows, end-users will see the minimum value from the underlying dataset, not the minimum value among those visible on screen. To avoid this confusion, we now allow you to enable totals calculation based on values you see in the pivot grid, not the original raw data.
One more reason to implement this feature was to allow the display of totals for OLAP cubes, since OLAP mode doesn't allow you to access drill-down data.

Instead of actual summary values, you can now show percentage of the corresponding row or column total.

Cell Selection Enhancements
ExpressPivotGrid v2 allows end-users to select multiple cells blocks while pressing the CTRL key. In addition to simplifying data transfer via the clipboard, this new feature also affects the following data analysis options:

• Visualizing pivot grid data using the ExpressQuantumGrid's Chart View.
• Obtaining a plain dataset or drill-down data and displaying the result in a data-aware control.

All features listed above require you to use special components that can synchronize their data with the pivot grid's current selection.

You can also specify whether end-users can select data cells, subtotal cells and grand total cells.

Customizable Layout Persistence
Much like the ExpressQuantumGrid, the ExpressPivotGrid v2 allows you to specify how the control and individual field properties are persisted to external data stores. This is done via a set of specially designed events, which allow you to do the following:

Customize a list of properties to be saved.
Control property value save and restore processes.
Initialize pivot grid fields that are created during restoration.

Maximum and Minimum Value Indication
You can now easily highlight maximum and minimum values within a pivot grid control, or within individual columns and rows.

Minor Enhancements
• You can specify whether grand totals should be displayed.
• A new option allows you to display totals before (above or to the left of) corresponding data cells.
• Total headers offer customizable captions.
• The TcxNavigator component can be used to navigate data rows.
• You can change grid line color.
• New events allow you to respond to field header resizing operations.

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