Direct Reports

Dynamics AX product-related topics for project-based businesses such as consulting, accounting, advertising, and construction.

Blog - About

About Direct Reports

I'm the Group Program Manager for the Microsoft Dynamics AX engineering team covering Service Industries (including markets such as professional services, construction, architecture and advertising). I've been at Microsoft for over 17 years and was previously a Senior Product Manager for Microsoft Amalga Hospital Information System (HIS), part of Microsoft's Health Solution Group. I also spent 8 years as the Group Program Manager for Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, where my team created and delivered the Microsoft business intelligence and reporting platform for IT Pros, end users and developers as part of SQL Server and Visual Studio. I joined Microsoft after a role as software architect for a4 Health Systems, a hospital software company in my home town of Raleigh, North Carolina.

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  • Direct Reports

    Atomizer (Expression-based Connection Strings)

    • 55 Comments
    One of the new features of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services is support for expression-based connection strings. Many customers have the same database schema in multiple database or servers. In SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, it was hard to have...
  • Direct Reports

    Alien Lanes (Logical and Physical Pagination Rules)

    • 54 Comments
    One of the things I see people getting confused about in Reporting Services is around page sizing. Not setting the correct properties can result in extra blank pages or improper paper orientation. Here are some general guidelines for setting page sizes...
  • Direct Reports

    At the National Grid (Features for RS.Next)

    • 54 Comments
    Now that SQL 2005 is done, we have been working on plans for the next release of Reporting Services. While we have lots of ideas for new features, we are always interested to hear about what customers want. If you would like to see something in the next...
  • Direct Reports

    Rather Ripped (Select All in Service Pack 1)

    • 36 Comments
    If you've applied Service Pack 1 to your SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services installation (I hope you did, as there are lots of good things in it), you might have noticed the disappearance of "Select All" from the drop down list for multi-valued parameters...
  • Direct Reports

    Wincing the Night Away (Tips for SSRS in SharePoint Mode)

    • 26 Comments
    Here is some useful information about using SSRS in SharePoint Integrated mode (included with SP2): Installing the SharePoint Add-In If you plan to upgrade from a previous version of the add-in, you should uninstall the previous add-in then install...
  • Direct Reports

    End of Amnesia (Avoiding Divide By Zero Errors)

    • 19 Comments
    People often ask how to avoid divide by zero problems in their Reporting Services reports. Let's say you have a textbox that calculates profit margin via the expression: =Fields!Price.Value / Fields!Cost.Value This works fine unless a value in...
  • Direct Reports

    Today! (Cleaning up Reporting Services SharePoint Add-In Setup Problems)

    • 14 Comments
    Some people have had problems during installation of the new Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint . If the add-in setup fails while to add the Reporting Services feature to the sites, some of your SharePoint sites will no longer work. You...
  • Direct Reports

    The Question Is No (TechEd Fashion)

    • 14 Comments
    It's been hard to blog from TechEd as the wireless network at the show and the network connection in my hotel room have both been extremely spotty. Lots of stuff going on today, including Paul's announcement that Reporting Services will be available in...
  • Direct Reports

    Perfect From Now On (Custom Chart Legends)

    • 13 Comments
    While the legend built into Reporting Services charts is relatively easy to use, it lacks some of the flexibility that you might like to have. One issue is that it takes up space within the chart boundaries, making the plot area smaller as the number...
  • Direct Reports

    Candy Apple Grey (Installing SSRS and Windows Vista)

    • 13 Comments
    It's a bit tricky to get Reporting Services (including the report server that comes with SQL Express with Advanced Services) to work on Windows Vista . The key is to turn on the right set of IIS components in the "Turn Windows features on or off" tool...
  • Direct Reports

    Intercompany Project Invoicing in AX 2012 R3 (Part 2)

    • 13 Comments
    In my last post , I showed you how to set up the new intercompany invoicing for projects feature in the upcoming AX 2012 R3 release. I'll finish by show you how the transactions are actually processed. In my example, I'm an employee in Contoso Consulting...
  • Direct Reports

    Unknown Country

    • 12 Comments
    There is an oversight in the documentation of the new client print functionality of Reporting Services Service Pack 2 . SP2 has a new behavior that extracts the page size and margin information at report publishing time so that it can be used by the print...
  • Direct Reports

    Fingerpops (RS and Flattened Rowsets)

    • 12 Comments
    We have gotten some negative feedback from customers about the RS/AS integration in SQL 2005. This is frequently communicated as a "flattened rowset versus cellset" issue. While RS does consume data from sources in a rowset format, flattened rowsets from...
  • Direct Reports

    It's All Around You (Parameter Prompts in Report Builder)

    • 11 Comments
    Quite a few people ask whether you can add prompted parameters to reports built using Report Builder. While it is not easy to find, you can definitely do it. In the filter dialog, after you add something to the filter from the field list, click on...
  • Direct Reports

    The Vision Thing

    • 11 Comments
    Early in my career at Microsoft, I was part of one of the biggest development disasters at Microsoft (no, not Windows Vista), called WinFS. WinFS was an attempt to bring the benefits of schema and relational databases to the Windows file system. I never...
  • Direct Reports

    Watusi (SSRS Management Tools Changes for Katmai)

    • 10 Comments
    For Katmai we are considering the removal of namespace management (folders, reports, data sources, models) from the Reporting Services Add-in for SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). In other words, we are considering removing the 'Home' folder under...
  • Direct Reports

    Laser Guided Missiles (Report Localization through Parameters)

    • 9 Comments
    As localization is not a built-in feature for Reporting Services, people have tried a a variety of techniques for localizing reports. One technique is to use the LocID propertie to create a version of the RDL in each language. Another approach is to have...
  • Direct Reports

    Distant Plastic Trees (Multi-Valued Parameters)

    • 9 Comments
    One of the cool new features of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services is multi-valued parameters. SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services only allowed you to have a single value for a parameter. For example, if your parameter was color, you could pick red or...
  • Direct Reports

    Dig Me Out (Resetting Report Page Numbers)

    • 9 Comments
    Chris hasn't gotten a chance to update his Sleazy Hacks Weblog so I thought I would post this in the meantime. Resetting the page number in a report isn’t natively supported in Reporting Services, but there is a partial workaround. First, add this...
  • Direct Reports

    Give Blood (Report Expressions in Report Builder)

    • 8 Comments
    It's not obvious, but SQL Server 2005 Report Builder allows you to use expressions in textboxes on the report surface. You don't get an expression editor, but if you begin a textbox value with '=', it will be evaluated at report processing time. For example...
  • Direct Reports

    Everybody (Why Leave IIS?)

    • 8 Comments
    If you have gotten a chance to try an early build of SQL Server Reporting 2008 Reporting Services, you know that one of the changes in the product is the removal of the Internet Information Services (IIS) dependency. I have gotten some questions about...
  • Direct Reports

    Double Nickels on the Dime (Leaving the Reporting Services Team)

    • 7 Comments
    The rumors are true. I will be leaving the Reporting Service team after 7 years and SQL Server after 10 years. Here is the message that I sent to my team: It first dawned on me about 3 months ago that I had been in the same position for close to...
  • Direct Reports

    Intercompany Project Invoicing in AX 2012 R3 (Part 1)

    • 7 Comments
    Since the initial release of Dynamics AX 2012 in late 2011, we have invested a lot to make projects easier to use in multi-company scenarios. In the 2012 feature pack, we enabled users to report time against projects in other legal entities. In the R2...
  • Direct Reports

    Twin Infinitives (IE7 and Reporting Services)

    • 7 Comments
    If you have been using the Internet Explorer version 7 beta release, you might have noticed some problem with viewing Reporting Services reports. The problem manifested in the report viewer, which would continually refresh and not get past the "report...
  • Direct Reports

    The Pace is Glacial (Hangman Report)

    • 7 Comments
    There is now another article about the BI Power Hour session that we did at TechEd. I posted the first demo I did a few weeks ago and so, by popular demand, here is the second one, a game of Hangman built entirely in a report. Before I describe how it...
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