I've added a Business Intelligence, a.k.a. BI, section to the data mining articles area.  In case you're not familiar with the term, it's basically software that analyzes your data but takes the adage of 'a picture is worth a 1000 words' to heart by showcasing the data in charts.  So it's a little different than looking at data in a spreadsheet or a pivot table, the focus is more on viewing it visually.  The sqlCharts component of sqlReports actually does this as well, or one could add charts to custom pages.  The section has four articles to start -

  • overview - just some basic information on what BI means, including a link to a wiki page that lists common BI programs that are out there.  What usually sets them apart is the type of charts they create.
  • setting up the ODBC client for PS - since the BI programs aren't built into PS, they need to use a connection to talk to the database server if you want to analyze live data.  The article mentions how to install the Oracle ODBC Instant Client using information from a pdf from PowerSource, but I found it lacking for installing on my Windows 10 computer, so I added my own setup notes to the article for others using Windows 10.
  • getting started with MS Power BI Desktop - Microsoft has a full suite of BI products, with the free part of it called Power BI Desktop.  The article covers how to use it and load some data, either by using ODBC or just loading csv or txt files you create from PS. Power BI Desktop only runs on Windows.
  • creating charts with MS Power BI Desktop - if you're familiar with creating pivot tables in Excel by dragging and dropping column headings into a setup area, then you're already familiar with part of Power BI Desktop.  It uses the same approach and all you have to do is click on the graph you want.

At some point I may add more articles to the section, including some on a cross-platform program.  I've been looking into Jaspersoft and may do articles on it.  But if you use sqlReports, you might look into the sqlCharts functionality if you're wanting to creating your own charts, especially if you want to share them with other users, including teachers.  I'll also be adding some articles to the Customization Articles area on how to code charts onto pages.