SQL Server Reporting Services: Getting Started
Data Connection Configuration
Connection information to data sources can be configured in two ways:
- Report-Specific: Connection information is stored at the report level as part of the report definition and cannot be used by any other report.
- Shared: Connection information is created and maintained at a central location on the report server and can be used by multiple reports.
Accessing and Delivering Reports
Two primary modes are supported: On-demand access and Subscription-based access.
- On-demand access: A report can be selected from already deployed reports for viewing. Data for the report will be generated at runtime.
- Subscription-based access: Reports are generated automatically as per schedule and delivered to all subscribers via file share, email, and so forth.
SSRS supports publishing reports in various kinds of formats which include Web-oriented, page-oriented and desktop application formats. Some of the file formats supported are: HTML, PDF, XML, CSV, TIFF, Excel, etc.
Figure 2: SSRS Architecture
The core parts of SSRS architecture are the following:
- Web Component: This is installed as a web application on IIS and is responsible for providing Web-based management and report viewing functionality. This tool is called 'Report Manager'. This component also is responsible for deploying Web Service endpoints so that the custom application can connect to SSRS.
- Report Processor: The major functionality of SSRS is implemented by this component. It has three most important sub-components that are responsible for Security/Access of Reports, Rendering and Data Processing. The data processing component is responsible both for persisting SSRS configuration data into the database and retrieving report data from data stores.
The Scheduling and Delivery Processor takes care of sending reports to subscribers as per the schedule. It integrates with Mail Server or Filer Server to publish reports in a configured mode.SSRS provides a fair number of extensibility options. Extensions can be developed and deployed for all core functionalities, such as Security, Rendering, Delivery, and Data processing.
- Data Sources: Two mainly types of data sources are required for SSRS. One stores the configuration data of SSRS; it can be a SQL Server database or even a Windows internal database. The other retrieves the data that needs to be populated in reports.
Using Report Builder to Create a Report
Creating a report basically involves two main steps:
- Designing the report in terms of layout and the data fields that need to be displayed on the report.
- Deploying and Publishing the report. This involves setting up the data source for the report data in case of shared data sources.
SSRS services are installed with a basic Report Designer tool that can be used to create basic reports with a few clicks. Here is the walkthrough of how a basic report can be created using the Report Builder tool.
- Start the Report Manager using the URL that was set up during the Virtual Directory configuration of 'Report Manager'. The default URL is http://<MachineName>/Reports.
Figure 3: Report Manager
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