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Reporting Services Adventures

I starting working with Reporting Services 2008 in a project at work. I didn’t really knew much about the whole technology around SSRS, but after some weeks/month of researching I managed to get everything working.

The customers’ requirements were not that trivial. Starting from “simple” ones like multi-language and up to more difficult ones like reports getting data from multiple databases, I learned that there are a lot of options and different ways to implement reports.

The journey began, like every project, with the client’s whishes, listed in a document, known as the specifications document. The main requirements were:

  1. Reports should be viewable via a web browser.
  2. The same report, viewed by different users, should display different data.
  3. Users must be able to create their own reports.
  4. Multi-language: reports should be localizable.

Broken into smaller pieces, each requirement has been investigated and possible solutions were analyzed. After some Internet researching, some e-books and even a printed book (in German language), I have gathered some answers to some of the problems, but unfortunately even more questions than I expected. The difficult part was that I didn’t have enough experience with reporting tools (I played with Crystal Reports some years ago, but never did any web based reports). Diving into the SSRS technology, I begun to understand the concept behind a report server, why someone should use it after all and what the benefits are.

During the research, I gathered a list of useful links:

  1. How to set up Report Manager to start Report Builder 2.0 as a ClickOnce application:
  2. Information about Connection Strings in Report Builder (event expression based connection string)
  3. Howto start Report Builder using parameters:
  4. Howto customize the ReportViewer control using URL parameters
  5. Blog about SQL Server Reporting Services

Coming next: information about (almost) every problem I stumbled upon using SSRS.


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