SSRS: An Overview

What is SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is Microsoft’s platform for designing, developing and delivering dynamic reports.

Report Types

SSRS provides a variety of reports such: Tabular, Matrix reports (crosstab or pivot table) – for summarizing data and reviewing it in multiple dimensions, charts and graphs – for visually illustrating trends in data.
Report may contain parameters, allowing the user to control which records from a recordset to display. Also, reports can aggregate data to compute statistics and be interactive, providing drilldown capabilities.
Users may even create ad-hoc reports using the Report Builder.

Report Output

SSRS reports may target these output types: Html (view in browser, PDF (printing), Tiff (save as image), CSV (export into comma-delimited-format for importing into target systems), XML (transporting into other system), Excel – good for modifying before printing.

Report Sources

SSRS Reports data sources may use: SQL Server, SSAS, Oracle, Access, Any OLE DB or ODBC data source, XML

Programming Reporting Services

Visual Studio’s Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) is the preferred method for developing SSRS reports.
There are several way in which reports may be accessed, some examples are:

  • URL Access – call a report in browser, passing options to engine in URL as params.
  • Web Services – enumerate reports, manage users/roles, data sources in folder or render.
  • Reporting Services Extensions: extend the SSRS API.
  • XML: Reports are stored in an XML dialect – RDL, which may also be generated with a custom-developed application.

Deployment and Administration

  • Configuration Utilities – GUI an command-line tools to setup, deploy.
  • Report Manager – browser-based, desktop-based, for managing reports, data sources, security.
  • Role-based security – provide security for development & execution of reports.
  • Source Control – integrates with Visual Studio Team System (VSTS).

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