MSBI # 51– SSRS # 8 – Details of SSRS Report Manager ,Report Builder Difference(1.0,2.0,3.0 ) ,Report Designer

Hi folks ,

Continuing from my last post on SSRS :

  1. MSBI # 4 – SSRS # 1 – What is SSRS ? – (SQL Server Reporting Services)
  2. MSBI # 7 – SSRS # 2 – Get familiar with BIDS–SSRS ? – (SQL Server Reporting Services)
  3. MSBI # 16 – SSRS # 3 – Some Question about SSRS for Deeper Understanding !
  4. MSBI # 33 – SSRS # 4 – Everything and Explanation of Shared Data Source in SSRS
  5. MSBI # 47 – SSRS # 5 – What is a Report ? and Report Definition Overview Diagrams !
  6. MSBI # 49 – SSRS # 6 – What is a Reporting Services report and Why Use Reporting
  7. MSBI # 50 – SSRS # 7 – Deep Dive into SSRS Details for its Components, Architecture, Rendering Extensions

    In this article we are going to cover

  1. Report Manager
  2. Report Builder
  3. Difference between Report Builder 1.0 and Report Builder 2.0
  4. Report Builder
  5. Expression builder
  6. Other design tools

Some brief regarding SSRS overview


Report Manager

Report Manager is a Web-based report access and management tool that you use to administer a single report server instance from a remote location over an HTTP connection. You can also use Report Manager for its report viewer and navigation features. You can use Report Manager to perform the following tasks:

· View, search, print, and subscribe to reports.

· Create, secure, and maintain the folder hierarchy to organize items on the server.

· Configure role-based security that determines access to items and operations.

· Configure report execution properties, report history, and report parameters.

· Create report models that connect to and retrieve data from a Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services data source or from a SQL Server relational data source.

· Set model item security to allow access to specific entities in the model, or map entities to predefined click through reports that you create in advance.

· Create shared schedules and shared data sources to make schedules and data source connections more manageable.

· Create data-driven subscriptions that roll out reports to a large recipient list.

· Create linked reports to reuse and repurpose an existing report in different ways.

· Launch Report Builder to create reports that you can save and run on the report server.

You can use Report Manager to browse the report server folders or search for specific reports. You can view a report, its general properties, and past copies of the report that are captured in report history. Depending on your permissions, you might also be able to subscribe to reports for delivery to an e-mail inbox or a shared folder on the file system.

To use Report Manager, you must have Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.

Report Manager is used only for a report server that runs in native mode. It is not supported for a report server that you configure for SharePoint integrated mode.

Some Report Manager features are not available in SQL Server Express with Advanced Services.

To start Report Manager from a browser

1. Open Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later.

2. In the address bar of the Web browser, type the Report Manager URL. By default, the URL is http://<ComputerName>/reports. The report server might be configured to use a specific port. For example, http:// <ComputerName>:80/reports or http:// <ComputerName>:8080/reports.

Configuration of Report Manager:


Report Builder

SSRS 2008, like its previous version SSRS 2005, is built to address the needs of three different audiences. One audience is the business decision maker (or Business user). The Report Builder is targeted for Business users. These are users who have a deep knowledge of their data but may have either no detailed database knowledge or no serious programming experience. However, they are very much involved in slicing and dicing the available information to get a better handle on their business activity for decision making, analysis or forecasting. Report Builder is an ad hoc report design tool that utilizes a business model built using the available data.

It provides a number of features such as:

Flexible connection to data

· Relational data

· Multidimensional data

· XML data

· Custom data

Connectivity to a variety of data source providers

· Microsoft .NET managed data providers

· OLE DB data providers

· ODBC data sources

· Table-valued functions and custom data

Support of a variety of vendor data

· Oracle

· Hyperion

· SQL Anywhere 11

· Others

Provide an Improved Report layout scheme

· Page Orientation, Page Layout, margin sizing and so on are all supported

· Tabular —> Column based

· Matrix –> Summarized–> Use Aggregations

· Tablix= Table + Matrix

· Chart –> Graphical

· Gauges–>Dynamic web-based

· Free-form

· Sub reports

· Lists

· Graphics–>Database based or external graphics

Support Ad-hoc reporting

· Create and save reports on the fly.

· Drill through reports and interactive reports

· Links to sub reports and drill through reports

· Parameter based filtering

· Model based reports providing fine-grained click through reports

Provide Multiple Presentation/display formats

· Web and desktop oriented application formats


Allow Integration with custom or third part controls

Aid Report Navigation

Add bookmarks and document maps for navigating large reports

Difference between Report Builder 1.0 and Report Builder 2.0

Report Builder 1.0

Report Builder 2.0

Simple template-based reports

Full-featured reports as the BIDS Report Designer

Requires report model

Doesn’t require (but supports) report models

Supports only SQL Server, Oracle, and Analysis Services as data sources

Supports any data source

Supports RDL 2005

Supports RDL 2008

Bundled in SSRS

Available as a separate web download

Report Builder 1.0

Report Builder 3.0

Simple, single data region, model based reports

Full-featured reports as the BIDS Report Designer, supporting multi region and multi data sources

Requires report model

Support both Report model and direct data sources connectivity

Supports only SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, and Analysis Services as data sources

Supports any SSRS-supported data source including Model, SSAS, SQL RDB, SQL Azure, SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, Oracle, Teradata, SAPBW, Essbase, etc.

Supports RDL 2005 and above

Supports RDL 2008 R2

Bundled in SSRS 2008 R2

Bundled in SSRS 2008 R2 with Click Once support. Also delivered as a separate download

Ad hoc Query Building capability

Not Yet Available

Report Designer

Report Designer is a collection of graphical query and design tools that are hosted within the Microsoft Visual Studio environment. Report Designer provides a Report Data pane to organize data used in your report, and tabbed views for Design and Preview so that you can design a report interactively. Report Designer also provides query designers to help specify data to retrieve from data sources and the Expression dialog to specify report data to use in the report layout. Report Designer supports table, matrix, and free-form list reports; charts, gauges, and maps.

While designing a report, you can test it locally before publishing it to a report server. When you select the Preview tab, Report Designer runs the report using the same processing and rendering extensions that the report server uses, ensuring that users see the report as it was intended when they run the report. When you are ready to publish your report, use Report Designer to publish the report to a report server.

Report Designer is the primary report development tool available from the SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS). The design surface now supports a richer designer experience with rulers and snap lines. The Data tab in Report Designer has been replaced with a Report Data pane that organizes all report data into one place, and it is always visible as you create the report layout. It shows data sources, data sets, parameters, images, and built-in fields. Other changes include a new grouping pane that provides a convenient way to create groups for a Tablix data region and new property dialog boxes to set report item properties.

Report Designer view:

When you choose to create a Report Server project and add a report, the design interface also gets displayed. The design interface, also called the Report Designer, consists of a Toolbox with report related items, Design and Preview panes and a Report menu items drop-down, all shown in the same figure. To get the Report menu items you need to click on Reports. These completely take care of the physical layout and formatting of the Report.

The process of building up the report begins by placing (drag-and-drop) controls that can display data on to the body of the report, which, to begin with, is empty. Then you drag-and-drop the Report data items one-by-one into the controls that can bind to the data. When you use the Report Wizard however, the above activities will take place under the wizard’s guidance.

Report items toolbox:

The Report items may be roughly classified as follows:

Report Item Function Table, Matrix, List, Chart, Gauge These are the data regions of a report and each links to a data set. Table, Matrix, and List together are called Tablix. When they are

placed on the body of a report, they immediately call up the Data Source Wizard. Report definition is incomplete without the data source. Text Box This is a container for plain text such as a column header. It can also contain data or a built-in data field. Table cells contain textboxes. Image Links to an embedded, external or database referenced image. The MIME type is an important property that must be specified. Line and Rectangle These are graphical elements to improve the report design. However, rectangles can contain data regions. All report items have their own property pages and provide exhaustive support for developing highly interactive reports

Expression builder

Report menu items can be used to add page headers and footers. These can contain textboxes which can contain other Report features such as page number, execution time and so on. These can be dragged-and-dropped into the textboxes placed in headers and footers from the Built-in Fields in Report Data, contain expressions bringing in other values such as date and sometimes data from the database. The next figure shows a text box that may be populated by database fields using the expression builder which is invoked when it is chosen from a contextual menu in the text box. In the next screenshot, the empty textbox will be used to invoke (by right clicking inside the textbox) the query builder to fill the textbox with the full name


The Expression… menu item is a common tool whenever you are required to build an expression consisting of built-in fields, database fields and others. This utility has a long history of usage in Microsoft Access from its earliest versions. As shown in the next figure, two database fields are concatenated together to provide a value to be placed in the textbox by creating an expression. The expression is set by choosing Category | Item |Values in that order and any logical or mathematical operators chosen again from the Operators.


After formulating the expression, you will be seeing the expression that populates the empty textbox as shown in the following design view:

Other design tools

Visual Studio also provides other design help items like object handles, rulers, object grouping, and snap-to-grid alignment features. Some of these features become visible when you are dragging and aligning objects with respect to each other on the design surface.


The design surface is shown in the following screenshot as a blank report with no data defined. These design tools must be utilized to get an aesthetically pleasing report.


Hope this explanation is useful for you !!

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