Bob's SQL Reporting Services Blog

Notes, tips, rants, and ruminations on SQL Reporting Services, and Report Builder in particular.

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  • Blog Post: Create short lists using the LookupSet function

    Sometimes you have a short list of values that you really don't want to show on individual rows; you'd rather just concatenate them into a list, separated by commas, and put them all in a single row. For example, suppose instead of listing the states in each U.S. Census region each on their own row...
  • Blog Post: TechEd session: Tips and tricks for building rich reports

    Here's a recording of my TechEd 2012 North America session last week in Orlando: Tips and Tricks For Building Rich Reports The entire session is based on Report Builder 3.0. All content is relevant to both SQL 2008 R2 and SQL 2012. Topics covered: Use a tablix to organize data how you...
  • Blog Post: Add Excel-like "color scale" conditional formatting to your reports

    I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, and it looks like David Lean beat me to it earlier this year by posting an incredibly thorough four-part discussion of how to do conditional formatting in Reporting Services . I’ve played with his sample code a bit and put together a variation on his theme...
  • Blog Post: Localizing a report model

    Reports and report models can be localized at many levels. Following are some ideas around the current support in SQL Server 2008 for each type of localization. - Localized metadata at report design time o Example : Spanish report author sees “Cliente” instead of “Customer” in model explorer...
  • Blog Post: Sorting the values in parameter dropdowns in Report Builder

    In SQL 2005 the semantic queries generated by Report Builder do not support sorting. This is not a problem in the report itself, because all sorting is defined and implemented in the report definition instead of the query. However, for parameter dropdowns there is currently no solution: if the query...
  • Blog Post: Requiring Report Builder users to choose a perspective

    Some customers have report models that are large enough they do not expect any user to ever request the entire model, and would actually prefer to disallow that option, and require them to choose a perspective instead. There is an undocumented and unsupported feature that provides this behavior in the...
  • Blog Post: Launching Report Builder from the command line

    A number of people have asked if it is possible to launch RB from the command line. While it is in fact possible, it is an unsupported feature in SQL Server 2005. That said, here's how to do it. You just need to specify what report server to connect to, like this: ReportBuilder.exe /s=http://mybox...
  • Blog Post: Enforcing timeouts on Report Builder queries

    I've attached a sample C# project illustrating how to create a custom data processing extension ( more info ) that enforces a maximum timeout on any SQL queries submitted to it, including those generated from Report Builder. To try it out: Open and build the attached C# project in VS. Copy...
  • Blog Post: Creating a report model that can be used against multiple databases

    Sometimes it is useful to create a report model that can be used against multiple databases that have the same structure, but reside on different servers and/or have different schema qualifiers. Uploading a second copy of a report model and pointing it at a different database is certainly easy enough...
  • Blog Post: How to get the SQL for a Report Builder report

    There are two ways to get the generated SQL for a Report Builder report (or for a model-based query in any RS report): 1) use SQL Profiler to capture the incoming SQL commands, or 2) enable query logging in the report server. To enable query logging on the report server (option #2), make the following...
  • Blog Post: Using RDL expressions in Report Builder

    While not a documented feature, you actually can enter an arbitrary RDL expression into a textbox in a Report Builder report. For example, you could add a textbox that shows the date the report was run by setting the value of the textbox to the following: =String.Format("Date: {0:MM/dd/yyyy}", DateTime...
  • Blog Post: How to create a 'company' security filter for a hosted application

    Several customers have asked how to restrict data visibility in a report model for a hosted application, where every table has a "CompanyID" column, and every user that accesses the system is associated (via some other table) with exactly one company. The straightforward solution is to create a security...
  • Blog Post: Collapsing a many-to-many relationship in a report model

    Often a many-to-many relationship exists between two entities where the intermediate entity has nothing on it except the connecting roles. For example, it might be that an Employee can be assigned to many Regions, and each Region can have many Employees assigned to it, but there is nothing interesting...
  • Blog Post: How to create an inline bar chart

    Here's a neat trick a co-worker and I discovered this afternoon for creating an inline bar chart (an inline data visualization in a table or other data region). 1. Add an embedded image to your report that will serve as the "bar" (a simple horizontal gradient usually looks nice) 2. Add a column...
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