Reporting services are a great feature of SQL Server 2016 but how can you make the best of them?
SQL Server has featured Reporting Services for the last few years. For SQL Server 2016 it boasts a few new features, including a new web portal, modern browser support and new visuals. The Enterprise and Developer Editions include integrated KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and reports that can run on smartphones and tablets.
The new Reporting Services web portal includes KPIs, Mobile Reports, Paginated Reports, Excel and Power BI Desktop files and replaces Report Manager found in previous versions.
Users can also download Mobile Report Publisher and Report Builder from the web portal without using ClickOnce technology.
The web portal can also be customised with an organisational logo by using a branding pack, where users can also change the colours used within the web portal.
In addition, KPIs can also be created using the web portal. Furthermore, users can select dataset fields and summarise those values when creating KPIs, choosing related content to drill down to more details.
Reporting Services now offer users the ability to create mobile reports for a variety of smart phones and tablets and will optimise the experience depending on the screen size of the device it is viewed on.
This also boasts a variety of visualisations, from time, category, and comparison charts, to treemaps and custom maps. Mobile reports can be connected to various data sources including on premise SQL Server Analysis Services multidimensional and tabular data. Grid rows and columns can be adjusted to scale to any screen size.
The SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher lets users create and publish SQL Server mobile reports to an organisation’s Reporting Services web portal. Mobile reports hosted on a local reports server can also be displayed in the Power BI Mobile app for iOS on iPad and iPhone. This can be connected to by default with configuration changes.
Support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4, SharePoint mode and SharePoint 2016
Reporting Services supports the current versions of Microsoft .NET Framework 4. This includes version 4.0 and 4.5.1. SQL Server setup installs .NET 4.0 during the feature installation step, if no version of .Net Framework 4.x is installed.
Reporting Services also supports integration with SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016.
Improvements in reports
Reporting Services also features a new HTML5 rendering engine that should work with modern web standards mode and browsers. It also no longer relies on a “quirks” mode to support older browsers.
SQL 2016 also sports paginated reports with new, modern styles for charts, gauges, maps and other data visualisations. These reports can now include Tree Map and Sunburst Charts to show hierarchal data.
Mobile and paginated reports can be embedded in other web pages and apps using an iframe along with URL parameters. Report items, such as charts, gauge panels, maps, and images, can be selected and pinned to a Power BI dashboard while viewing a report in the web portal. Groups can be selected to be added to a dashboard you want to pin them to. You can also specify how frequently you want them updated.
The Microsoft PowerPoint (PPTX) format is a new SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services (SSRS) rendering extension and users can export reports in this format from Report Builder, Report Designer, and the web portal.
Improvements in subscription
There are new user interface options that can disable and enable subscriptions. These disabled subscriptions keep their other configuration properties such as schedule and can be re-enabled if needs be.
Subscriptions can now include a description of a report and ownership of subscription can also be changed.
Improvements to Report Builder
The core Report Builder user interface has been updated and now features streamlined UI elements.
The parameters pane can also now be customised and parameters can be dragged to a specific column and row in the parameters pane. Columns can be added and removed to change the pane layout.
Find out more here.