Reporting Service 2016 Unplugged

This month’s SQL Server Pro Magazine article:

In SQL Server 2016, my favorite report tools get some love with a few cool new features including, a little polish added to a few existing features, and a complete Report Portal overhaul.

Reporting Services reached a certain maturity as a rock-solid reporting platform somewhere just after 2008 – or at least it got past puberty.  Most report developers would agree, the versions that followed SQL Server 2008 R2 were more like a midlife crisis for the product, because the feature set stalled for about five years.  The latest version is not a complete product rebirth by any means, but it is a good indication Reporting Services is not headed for retirement any time soon; it now plays an important role in the larger Microsoft reporting ecosystem.

Rather than rehashing information posted about new and upcoming reporting features available elsewhere, I’ll share my experience thus far with the latest community technical preview (CTP 3.2) and some insights from the product developers.  As with any preliminary software build, your experience may differ.

Design Tools…

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How to Get SSRS Reports in Excel Without Exporting from Reporting Services

I’ve recently seen a wave of questions from clients and peers about difficulties exporting reports to Excel lately.  Every few weeks I get a call or question about this.  This topic has been a recurring theme for a very long time and one that I have encountered many times over the past – oh, eleven years or more – using SSRS.  Business users like Excel because it’s what they know and they can reformat and manipulate data in a workbook.  People like Reporting Services because all the hard work of connecting to data sources, writing queries, totaling, grouping and formatting the results gets done once and then all they need to do is run the report.  Users want the best of both worlds and they expect that when they export a report to Excel that they should have their cake and eat it.  In other words; they should be able to get a report, with all the goodness of headers, scrolling regions, pagination, interactive sorting – you name it – to work exactly the same way in Excel.  Many improvements have been made to all of the report rendering extensions over the years and the Excel export story is better than ever but here’s the deal – bottom line – the more rich formatting and advanced functionality that gets designed into an SSRS report, the less likely it is to export all that functionality to Excel or any other rendering format. Continue reading