Blackman Associates logo

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

What is it?

As the name suggests, a tool which end users utilise to run reports against data in their SQL Server database.

Reporting in Windows applications (winforms) is not at all easy. Printing especially can be very difficult to do correctly. This ‘bolt on’ makes a great addition to an application.

How do you get it?

It's an optional extra to SQL Server. So it can be installed when SQL Server itself is setup or any time after. So there is no extra software cost involved!
Microsoft offers a free version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) as part of their Express range. There are limitations but for very many circumstances they are not an issue. The product has been around a few years now and the latest version, SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 R2 is very good.

What can you do with it?

As the name suggests it is a service but it also includes a report designer tool and a viewer tool. The viewer tool can be embedded in your Windows application or web site.
Normally the user will go to a web page for the reports or click a button in the Windows Application to go to the report viewer. If you have many reports you'd see a list and choose the one you want to run. You may want to supply a date range or choose a client or product.
The results are displayed on screen and you can create the report to be sortable on specified columns, group and total rows, expand and contract groups to allow 'drill down'. You can also have charts and gauges, maybe for a dashboard for a high level view on your intranet.
As well as seeing the results you can easily export them to Excel, pdf or web pages.

Sample report

Sample report with drill down

Sample SSRS Chart

Data Visualisation

The charts can made to be interactive. i.e. click on a bar and see a table update to show data related to that bar.

You can also show sparklines, data bars and ‘traffic light’ indicators that were introduced in Excel 2007.

Table with data bars
Table with data bars
Table with sparkline (line)
Table with sparkline (line)
Table with sparkline (columns)
Table with sparkline (columns)
Traffic light  Traffic light legend
Traffic light with associated legend

What do we do with it for you?

We now include SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) development as part of our services. The SSRS developer will:

  • Help you get it set up.
  • Write the reports to meet your requirements.
  • Possibly train you to write them yourself.

Quite often you do not really need to worry about SQL Server Reporting Services as a product. We just use it as part of your solution.

A typical solution would be web pages to mainly enter data, SQL Server to store the data and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to report against your data.

So if you need SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) development, be it having a SQL Server Reporting Services developer create some reports for your existing site, or you’d like the whole thing set up for you, please contact us.