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Discover how to create, manage, and deliver interactive reports—not just to print, but to dynamically explore enterprise-level data—with Reporting Services in SQL Server. In this course, author Simon Allardice concentrates on using Report Builder to build and format reports from a variety of data sources, but also shows how to perform basic administration tasks such as granting user access and organizing reports in the Report Manager. Plus, learn how to add interactive sorting and filtering functionality to your reports, and create column and pie charts to better express your data.
Note: These tutorials are applicable to both the 2008 and 2012 versions of SQL Server.
Right now, for anyone to see any of these reports, they have to come to the website and click the link to either view it on the site or be able to select the Export option to view it in one of the other formats. But we can also have these reports generated automatically on a schedule to create a subscription to them, say that have a sales report sent to our Inbox every Monday morning at 8 a.m. But this can require just a little more work on our part as a report creator, so let's see why. I am going to take one of these reports that I have. It really doesn't matter which one.
I'm going to pick this very simple first report I created right at the start. Let's say this is the one that I want to subscribe to. Okay, sounds good. I can see that it's working. I want this every Monday morning. I am going to go back to the containing folder, which for me is just the Home page here, and from the dropdown menu, I'm going to select Subscribe. I choose that option and I am refused. It says no. Well, the question is, why? Here is the deal. Right now when I run this report, it's connecting to the database and the database is asking from my credentials.
It's saying okay, someone is trying to get this data. Who are you? And because of the way our data source is defined, I am passing my own Windows credentials through because I am currently logged on. But if I want to tell the server to generate the report by itself regardless of if I am even logged into the system, it just doesn't have any credentials to do that. Reporting Services doesn't automatically have all the credentials it needs to talk to every database it might possibly connect to. So to allow subscriptions, this report needs to have a data source that includes credentials, so that it will work correctly.
Now, this report actually has an embedded data source in it. I could go back into Report Builder to edit it, but I can also actually edit it here. If I choose the menu and just come down into Manage, an option I have over on the left-hand side is Data Sources, which is really just a description of the embedded data source that I currently have. And right now it's giving me the description, the Connection string, and saying it's using Windows integrated security. That's what's passing through my credentials whenever I run it. But if I am not going to be around when it runs, I need to provide something else.
So here is most useful option right now, the option to have credentials stored securely in the report server. Now I could write my own Windows Account in here, but I don't want to write my actual credentials in here. That would just be a bad practice. So what I have done is I have talked to the database administrator on this database, which in this case is me, and I have created an account in the database that is set up as ReadOnly with access to the tables that it needs. I am going to type in those credentials so they are stored with this report.
I named that account AW2008ReadOnly, and I will type in my password for it. In my case, it is an account that's directly stored in the database. It's not a Windows account, so I am not going to say Use as Windows credentials. I am going to click Test Connection. I get this message Connection created successfully, looks good. I still need to click Apply; otherwise, it won't be saved. Now those credentials are stored as part of the data source and this data source is embedded inside this report. I could also do this same idea with a shared data source, but for purposes of time, I am just doing it this way.
So I am going to go back and make sure that this report runs normally. We don't want to interfere with that. Yeah, it looks good, looks the same way it did just a moment ago. But now from the dropdown menu, when I click Subscribe, I should have that option available. A subscription in Reporting Services can generate an email, or one of the other options is it can dump it into a Windows File Share, a shared folder. E-Mail should be the default option for delivery, and if you don't see the E-Mail option it means Reporting Services have not been configured to talk to a mail server, so talk to your system administrator about that.
If you want to dump it into a shared folder, you do need to provide a path to it and any credentials that are needed to access that folder. I am going to go with E-Mail. It's assuming that it's being delivered to me, so I am going to leave that, but I also have options to add CCs and BCCs. We have the typical options for delivery that you also get when you're viewing it on the website. We can generate as a PDF, as a Word file or Excel. The default one was opening as MHTML, which is really the compressed archived web page itself so we could open up in the browser, but I know this report could work as PDF, so I am going to select PDF.
And then towards the bottom, the only other thing that we have to specify, how often do I want it, what schedule do I want this on? It's defaulting to 8 a.m. every Monday of every week, but I can click the button to build my own schedule to do it every hour or once a month or twice a day, and we also have options to begin and end this schedule. I am just going to leave it on the default, every Monday at 8 a.m., and click OK, click OK. My subscription is created. We are done. I could do this on multiple reports.
Later, if I've forgotten exactly what and where I've subscribed to different reports, I do have the My Subscriptions link at the top of the Report Manager website where I can view these or delete them.
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