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This course works for using Reporting Services in either the SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012 versions. While there are differences between these versions of the SQL Server platform, the differences purely in the Reporting Services features are very, very small and most of the time you would be unable to tell, either viewing or designing a report, which version is then being used. Okay, they're not completely identical, and I will of course point out a few situations that are different later in the course, but know that for the vast majority of examples, it is exactly the same working in Reporting Services on either the 2008 R2 or 2012 versions of SQL Server.
And if you're not sure which version you have, talk to your database administrator. Now if we're going to make some reports, we need some data on those reports. So to demonstrate a lot of these ideas and techniques, I'll be using Microsoft's sample database called AdventureWorks that I have installed on my database server. AdventureWorks is freely downloadable from Microsoft. It's at the msftdbprodsamples.codeplex.com address, and it can be downloaded on either the SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2012 platforms.
And it is great for what we are doing here. AdventureWorks is a database based around a fictitious cycling company with a good amount of typical corporate interrelated data on sales and customer information, human resource information, and so on. But--and this is important-- I am not trying to explain how to use Reporting Services just with the AdventureWorks database. I need to use something to illustrate these examples, but I will do my best to always explain what I'm doing in a way that you can take to your own database and your own data.
If you're someone who learns best by duplicating exactly what I'm doing, then you may want to use AdventureWorks and it is a freely available, as you can see. You can talk to your database administrator to see if you already have, or can get, access to it. Alternatively, you could set up your own machine as a development box and install everything yourself. That is not necessary for this course but if you feel comfortable doing that, then by all means go ahead. I am going to quickly go through what I'm using to record this course, but I do not expect anyone to duplicate my setup exactly. There's simply no need.
So I have first, SQL Server 2008 R2, Standard edition installed, including Reporting Services, and also SQL Server 2012 Standard edition including Reporting Services. And I have both versions of SQL Server installed independently, just so that I can demonstrate any differences between them. On these database servers, I also have installed the AdventureWorks databases. Now you'll find there are different versions of the download files available for SQL Server 2012 and for SQL Server 2008 R2.
On the site, you will find multiple downloads for both 2012 and 2008 R2. There's the regular AdventureWorks database, which you will find under the OLTP term, and there's optionally, in either of these locations, you'll find AdventureWorks LT--the LT meaning a lightweight smaller version of that. And again, optionally, you'll also find AdventureWorks DW for data warehouse. You will find those links right of the top level of the page as well, the DW link.
And that DW version is for data mining and analytics, if that's something that you are interested in. I have all three databases--the regular one without any initials, the LT one, and the DW one--installed on my SQL Server 2012 server, and also all three installed for my 2008 R2. So if you see those letters as I'm going through the course, that's what they refer to. But again, you do not need to have these installed, as long as you're happy with following along with what I'm doing in abstract. Now, I also have Visual Studio 2010 installed on my machine and the SQL Server configuration tools.
If you have Visual Studio 2010 or 2012, you can use those. But if you don't use Visual Studio already, that's okay. It's not essential. So you might be looking at this thinking, well, what actually is necessary to install? And here is the thing. Most people watching this course shouldn't need to install anything. Here is what is essential. If you can open up a web browser already and go to that Report Manager website for Reporting Services, that's the perfect place where you can get started. The default address again is the name of your database server/reports, although that can be changed by your sys admin or database admin.
You're looking for a website that looks something like this, the SQL Server Reporting Services home area. Mine is a fresh install, so I don't have anything listed here. If yours is being heavily used, you might find a lot of links and folders here. So if you can get here, we are off to a good start; and if you can't, talk to your database administrator or sys admin to find out how you get access to Reporting Services in your organization. There may be multiple servers you can get access to. In some organizations there might even be one set up just for testing an experimenting.
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