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The elements of a report

From: SQL Server Reporting Services in Depth

Video: The elements of a report

We're going to jump in to creating reports in just a second, but I have got one key concept to cover first so that when we do jump in, things will make a lot more sense. See, every report you make in Reporting Services will require that you provide three elements, three things, three distinct kinds of information in order, that I'll describe as the where, the what, and the how. Where is the data for this report, what is the data for this report, and how should it be presented? And we need to describe each of these three pieces individually.

The elements of a report

We're going to jump in to creating reports in just a second, but I have got one key concept to cover first so that when we do jump in, things will make a lot more sense. See, every report you make in Reporting Services will require that you provide three elements, three things, three distinct kinds of information in order, that I'll describe as the where, the what, and the how. Where is the data for this report, what is the data for this report, and how should it be presented? And we need to describe each of these three pieces individually.

Without all three, you don't have a report. So first, where is it? Where is the data that you're interested in, and how do you connect to it? Literally what machine is it on? What's it called? Because Reporting Services is not restricted to only creating reports from data on the same physical SQL Server machine. Sure, that it is very common, but it can talk to other SQL Server machines, whether they are across the room or across the world. They can talk to other database systems. They can talk to SharePoint lists.

They can talk to XML files. So if we want to create a report and, say, base it on data in a SQL Server database, we begin by providing the name of the server, the actual name of that machine, then the name of the database on that server, because there's typically multiple different databases. And because just naming a database is not going to get you inside it--all databases are typically secured, so we will also need to provide some kind of authentication details so that database will actually let us in.

So this is your report's source of data, your data source, and that is the term that we use. We are defining the data source. So if that's the where, the next step is what? What is your data? Now, you might think you just provided this, but you didn't. Our data source is just us pointing to the database we are interested in, saying where it is and how we connect to it. But we don't want the entire contents of that database just dumped out on a report. So in the what step we specify the data that we want.

What is that data exactly? What tables, what rows, what columns, in what order, with what conditions? This is the subset of the data that we are interested in, and this is called the data set. And finally, once we've defined the where-- the data source--and the what--the data set--we can define the how. How should this be presented? What does it look like? What is the layout? So from purely presentational choices like what fonts and what colors we are using, to more structural choices, because the same data could be shown many different ways.

So is it just raw text and numbers, or will we generate charts and graphs from this data? Will we allow viewers to interact with the report and re-sort it and move through pages of it? So everything that we are going to do is going to fall into the where--the data source--the what--the data set--and the how--our report layout--and it's different kinds of thought process that we need for each step. So next, let's see an example.

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This video is part of

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SQL Server Reporting Services in Depth

40 video lessons · 9754 viewers

Simon Allardice
Author

 
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  1. 12m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. What you need to know
      1m 36s
    3. Exploring SQL Server Reporting Services components
      4m 17s
    4. Reviewing SQL Server versions
      5m 4s
  2. 49m 41s
    1. The elements of a report
      3m 10s
    2. Creating a report with Report Builder
      12m 11s
    3. Grouping table regions on a report
      6m 1s
    4. Joining data from multiple tables
      4m 33s
    5. Formatting report elements
      4m 34s
    6. Using functions in a report
      11m 0s
    7. Displaying data in a matrix
      8m 12s
  3. 24m 9s
    1. Filtering data and adding parameters to a report
      5m 35s
    2. Customizing report parameters
      5m 4s
    3. Sorting data in a data region
      4m 7s
    4. Applying interactive sorting
      4m 57s
    5. Creating a drillthrough action to connect reports
      4m 26s
  4. 49m 57s
    1. Introduction to charting in Reporting Services
      4m 16s
    2. Creating a column chart
      8m 35s
    3. Adding a generated average to a chart
      4m 5s
    4. Creating a pie chart
      8m 19s
    5. Using sparklines
      6m 38s
    6. Adding a sparkline to a drilldown matrix
      14m 34s
    7. Adding data bars
      3m 30s
  5. 21m 48s
    1. Adding indicators to a report
      7m 52s
    2. Using and configuring gauges
      5m 30s
    3. Using maps in Reporting Services
      8m 26s
  6. 38m 14s
    1. Creating modular reports with report parts
      4m 36s
    2. Adding and updating report parts
      4m 37s
    3. Using subreports and nested regions
      4m 28s
    4. Configuring headers and footers
      3m 9s
    5. Printing and exporting reports
      3m 45s
    6. Using page breaks
      5m 37s
    7. Creating and using shared data sources
      8m 11s
    8. Creating and using shared data sets
      3m 51s
  7. 27m 20s
    1. Organizing reports in Report Manager
      3m 1s
    2. Adding users and configuring report security
      5m 24s
    3. Configuring subscriptions
      5m 13s
    4. Creating a linked report
      4m 8s
    5. Using Report Designer in SQL Server Data Tools
      9m 34s
  8. 1m 2s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 2s

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