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Report Manager

Report Manager is the web-based application included with Reporting Services that handles all aspects of managing reports.  In this section we will walk through report deployment using the Report Manager.

If you can deploy data sources and reports with BIDS, then why bother with using Report Manager?  Probably the best answer is that those who develop reports may not have the necessary permissions to deploy those reports to the production server.  When a report is ready for deployment, you may need to hand it off to a person who has the permissions to deploy to the production server and that person doesn't want to use BIDS.  Most admins are not developers and what they want is the ability to script out deployments or at least use a tool that isn't developer-centric.  Report Manager provides the capability to deploy data sources and reports by using a simple browser-based interface.

To begin navigate to the Report Manager home by opening your browser and typing in the URL; e.g. http://SERVERNAME/reports, where SERVERNAME is the server where the Report manager is deployed.  If you are working in your development environment and allowed the SQL Server installer to install and configure Reporting Services then you can use localhost as your SERVERNAME.

After navigating to the Report Manager home you will see the following:

The folders shown in the above screen shot were created in the previous section where we discussed deploying data sources and reports using BIDS.  Recall that the Reporting Services project has deployment settings which determine the folders for deploying data sources and reports.  To deploy using the Report Manager we would create folders for our data sources and reports as shown above by clicking the New Folder button.  Navigate to the new folder by clicking on it, then click the Upload File button to upload either a data source or a report.

When you click the New Folder button, the following dialog will be displayed:

Fill in the Name textbox; e.g. Report Manager Deployment Example and click OK.  The Report Manager now displays the new folder:

Click on the Report Manager Deployment Example hyperlink to navigate to the folder.  We are going to create a new data source and upload a report.

Typically when you deploy your data sources, the settings will be different than what you have in your development environment.  Click the New Data Source button to create and configure your data source as follows:

The following are the main points about creating a data source:

  • You have to enter the connection string; there is no helper dialog
  • The Connect using option selected is Windows integrated security; this means the report executes using the Windows credentials of the caller; the caller must have at least read permission on the database
  • The Credential stored securely in the report server option along with checking Use as Windows credentials when connecting to the data source is a good choice when you don't want to give the users running the report read permission on the database; rather you specify User name as DOMAIN\USERNAME and give just that account read permission on the database

After clicking OK to finish creating your data source, click the Upload File button to deploy a report.  Fill in the dialog as shown below by navigating to the report that you want to deploy.  I navigated to the folder where our BIDS project was saved and picked the file ReportDesignerExample.rdl (reports are stored in XML files with a .RDL extension):

After clicking OK to deploy the report, you can click on the report in the Report Manager to render it as shown below:

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