Writing custom rendering extensions

As you probably know, the custom rendering specification wasn’t documented with RS 2000. The features set was there, only the information was lacking. The SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 documentation now includes the rendering extension specification.


James Yip has written an excellent article about writing custom rendering extensions in the February issue of the MSDN magazine. As you can imagine, custom renderers are not trivial to write. For this reason, I highly recommend you check for availability of third-party rendering extensions that support the rendering format you need before you embark on this journey. For example, as I mention in one of previous posts, SoftArtisians provides flexible Excel and Word rendering extensions.


Happy rendering!

Article here, article there…RS, RS everywhere

Some of my recent writings see daylight:


Harden MS Reporting Services Using Custom Extensions (Part 1 of 2)

DevX published part 1 of my two-part article about RS Forms Authentication. It is available for free access here http://www.devx.com/dotnet/Article/26759.

 

“One of the most useful features of Microsoft Reporting Services is its extensibility model. Just about any aspect of Reporting Services can be custom-tailored to meet your specific requirements. Part one of this two-part series explains how to replace the default Windows-based security model of Reporting Services with forms authentication security. First, you’ll learn the ropes of implementing forms authentication security and how you can leverage it for Web-based reporting. Then you’ll enhance the form’s authentication extension by adding role-membership features to simplify the security maintenance.”


Enjoy it!

Service Pack 2 brings client-side printing

Printing reports was akward with RS 2000 to say the least. This was especially true when the reports were rendered in HTML since in this case the report is generated inside an IFRAME element. Since the frame could scroll right-clicking and engaging the standard browser printing was problematic. As a workaround, the report had to be exported in PDF format (or other non-HTML renderer) and printed as such.


You will be happy to know that SP2 puts this issue to rest by supporting client-side printing in the form of the new print control which allows printing of a report on the client side (inside the browser). This control makes printing a report a breeze. Once you install Service Pack 2 and request a report, you will see a new toolbar button added to the report toolbar (between the Refresh Report and Help buttons).


 


The print control is implemented as an ActiveX control. When you click on the Printer button, a request is made to download the print control if it is not installed already on the user machine. Once the download process is complete, the familiar Print Dialog is displayed.


 


As you can see, the print control supports also a preview mode.


 


Once the preview mode is initiated or the report is printed, the control instructs the Report Server to print the report using the EMF rendering extension. This is the same concept as the Bryan Keller’s article demonstrates.


The print control also supports a client-side object model (RSClientPrint object) to give developers access to the print control functionality should custom toolbars have to implemented.


Client-side printing has been one of most demanded RS features and the new print control solves this issue elegantly. For more information about SP2, please see my previous post.


Happy printing and reporting in the new 2005!