A Must-read Reporting Services Blog

Robert Bruckner on the Reporting Services team has started a blog. Robert oversees several key areas of Reporting Services, including Report Definition Language (RDL), data processing, report processing, data visualization, and performance/scalability. Many of you have gotten help from Robert on the Reporting Services discussion lists to which he frequently contributes. So, this sure it’s going to be a must-read blog as his first posts (report variables and scalability) show.

RS Blog Roll

Bob Meyers’ Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/bobmeyers)—Bob Meyer is a Program Manager on the Reporting Services team who is responsible for Report Builder 1.0.

Brian Welcker’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/bwelcker)—Brian Welcker is a former Group Program Manager on the Reporting Services team.

Chris Baldwin’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/chrisbal)—Chris Baldwin is a Program Manager on the Reporting Services team who oversees the report rendering area.

Chris Hays’s

(http://blogs.msdn.com/chrishays)—Chris Hays is an architect on the Reporting Services team and oversees the Report Definition Language.

John Gallardo’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/jgalla)—John Gallardo is a Software Development Engineer on the Reporting Services team who is responsible for the report server.

Lukasz Pawlowski’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/lukaszp)—Lukasz Pawlowski is a Program Manager on the Reporting Services team who is primarily responsible for the management feature of the product.

Reporting Services Team Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlrsteamblog/)—A collective blog of the Reporting Services team.

Reporting Services User Education Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/rosettaue)—From the user documentation team which is responsible for creating all the documentation that ships with the product.

Robert Bruckner’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/robertbruckner)— Robert Bruckner is a Software Development Engineer on the Reporting Services team who oversees Report Definition Language (RDL), data processing, report processing, data visualization, and performance/scalability.

Russell Christopher’s Blog

(http://blogs.msdn.com/bimusings)—Russell Christopher is a Business Intelligence consultant with Microsoft who posts great insights about working with Reporting Services.


It’s Done

A quick update on my book Applied Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services. I am happy to announce that the work on the manuscript is over and the manuscript RTM’d (released to manufacturing). The paper copy should be available on the reseller sites and brick and mortar stores around the publication date (August 15th). Expect the ebook version around that time as well. Of course, the good thing about the ebook version besides being searchable and portable is that it includes color images. As you would probably agree, color is a good thing when you are studying report design. Video demos are even better, of course, which brings me to the next topic.

While waiting, take a look at the book web page that just went live and check the available resources. Among other things, you’ll find two sample chapters (chapters 1 and 3), the book source code, and video demos, which I captured using the awesome TechSmith Camtasia. The videos are bonus material and are an experimental feature. Video demos are provided for a subset of the report authoring practices covered in the book. I am looking forward your feedback about this feature. Enjoy and I hope you don’t mind my thick as a brick accent J

Finally, the book web page includes a link to a discussion list, where you can make comments about the book and ask book-related questions. The new discussion list will replace my Reporting Services in Action discussion list, which will retire at the end of this month after four years of service. I hope you liked my participation and will consider “upgrading” to the new discussion list and book.

Automating Report Deployment

Here is an awesome tip courtesy to the Craig Guyer’s I Command Thee blog. You probably know that Visual Studio supports project configurations. In BIDS 2008, you can automate report deployment with configurations. For example, the following command deploys the solution using the settings of the QA configuration.

C:\>devenv “C:\Books\RS2008\Code\ch03\Reports\Reports.sln” /deploy QA

This is especially useful when automating deployment to SharePoint because you need to change the report definitions to use absolute paths to external resources, such as shared data sources. BIDS deployment can handle this for you and save you writing custom code to automate deployment.

While we are on the SharePoint deployment topic with BIDS, one nasty bug was introduced late in the SQL Server 2008 cycle that prevents you deploying folders that contain a space, such as Data Sources, to SharePoint from BIDS. When you attempt to do this, you get:

Error rsInvalidItemName : The name of the item ‘Data%20Sources’ is not valid. The name must be less than 128 characters long. The name must not start with slash; other restrictions apply.

If the folder already exists, deployment is successful. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, this bug won’t get fixed in the RTM timeframe. As a workaround, don’t use spaces in the target folders, e.g.; DataSources instead of Data Sources.