• My next book

    May 2, 2005 / 2 Comments » / 974 Views

    I have to admit that I haven’t been very prolific lately on the blog arena. The reason for my extensive absence has been that all of my free time (what’s that?) has been spent writing my forthcoming book. That’s right, let’s blame it all on the book Ladies and gentlemen, I am very excited to announce my next book – “Applied Microsoft Analysis Services 2005 and the Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform”! As the book name suggests, the focus on the book is Analysis Services 2005 (SSAS). Besides Reporting Services and Integration Services, Analysis Services is the third pillar of the Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform. For those of you following this initiative know that there are exciting changes happening in Yukon…at least enough to pick up my interest. I will disclose more details about the book as the project unfolds. I hope the book will hit the retail channels around the...

  • SP2 is here

    April 23, 2005 / 1 Comment » / 1109 Views

    The much anticipated and long-delayed RS Service Pack 2 is here! Download it from from the Microsoft Download Center: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=502C0D89-1308-4662-8F58-CEC55EF1235B&displaylang=en. The list of changes and bug fixes can be found here. The SP 2 is cummulative and it includes the SP1 changes. Therefore, you don't need to apply SP1 before installing SP2. Join me to give credit to the RS team for their heroic effort. For little more than a year they managed to release two service packs (with numerious enhancements), merge the RS 2000 codebase into Yukon, implement the new Yukon feature set, and meanwhile address hundreds of questions on the RS newsgroup (which by the way is one of the most active discussion lists). I personally know of a few “enterprise” shops that couldn't complete the design phase for this period of time. Well done for a team of about 30 people!

  • SQL Server 2005 March Community Technical Preview (CTP)

    March 3, 2005 / 2 Comments » / 1142 Views

    Today, Microsoft released the third Community Technical Preview (CTP) for SQL Server 2005. The latest CTP includes a number of new features, such as enhanced integration with Visual Studio 2005, performance improvements in Management Studio, a SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 upgrade tool, and 64-bit support for Reporting Services, Notification Services and the management, development and configuration tools. In addition, this CTP includes Report Builder, a new component of SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and based on the technology acquired from ActiveViews. Because the new self-service, ad hoc report building client is built upon SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, the tool will make enterprise reporting easy, scalable, and reliable for end users. This CTP includes model files that can be used with Report Builder. These model files are available as separate downloads from the Beta Download Page. The SQL Server 2005 CTP is now available to all MSDN...

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

    February 2, 2005 / No Comments » / 1002 Views

    The second part of my article for DevX. In Part 1, you learned to create a custom security model for Microsoft Reporting Services. Now, tighten the screws by adding role membership authentication and stave off problems by troubleshooting and debugging your custom extensions ahead of time. 

  • Writing custom rendering extensions

    January 30, 2005 / 1 Comment » / 943 Views

    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

    January 15, 2005 / 1 Comment » / 1086 Views

    Some of my recent writings see daylight: The publisher of my book donated Chapter 1 of my book (Introducing Microsoft Reporting Services) to The Code Project website. It is available for free access here http://www.codeproject.com/books/MSReportingServices.asp?msg=1015597#xx1015597xx 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. MSDN has picked up my article first published by Pinnacle Publications  in the November issue of the Visual Basic Developer magazine. The article demonstrates how to leverage Reporting Services to generate reports on the server side of ASP.NET applications using a custom web control called AwReportViewer. You can read the article and download the sample code here (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnhcvb04/html/vb04k8.asp).

  • Introducing Microsoft Reporting Services

    January 15, 2005 / No Comments » / 616 Views

    The publisher donated Chapter 1 of my book (Introducing Microsoft Reporting Services) to The Code Project website. It is available for free access here http://www.codeproject.com/books/MSReportingServices.asp?msg=1015597#xx1015597xx

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

    January 15, 2005 / No Comments » / 369 Views

    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

    January 1, 2005 / No Comments » / 879 Views

    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...

  • Where is my ecryption key gone?

    December 31, 2004 / No Comments » / 723 Views

    As I stressed out in one of my previous posts and my book, it is an absolute must that you back up the RS encryption key as one of the first steps after you install RS and lock it up in a safe place. You can back up the encryption key this by using the rskeymgmt utility as follows: rskeymgmt -e -f <filename> -p <password> Trust me on this--sooner or later you will need that key. One situation when you will definately need it is after resetting the ASP.NET account either by explicitly invoking aspnet_regiis.exe or when installing a new version of the .NET framework. For example, recently I installed .NET Framework Beta 2 which effectively reset the ASP.NET account. This caused RS to invalidate the encryption key. As a result, when navigating to the Report Manager, I got the dreaded error: "The report server cannot decrypt the symmetric key used to...

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