Author: Paul Turley
Publisher: Wrox Press
Date: January 2017
Audience: Database developers
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank
This is a new fifth edition of a very successful book on Reporting Services, updated to cover the changes in SQL Server 2016, including the introduction of Mobile Report Services.
The book opens with chapters introducing Reporting Services and what's new in SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services. It then moves on to a section on basic report design, with coverage of layout and formatting, data access and query basics, and grouping and totals.
For most developers, the useful part of the book starts next, in the section on advanced and analytic reporting. There are chapters on advanced report design covering aspects such as headers and footers, embedded formatting,and different types of master/detail reports. A chapter on graphical report design introduces the use of charts in reports, and looks at the different types of charts supported by Reporting Services.
Advanced queries and parameters are covered next, beginning with T-SQL queries and parameters, then MDX queries and parameters. In both cases the emphasis is on how to use the queries within reports rather than how to write advanced queries.
Next comes a chapter on reporting with analysis services, looking at working with MDX, non-additive measures, cube formatting and drill-through reports. I think this is where Reporting Services starts to get both useful and more difficult to understand, and while the chapter has useful explanations, I think even more in-depth descriptions would still be useful.
The next chapter does move on to Analysis Services advanced techniques, and again has useful explanations. It shows how to build a dynamic cube browser with SSRS, how to work with dynamic rows, restrict rows, work with cube metadata, all the way to the cube browser. A chapter on using the expression builder and actions brings this section of the book to a close.
The title of the next part of the book is 'solution patterns', and it begins with a meaty chapter on report projects and consolidation. This introduces the use of SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio), and how to use it, along with how to manage version control for reports, synchronizing content, and planning a self-service reporting environment. The next chapter is based on talks given by the author at the PASS Global Summit, and introduces the idea of a super report that can be used to provide customized information relevant to different groups of users. Various 'report recipes' that back this up are also introduced.
The book now moves on to custom programming with Reporting Services, with chapters on integrating reports into custom applications, and extending Reporting Services. The chaper on integrating reports into custom apps shows how to use URLs to access reports via HTTP; using the Reporting Services web services to render reports; and using the ReportViewer controls.
Extending Reporting Services shows how to use the Data Processing Extensions, and how to create your own custom data processing extension.
Te next section is completely new, an addition from earlier editions of the book. It covers the mobile reporting features added in SQL Server 2016. There are chapters on the Mobile Report Publisher, how to design and implement a mobile report, and advanced reporting covering aspects such as the chart data grid, dataset parameters, and drill through to paginated reports.
The final section of the book covers administering Reporting Services.
This is a very thorough book, covering Reporting Services in depth. It's not a book for the beginner, and some aspects receive less coverage than would be ideal. Fortunately, the author concentrates on the more advanced areas, which is where you really need the information.
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