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Data Sources and Data Sets in Reporting Services

Data Sources and Datasets

When you are building reports, it’s likely that you will want to design more than one as part of the same project. For example, you might be asked to produce a summary report that allows the user to select an item which automatically opens another report that shows further details on that item.

Although these reports will show different data, it’s highly likely that they will use the same database. To avoid duplicating the connection information and to keep things tidy and manageable, you can create a database connection at the project level and then use this same connection to create datasets in all your reports.

Data Sources vs Datasets

It is important to understand the difference between data sources and datasets.

Data Sources

A data source contains details about the database server you will be connecting to, the login to use and the database to use.

Datasets

A dataset contains the specific query that will be used to fetch data for a particular report.

Try it

1. In the Solution Explorer, right-click on Shared Data Sources and select Add New Data Source.
2. Name the data source AdventureWorks.
3. Leave the Type as Microsoft SQL Server and click Edit… to specify a connection string.
4. When the Connection Properties window opens, type the name of the SQL Server that contains the AdventureWorks2012 database. If you are doing everything on a development machine, your local SQL Server can be specified as ‘localhost’.
5. Specify your usual login information for this server and then select the AdventureWorks database from the drop down list.
6. Click on Test Connection to confirm everything is ok, and then click OK.
7. Review the connection string that was generated for you, and then click OK again.

Note that in the Solution Explorer, a new shared data source has been created.

data sets


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