What is SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services)

What is SSRS?

SQL Server Reporting Services is a reporting tool that comes free with SQL Server 2012. With SSRS you can produce formatted reports with tables of data, graphs, and charts. These reports are hosted on a server and they can be configured to run using parameters supplied by the user. When the report runs, it displays current data from the source database, XML file or other data source.

In addition to users running reports on-demand, reports can be scheduled to run at certain times or they can be published manually. Reports can be published to a web site, integrated into a Windows application or form part of a SharePoint site.

This SSRS tutorial teaches the basics of designing reports, so to keep things simple, the reports will not be published to anywhere other than your local development machine.

When might reports be useful?

Consider a medical research facility where patients are recruited on to various clinical trials. The staff in the clinic create a database record for each patient when he or she agrees to be part of the trial, and then clinic receives a payment from the drug company based on the rate at which it finds willing participants.

A typical scenario in the past might have involved the clinic emailing the drug company with the total number of participants in the trial on a weekly basis, maybe with details of any patient who dropped out of the trial for medical or personal reasons, the amount of drugs used, and any adverse events encountered. The time taken to collate and send this data in the correct format would take up valuable time in the clinic.

If the clinics were recording data in a database, SSRS could be used to produce ondemand reports in a pre-defined format that could then be either exported as a PDF, Excel, etc and emailed to the drug company, or the drug company could be given access to a reporting server so that they could run the report at any time, and get up-to-date data without anyone from the clinic lifting a finger.

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