Executing and Viewing Reports
We can execute a report
within Reporting Services through two general means. First, we can run a given
report on demand, which simply means that the report executes any time
we access and open it. Alternatively, we can dictate that a report is subscription
based, whereby we specify information that is used to run the report at the
time we dictate, together with delivery information to enabled Reporting
Services to "push" the report to us after execution.
Execution and viewing
often become very closely related, particularly in the case of an on-demand
scenario, where we are triggering execution by an attempt to view.
Let's take a look at the options for executing and viewing our reports.
We can view reports on
demand via the Report Manager or through a browser. Let's take a look at the
steps involved in a simple scenario. First, we will view a report using Report
Manager, something we have already touched upon in previous articles. Our first
step is to start Report Manager.
the Reporting Services program group that installs within a
typical setup. The equivalent on my PC appears as shown in Illustration 1.
Illustration 1: Navigate
to Report Manager ...
Manager to initialize the application.
NOTE: If Report Manager does not
appear in the manner shown, whether because you declined setup of the program
group, a disablement of the feature, or other, unknown reason, simply get there
by typing the appropriate URL into the address bar of your web browser. The
default URL is as follows:
As an example, my <webservername> would be MOTHER1,
the name of my server, and would appear, in this approach, in my browser address
line as depicted in Illustration 2.
Illustration 2: Navigate
to Report Manager ...
arrive at the Report Manager Folder view, as shown in Illustration
Report Manager Folder View
sample reports we have published appear as we left them in our last lesson.
NOTE: If you did not complete the last
lesson, of if you have worked with Reporting Services other than within the
last lesson, the Folder view will appear different from the above. To
populate the view with the sample reports, which we will be using throughout
our examination of the Managing phase of Reporting Services, please
refer to the steps taken in Managing
Reporting Services: Data Connection and Uploads.
is obvious, Report
is, itself, a web-based interface. In addition to serving as a management
tool for Reporting Services, it also acts as a viewing tool. An
advantage in its use for viewing is that the involvement of the report server, which underlies the
capability to view a report in a web browser, is minimal. This comes in handy
at times, particularly for developers who, for whatever reason, may not have
access to a report server.
execute and view a report here, then take a look at the same process via the
browser. Clicking the report name triggers execution, as we shall see in the
Click the link
for the Product Line Sales report, as shown in Illustration 4.
Illustration 4: Executing
the Report from Report Manager (Partial Folder View)
report executes when we click the link in Report Manager's Folder view,
as evidenced by a Report is being generated message. The report then
appears, as shown in Illustration 5.
Illustration 5: Viewing
the Report Executed from Report Manager
also view reports directly from a browser, simply by typing in the URL address
of the report. Within the URL is embedded the Web server, report server
virtual directory, and the fully qualified report name. An example (the report
we have accessed, based upon its URL on my machine), is as follows:
could type this address directly into the browser, or establish a link in
another page, a shortcut based upon the URL, or other options to gain similar
execution and subsequent access to the report. The address I have shown above
would be referred to in the Reporting Services documentation as a "complex
URL," meaning that it contains encoded characters to handle spaces in the
path (as in the report name Product Line Sales), as well as for the
passage of parameters (Product Line Sales is a parameterized report, and
requires parameters to function as its authors intended).
These comprise the basic options
that we have for executing and viewing a report on demand. We can also view
the data obtained by Reporting Services using a desktop application, such as MS
Excel, instead. We will touch upon a method for doing this in our next section,
where we will focus upon subscriptions.
From within the
Product Line Sales report, click the Home link (as depicted in Illustration
6) to return to the Home page / Folder view from whence we
entered the Product
Line Sales report.
Illustration 6: Return
Home, and Close the Product Line Sales Report
reports, by their nature, allow us to perform "refreshes" based upon
the most recent data in the data source through their easy execution, and thus
they provide current information upon viewing. There are scenarios where a
Reporting Services administrator might want to designate that a previously
generated report be presented, instead of running the report every time an
information consumer makes use of the respective link or other execution
option. These previously generated reports are often referred to as static
reports. Static reports might be used when the reports concerned are
resource intensive, or perhaps where the use of static reports otherwise increases
performance, in situations where data is not frequently updated at the database
level, and so forth. We will examine the use of static reports in subsequent
have mentioned earlier, in addition to on-demand reports, Reporting
Services allows us to execute reports in an alternative way, through the use of
subscriptions. We will look at subscription-based reporting
next, from the perspective of a standard subscription.