Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reporting Services 2008 Configuration Mistake

To start working with the management side of SQL Server Reporting Services 2008, I decided to set up a report server and report manager. Unfortunately, I made a mistake while setting up my configuration that left me a little perplexed. Here are the steps I took to cause, track down, and solve the issue.

I began by opening the Reporting Services Configuration Manager from the Start Menu. I clicked through each of the menu options and accepted the defaults for any question with a warning symbol, since warning symbol typically designate an action item. After two minutes, all of the warning symbols had disappeared, and I was ready to begin managing my report server. Unfortunately, opening up a browser and trying to open up the report manager resulted in the dreaded "The report server has encountered a configuration error. (rsServerConfigurationError)" message.

Sherlock-ing it:
I put on my sleuthing hat and went to the log file directory: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\LogFiles. Under the latest ReportServerService*.log, there was the following error: "Message: No DSN present in configuration file". Looking at the file: C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\ReportServer\rsreportserver.config proved the error message true, as right at the top of my log file was the empty Dsn tag.

Looking in Books Online under the RSReportServer Configuration article, I discovered that the Dsn property contains a connection to the report server database. That's odd, I don't remember creating that connection...

I returned to the scene of the crime, the Configuration Manager. Sure enough, the third warning-less menu option allows you to set up the connection to either an existing report server database or create a new one for this instance. I filled in the appropriate information, and took a look back at the configuration file. This time, the Dsn tag contains a beautifully encrypted blob of information. The report manager works, and I am ready to manage my reports! The moral of this story is to read the directions before clicking through configuration managers, don't trust warning icons or lack thereof, and don't forget that Reporting Services needs to know what database to use. :)

Version: SQL Server 2008 RC0

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where is my Data Tab?

I’ve recently had the pleasure of diving into Reporting Services 2008 RC0, and I’m amazed at the difference in the design environment from SSRS 2000/2005! To give a comparison of the designer, I took a look at the BIDS Reporting Services project. Overall, I think this version is more slick and more user-friendly (once I find everything again :) ) than its predecessor.

To begin, there is no longer a Data tab in the main frame of the design environment. You can find your DataSets and Fields on the “Report Data” window on the left side of your designer. If you lose your Report Data window, click the View menu > Report Data, or just select Ctrl-Alt-D. Also joining the new Report Data family are Report Parameters, originally found on the Report menu, and Fields, originally on its own window.

A look at the new RS would be remiss without mentioning the new Tablix control. From the toolbox, you still select a Table, Matrix, or List control, but these are templates for the Tablix control that provide you with the expected layout. As soon as that control has landed on your Design window, the properties and group menus look the same. In fact, the menu option to view properties is labeled “Tablix Properties…”. It is easy to see how the rows and columns are utilized from the icons displayed to the left or top of the textboxes.

Instead of Groups being included in the properties window of each control, they are now displayed on the report itself. This option can be toggled by right-clicking on the report and selecting View > Grouping. By selecting the desired control in your design window, you can immediately see the groups for that control.

All of the property windows have been overhauled. Is it just me, or do the new property windows remind you of the Dundas Controls property windows?

I’ll be posting more thoughts and trials on Reporting Services 2008 as I dig deeper into the new system!

Version: SQL Server 2008 RC0

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Software Development Meme

I've been tagged with the Software Development meme, courtesy of Andy Leonard. And, we're off!

How old were you when you first started programming?
I was 13 years old in the eighth grade. I took an Introduction to Programming class with an amazing teacher. Thanks to Mr. Creasy, I've been hooked ever since.

How did you get started in programming?
My father was a computer programmer, so I guess I come by it naturally. I used to help my teachers work their classroom computers in elementary school, and then tried my hand at programming in middle school.

What was your first language?
BASIC. Not VB.Net. Not Visual Basic. Just BASIC. How many Millennials can say that? ;)

What was the first real program you wrote?
Hello world... Or something along those lines that was pretty simple.

What languages have you used since you started programming?
BASIC, C++, Java, C#, VB.NET, ASP.NET, T-SQL, MDX... others I'm sure...

What was your first professional programming gig?
My first job was a consultant at a custom software development firm. I was fortunate enough to dabble in all sorts of different languages, but the first project that was entirely my own was creating Reporting Services reports to analyze sales data. Do you think they knew something about where I'd end up? ;)

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Definitely. I originally fell in love with programming because of the logic. A + B = C and such... With time, I realized that programming is more of an art. Who knows what my next revelation on programming will be?

If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
You can't know everything. Always learn and always ask questions. If you think you know everything and you have nothing left to learn, find another job.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had ... programming?
Hmm… college all nighters with copious amounts of mountain dew and loud music… Working on teams of people where everyone just meshes and the final program is just beautiful… That final “Ah ha” moment when something just clicks… Oh, I can’t decide!

Who are you calling out?
Trying to find people on my blog list that haven't yet been tagged!

Rushabh Mehta
Wes Dumey
Andy Warren