Get more done in the new Reporting Services web portal with SQL Server 2016 RC0

UPDATESQL Server 2016 is now available.

With each preview release, we’re lighting up more and more functionality in the brand-new Reporting Services web portal. Today, you can download SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate 0 (RC0) and try the latest preview for yourself. Let’s take a look at how you can get more done in this preview.

In case you missed it…

Back in October at PASS Summit 2015, we communicated our roadmap and unveiled what we’ve been working on. We’re adding mobile reports (reports optimized for mobile devices) to the Reporting Services platform along with a brand-new web portal – some of the most major enhancements to Reporting Services (Native mode) in years. Just weeks later (and just in time for the holidays), we released our first preview.

SQL Server 2016 RC0 includes the third preview of that brand-new web portal.

Note that there are a few temporary limitations in this particular preview release:

  • You might need to update your report server configuration to enable the new web portal. Be sure to read the Release Notes.
  • When installing a new instance of Reporting Services, you need to choose to “install and configure” Reporting Services; you can’t choose “install only” during setup and create/attach the report server database later.
  • You can configure a single report server, but you can’t configure a scale-out report server farm.

Deliver reports to your email inbox

Many Reporting Services users use the Subscriptions feature to monitor important business metrics and trends. With Subscriptions, you can subscribe to a report and Reporting Services will deliver it to your email inbox every day, every week, or on whatever schedule you choose. Alternatively, you can deliver the report to a different email address, such as a distribution group for your team, or to a different type of destination, such as a network share.

With RC0, you can now create and manage these subscriptions in the new web portal.

Email

Make sure to enable email delivery using Reporting Services Configuration Manager.

Pin to a dashboard in a Power BI Group

Delivering reports to your email inbox is one way to stay in the know, but if you’re using Power BI as well – and more and more people are – Power BI dashboards offer another option and a great way to monitor important metrics and trends in one place at a glance. In an earlier preview release, we introduced the ability to pin charts, gauges, maps, and images from your existing, on-premises Reporting Services reports to a dashboard in your Power BI workspace. Now you can pin those visuals to a dashboard in a Power BI Group as well.

Pin to Group

Reporting Services will automatically create the subscription that’ll keep your dashboard tile up-to-date.

Manage data caching and refresh

Not all data sources and reports are created equal. Sometimes, reporting on up-to-the-minute information is critical, and if you have a reasonably fast database and fast queries, you might want to always run a report against the “live” data. Other times, if you have a slow database or just a particular query that takes a while and you don’t really need up-to-the-minute information, you might want to cache the data so your report still runs quickly. Occasionally, you might want to ensure a report runs only against a “snapshot” of data at a particular moment in time, such as at the end of a fiscal quarter.

Reporting Services supports all of these options and we’ve added them to the new web portal, but as we did in CTP 3.3, we wanted to take the opportunity to apply what we’ve learned from your feedback, Microsoft Support cases, and usability studies to make the product easier to use.

In classic Report Manager, you saw this page to manage these options:

RM Processing Options

You saw a slew of options, which was deceiving since many of them didn’t apply to your current choices.

In the new web portal, you’ll see a dramatically simpler page with just three options:

Caching 1

Even as you choose one of the more advanced options, the page adjusts to show you relevant settings:

Caching 2

You have exactly the same functionality as before – it’s just easier to use.

More to come

With this preview of the new web portal, you can do a few more things in addition to the ones above, such as manage shared datasets and create “linked” reports (variations of a report with different default parameter values). You might still need to switch to classic Report Manager for the occasional task, but we’re working on lighting up more and more functionality in the new web portal, so stay tuned to this blog.

Try it now and send us your feedback