SQL Server 2016 RC1: What’s new in Reporting Services

UPDATESQL Server 2016 is now available.

Just a couple of weeks since we released SQL Server 2016 RC0, we have another preview release with several updates for you to try. SQL Server 2016 RC1 contains a bunch of enhancements to Reporting Services, culminating in the first relatively “feature-complete” preview release of SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services.

Since there’s quite a lot new in RC1, we’ll provide an overview in today’s post and dive deeper over the coming days.

A modern web portal by default

In CTP 3.2, we introduced the first preview of a brand-new Reporting Services web portal alongside the classic Report Manager. With each preview release since, we’ve been lighting up more and more functionality. With new features like key performance indicators (KPIs) and Favorites, the new site is your personalized portal into the metrics, trends, and reports that matter to you. Plus, it’s designed from the outset for modern browsers and built from the ground up on HTML5.

With RC1, the new web portal is “feature-complete” and replaces Report Manager.

Among the features we’ve recently added is search. Just enter a search term and we’ll search everything you can access and categorize the results into KPIs, reports, datasets, and other items:

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With RC0, we enabled you to subscribe to a report to have it delivered to your email inbox on a schedule. Now, with SQL Server Enterprise Edition, you can create data-driven subscriptions as well. Whereas a standard subscription generates and delivers one report, a data-driven subscription generates and delivers one report for each row in a dataset. For example, you could have it execute a query to return a list of people who have work assigned to them and then deliver a personalized report to each person with their assigned tasks.

Reflect your organization’s brand

Many of you have sought a way to customize the look-and-feel of Report Manager to reflect your organization’s brand, so we wanted you to have that ability with the new web portal. We took the popular custom branding feature from Datazen and made it even better; now you can easily customize the web portal with your organization’s name, logo, and colors:

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Want to customize your web portal? Stay tuned for an upcoming post to learn how.

Embed reports in other apps

Want to embed a report in a SharePoint page, web page, or app? Now it’s easier than ever. Open the report in the web portal:

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Take a look at the address in your browser’s address bar – in this example,

https://reportserver/reports/mobilereport/Marketing%20Scorecard

Append rs:Embed=true like so:

https://reportserver/reports/mobilereport/Marketing%20Scorecard?rs:Embed=true

And now you have an embedding-optimized view of the report without the web portal header and menus:

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Just insert that address into an HTML iframe in your web page or app and you have an embedded report. This feature works with both mobile and paginated reports, and for the latter, you can specify report parameter values as well.

Create enhanced KPIs and mobile reports

We’ve made a number of enhancements to KPIs and mobile reports. Namely,

  • You can now bind KPIs and mobile reports to shared datasets that have parameters.
  • When you bind a KPI value to a dataset field, you can now summarize the field values (sum, average, min, max, etc.).
  • You can now design KPIs and mobile report visualizations to “drill through” to more details, navigating either to another mobile report or to a custom URL.

KPI

Make sure to install the latest Mobile Report Publisher preview to use these new features and to work with your RC1 report server.

Design modern paginated reports

Designing modern paginated reports is easier than ever with the latest Report Builder preview. We’ve overhauled the default styles for tables, charts, gauges, maps, and other data visualizations so they look beautifully modern without any extra effort.

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Do more in any modern browser

From developing a brand-new web portal, to emitting report content in HTML5, to replacing the printing feature with one that doesn’t use an ActiveX plugin, we’ve invested heavily in optimizing for modern browsers, and in RC1, we’ve made a few more improvements to ensure we’re delivering a first-class experience across Edge, Internet Explorer 10+, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

When you want to create or edit a report, it’s nice to be able to open Report Builder – a desktop app – right from the web portal.

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Previously, this feature depended on ClickOnce technology, which works well in Internet Explorer but not across the broader range of modern browsers. With RC1, we have a new approach that doesn’t use ClickOnce and works cross-browser. You’ll need to install an updated version of Report Builder, and this dialog can help you do so:

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Plus, you can now open Mobile Report Publisher this way as well.

Meanwhile, with our new HTML renderer for your existing paginated reports, we can enable features that previously depended on Internet Explorer so they work across other browsers as well. In Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, you can now zoom into and out of reports, and in Safari in particular, where you used to have to type date values into report parameters, you can now use the calendar control:

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More to come

Stay tuned for a series of posts over the coming days as we dive deeper into some of these new features.

Try it now and send us your feedback