Powerful Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server
30 November 2013

Powerful Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server

Many web applications require some sort of reporting functionality. One of the most powerful frameworks for developing complex reports is Microsoft's SQL Server Reporting Service (SSRS). Webfuel web applications use SSRS to deliver complex reporting functionality for our clients.

Developing reports is quite a complex problem, and something that should be considered from the outset of a web application development project. After all there is no point in spending time and effort developing a database full of rich business information if you have no way to get the data out.  It's important to consider the kind of reports that are required. Often it's only when thinking about the desired output from a web application that all the necessary inputs come to light. If you want to get data out of an application then obviously that data needs to be put in in the first place.

There are generally three phases to report generation.  The first stage is specifying the report parameters. The second stage is taking those parameters and turning them into a query which will pull the required information from the database. The final stage is presenting this information in the format that the user wants.  We use SSRS for this final stage. 

With SSRS we can develop reports which can then be viewed on web pages (from desktop, tablet or mobile devices), or downloaded as PDFs, Excel spreadsheets or just raw data (CSV files).  This allows our users to view the information quickly and easily online, and then if necessary get the same information in a format that they can process on their own PCs using spreadsheets or other tools.

Because SSRS is powered by Microsoft's industry leading SQL Server database it can produce reports based on millions of rows of data in a matter of seconds.

We can also develop applications that allow you to schedule reports to be run at preset times, and email them out automatically. Do you need a specific sales report running every Friday afternoon, or a monthly stock control report on the last day of each month?  If so you can have these kind of reports delivered to your inbox without having to lift a finger. At the end of the day reporting is all about getting at your information with the minimum amount of fuss and effort.

Do you have data stuck in databases, or on spreadsheets, that needs to be set free with a suite of powerful reporting tools?  If so then please give us a call to discuss what we can do to help.

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