Managing the Report Content Using Report Manager: Part I

What is Report Manager?

Report Manager ships with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and is a web application for managing deployed reports. The features of the report manager can be divided into following  types:-

General Features:

  • Creation of folders, folder hierarchies and data sources.
  • Printing, searching, hiding, renaming, deleting ,downloading and moving the reports and data sources from one folder to another.
  • Creation of the Linked reports to reuse the existing report for the specific purpose or need.
  • Uploading reports to the report server.
  • Exporting the reports in various rendering formats such as Word, Excel ,PDF, TIFF,HTML etc.
  • Report builder for adhoc reporting using which the reports can be created and maintained on the report server.

Most developers are well versed with the general features as they are used to them in their day to day development activities. A report model can be developed using the Generate model functionality available with the data sources creation dialog box on the report manager. But this model is generated for all the tables in the data source rather than allowing the users to pick the specific tables required for model generation which can be done only through BIDS.

In my previous article on ad hoc reporting I introduced a report model using BIDS along with the report builder tool as the adhoc reporting tool

Advanced features

The advanced  features of the report manager comprise of  following:-

Security
  1. Creation of the system level and item level role definitions and Assignments of roles to the  data sources, reports as well as report folders.
Report Execution
  1. Caching of the reports in order to increase the performance of the report processing.
  2. Creation of Snapshots to maintain the report history.
  3. Subscriptions and scheduling of reports with or without data driven parameters.
  4. Creation of  shared schedules and shared data sources to make schedules and data source connections more manageable.

Security in SSRS Reports

The security  in SQL Server Reporting Services is defined at two levels namely:

1. System Level role definition

2. Item Level role definition

The system users, domain user or the group defined in the domain controller for a specific set of the users can be added to create any of the above role definitions.

System Level Role Definition

The system level role definition has two roles which are as follows:

System Administrator:

As the name suggests, the system administrator is the highest privileged role which has maximum rights to control report items. The system administrator is responsible for managing shared schedules, setting server properties, and creating system-level role assignments for other users. Very few users are assigned this role as it is has such wide ranging privilages.

System User:

The system user is a normal user with rights to view and execute the report definitions. The system user is the minimum rights role definition.

The following are the features available at the various levels and the security applicable for the items deployed on the report server.

Item Level Role Definition

Below  are the item level role definitions available with the report manager. The content manager being the highest role and browser being the lowest role in this series.

Role

Description

Browser

May view folders, reports and subscribe to reports.

Content Manager

May manage content in the Report Server.  This includes folders, reports and resources.

My Reports

May publish reports and linked reports; manage folders, reports and resources in a users My Reports folder.

Publisher

May publish reports and linked reports to the Report Server

Report Builder

May view report definitions.

Note: If you define a user as a system administrator in System Level role definition but Browser in the item level role definition that user will only be able to view reports as per the Browser rights. Take care not to mix up the role definition at two different levels. A site administrator will be responsible for creating other system roles but not the item level role definitions.

Similarly, if a user is defined as the system user and is assigned the role of the content manager then he can delete the reports or do anything with the report items as that user has the highest role defined for that user for item level role definition.

Here is the snapshot of the features  available when you click on the report item.


Figure 1:Features on the Report Item.


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