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Mike Yeager's Blog

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Arbitrary Constraints in SQl Server Reporting Services

I've been doing a lot of work with SSRS lately and am getting increasingly familiar with the product. I like it - a lot, but it does have some interesting constraints about where information is allowed to be placed on a report layout that seem to me to be arbitrary. Here are a few of my pet peeves about this V2 product that I hope will disappear in V3.

  1. You can't use data in report headers or footers or in page headers or footers. At first glance, you'd wonder why anyone would want to do this, but there are several good reasons. Most business applications store things like CompanyName and Logo in a table and it would be nice if you could do a SELECT from that table and drop the fields on your report header. Also, what about things like printing invoices where you're using pre-printed invoice paper with a space for the TO and FROM addresses at the top of each page? I don't see why SSRS imposes this limitation when other products don't. The work-arounds are messy and not 100% reliable. It seems to me from reading newsgroup postings about it that many users are upset enough to ditch the product for this reason and that Microsoft is taking the hint and might put it into a future version.
  2. Certain Global variables aren't accessible in certain places on the report. I wish I could be more specific, but I really can't - each case is individual. Globals!PageNumber is one example. Why can I only put this in the page header or footer? I have occasionally hit a circumstance where I want to put the page number in the body of the report - but I can't. I'm relatively certain that during processing, the report engine knows which page it's on. Why go out of your way to prevent this?
  3. Many of the things available in a report aren't in the expression dialog and/or don't have intellisense support. For example, ReportItems! is a list of existing report controls that can be referenced by other controls, but has to be typed in by hand. Methods and enums available in the .Net Framework are often available in expressions but many such as DateFormat.ShortDate don't show up in intellisense or show up in teh expression dialog as having syntax errors. There is also no indication as to which pieces of the .Net Framework are unavailable due to security constraints (for example, System.Environment.UserName).
  4. I understand the security implications for a report running in a web browser, but in locally rendered reports (.rdlc) should run under the same privledges as the application hosting the report. Why do locally rendered reports run as if they were running on a report server?


Posted @ 2:24 PM by Yeager, Mike E. (myeager@eps-software.com) - Comments (19)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tag! I'm it!

Markus tagged me and now it's up to me to tell you 5 things you didn't know about me. Since I'm NOT a public figure or prolific blogger like those who've come before me, that should be easy <s>.

  1. I love to fly airplanes. Truth be told, if I could fly every day I would do it in a heartbeat, but such jobs were designed for single people who can be away from home a lot. The very first airplane I ever flew was when I was a crew chief in the New Mexico Air National Guard. I got to have what they called an 'incentive ride' in an A-7K Corsair fighter plane going about 500 miles per hour. I started taking flying lessons immediately after that, but got interrupted when I moved to Taos and ran out of money. Several years later, I took it up again and learned to fly in a Cessna 172 in Alamosa Colorado (KALS). I purchased my first airplane N2326E, a Piper Tomahawk and tied it down at my home airport in Taos New Mexico (KSKX) for a couple of years and brought it with me to David Wayne Hooks airport (KDWH) when I moved to Houston. I've managed to fly about 100 hours a year over the past 3 years. Currently the plane is for sale and I hope to move up to a bigger, faster plane soon.
  2. I spent a sizeable chunk of my youth being a ski bum. Before I went on to get my BA in Computer Sicence from Rutgers, my first two years of college were spent getting a AA degree in skiing. It included sports medicine, resort management and even some on-hill classes. I've often thought of it as taking retirement early, while I was still young. It involved a lot of sunburned noses, making great friends, drinking, hitchhiking - oh yea and lots of skiing. I've skied probably 2,000 days in my life and specialized in mogul skiing on some of the steepest terrain in the world. Not exactly a career-minded path, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
  3. I don't spend much time on computers outside of work. Most everyone I know lives and breates the stuff. they're email junkies, gamers, midnight programmers and I'm not! I much prefer spending my time off with my wife and son, flying, golfing, skiing, being on the beach, hiking or almost anything else. If I didn't put in more than 40 hours every week in front of a compuer screen, I'd do it as a hobby, but I get my fill at work.
  4. I'm currently reading Janet Evonavich's novels about Stephanie Plum - Jersey Girl Bounty Hunter. My wife would read these books and laugh out loud. One day when looking for something to read, I picked one up and am now on #4 (I think there are 12 of them so far). They're page-turners and if your're from New Jersey like I am, they're hysterical. Everyone from New Jersey knows that you never go to the beach, you go "down the shore". I'm not proud of this fact but, "Whoomph, there it is!".
  5. I am the world's worst basektball player. If there were a hall of fame for this, I'd be enshrined in glory. I've always been more of an individual sport kind of guy, but even so... I've managed to be adequate at baseball, football, soccer, volleyball and recently hockey. For some reason, I can't seem to see the big picture of what's going on in any way, shape or form on a basketball court. Add to that my poor ability to dribble and shoot and you've got a disaster waiting to happen. Ever since junior high school, I've harbored a secret fear that I may one day have to play basketball again and then my secret would get out.

Tag - Now You're it! Here are the 5 people I'd like to tag...

  • David Tansey
  • John Martin
  • Sean Lee
  • Tim Locke
  • Jess Williams

Links to come...

Posted @ 10:21 AM by Yeager, Mike E. (myeager@eps-software.com) - Comments (37)

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