An analysis of the main new features in SQL Server Reporting Services 2016
Part three of a six-part series of blogs

Microsoft have put a lot of effort into SSRS 2016, including completely rewriting Report Manager (it's now called Web Portal) and creating separate software for publishing reports to mobiles. There are lots of new features to contemplate!

  1. What's new in Reporting Services 2016 (SSRS 2016)
  2. SSRS 2016 - the basic user interface for creating reports
  3. Report Manager becomes Reporting Services Web Portal (this blog)
  4. Mobile Report Publisher in Reporting Services 2016
  5. Report Builder 4 (Report Builder for SSRS 2016)
  6. Other new features in Reporting Services 2016

This is part of a wide-ranging blog explaining the new features in every part of SQL Server 2016.

Posted by Andy Brown on 11 July 2016

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Report Manager becomes Reporting Services Web Portal

This is the single biggest new feature of SSRS 2016!

Report Manager versus RS Web Portal

Just as a reference point for where SSRS 2016 is coming from, here's the web-based interface for running reports up to 2014:

Report Manager

Report Manager was primitive, and difficult to customise.

Report Manager has now been changed to Reporting Services Web Portal, bringing SSRS into the SmartPhone age:

Web Portal

Just about everything has changed!

Behind the scenes - HTML 5

As a quick summary, Microsoft have removed lots of Microsoft-specific features, and made SSRS reports compliant with current web standards.  The main difference is that SSRS no longer uses SilverLight, but instead is written using HTML 5.  Here's how an old report began:

SSRS 2012 report

What reports looked like behind the scenes in old versions of SSRS.

Compare this with a 2016 report:

Web portal report

The HTML is completely different - and more modern.

One implication of this is that - finally - SSRS is now browser-independent (the web portal screen shot above was taken from Firefox).

Responsive design for mobiles

Remarkably, you can also download additional software to render reports easily viewable on mobile phones and tablets:

Mobile Report Publisher

This menu is at the top right of Web Portal.

 

This takes you to this screen:

Downloading mobile report publisher

The description says it all!

See the next part of this blog for more on Mobile Report Publisher.

Editing data sources

Editing data sources in Web Portal is so much cleaner and easier than it used to be:

Editing a data source

Just a tad better than the same feature in Report Manager ...

Favourites

You can now create a Favorites reports screen;

Saving a report as a favourite

A solution to report proliferation.

Report descriptions, parameters and other properties

You can now give reports descriptions:

Report properties

This screen is SUCH an improvement!

Report parameters

The parameter editing box is a joy to behold:

Parameters

It's hard to see how Microsoft could have made this any better.

Subscription improvements

Here's how you now create a subscription:

Creating a subscription

You can share schedules between subscriptions, and the facility for entering parameter values is much clearer (yes, that drop down list will give a list of possible parameter values!).

The scheduler is a bit better too:

Scheduling a subscription

As you see from this, every part of Report Manager has been rewritten from scratch.

 

You can also now disable and enable subscritpions:

Enabling subscriptions

And search for them too ...

 KPIs

The new SSRS web portal allows you to set key performance indicators:

KPI

A rather weird KPI based on the average length of films in our table.

Note that there's a bug in SSRS 2016 (first release edition) which stops you deploying a shared dataset - I had to use the workaround here so that I could reference this shared dataset for my KPI.

Branding your web portal

It's now much easier to customise the reports front end to your corporate colours, logo, etc:

Brand package

You can create and then upload a "brand package".

You can see more details of how to create your own brand package here.

You won't need to know anything about CSS style sheets, but nor is it a point-and-click wizard either.

Searching

You can now search for the report, subscription, KPI or data you want to find:

Web portal search

Just type in what you want to search for and press Enter.

 

 

All very impressive!  And that's before we now look at Mobile Report Publisher in more detail ... 

 

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