Reporting Services allows you to write functions in C# or Visual Basic, then reference these as custom assemblies. This blog shows how - and why - you might do this.
- Creating Custom Assemblies in Reporting Services
- Creating a Project, Class and Function in VB or C#
- Create and Deploy the Code DLL
- Referencing and Using Custom Assemblies in Reports
- Post-Build Events to Help Deployment (this blog)
- Debugging Custom Assemblies
Posted by Andy Brown on 03 August 2012 | 6 comments
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Post-Build Events to Help Deployment
Sooner or later (probably sooner) you'll get sick of copying DLL files from your class library to your report server projects, and you'll start wondering why Visual Studio can't copy the files for you automatically. The answer is that it can, if you set up post-build events.
A post-build event is one which is triggered automatically whenever you build a project.
Creating Post-Build Events for C# Class Libraries
If you're coding custom assemblies in C#, first display the properties of your project:
Right-click on the Properties category of the project in Solution Explorer, and choose to open it.
Now choose to create a post-build event:
- Choose Build Events.
- Click in the post-build event command line.
- Click on the Edit Post-build... button.
These steps are shown below:
The numbered steps to follow to start creating post-build events.
Now build up the commands that you want to run:
- Start typing a valid command.
- Click on the <><> button to insert preset folder paths.
- Click on the folder path you want to use.
Here are the numbered steps:
The steps to follow to create post-build events.
When you've finished, select OK to review your post-build event command line:
These commands are given in full below.
The commands above are:
|Command||What it will do|
|copy /y "$(TargetPath)" "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies"||Copy the DLL built for the project to the Visual Studio report preview folder on the author's computer.|
|copy /y "$(TargetPath)" "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10_50.SQL2008R2\Reporting Services\ReportServer\bin"||Copy the DLL built for the project to the deployment folder on the author's computer.|
The /y switch means that SSRS will overwrite any files on the target folder.
Creating Post-Build Events for VB Class Libraries
The procedure for Visual Basic is nearly the same. First display the project's properties:
First right click on the VB class library project, and choose to display its properties.
Choose the Compile tab:
Click on this tab to go to post-build events.
You can now go to the project's post-build events:
Click on the button shown at the bottom right of the dialog box.
From this point, you can continue as for C# post-build events.
Things to Watch Out For
There is one thing which catches me out every time!
If you're previewing a report using a custom assembly, you won't be able to build the project (if it's using post-build events to copy the DLL over, that is) until you return to design view for the report.
This blog has 6 comments
CAN you handle events like printing? If you add a comment giving a summary of what you mean, or a link to a relevant website, I'll certainly consider this. There's always more to learn about SSRS!
If anyone can improve on this, please add your penn'orth!
You could create a true/false (Boolean) report variable whose expression would be set to the value of a custom assembly function (which could look at the Oracle database). The value of this variable would be calculated once only, when the report first loads. You could then set the visibility of all relevant parts of the report to be the value of this variable.
Not for the faint-hearted - you'll need to learn about custom assemblies and report variables - but it should work OK!
Great question - rubbish answer coming up! When I'm training on SQL or SSRS, I always emphasise that there is one area I can't help with: security. I too tear my hair out with problems like this. The only thing I can suggest is copying your question to StackExchange or a similar site. Unless any other readers can help?
First and foremost, a great big THANK YOU to you and your team for your blogs and youtube videos...they are truly appreciated!! i've learned a great deal from them and your teaching methods are straightforward and thorough and easy to understand. i am actually considering coming to UK to take one of your courses in person!
I have a report uses a de-normalized table for the data. i created the table using data from 6 different business sections within our company, and because of this not all sections have data in all fields. for example, fields 'category' and 'type' have data for Membership, but for Certification there is data in 'category' only. my objective is to write custom code that allows for 'optional' columns on the report if data exists in the 'category' and 'type' fields. is this possible? i know i'll need custom code to accomplish this, but first i need to know if it's even possible.
By the way, i'm only 9 months into my SQL/SSRS career, and i am primarily self-taught (with your help, of course!!) - the fact that i'm even thinking of tackling something complex like this is a tribute to your teaching...the possibilities are endless!! :)
I'll be honest and admit I don't fully understand what you're trying to achieve, but I would have thought you could do it without any custom code. Couldn't you right-click on a column of your report and set the column visibility to be an expression depending on the underlying data fields? If you do have to use custom code, I am convinced that ANYTHING is possible!
"Error while loading code module: 'SSRSFunctions, Version=22.214.171.124, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null'. Details: could not load file or assembly 'SSRSFunctions, Version=126.96.36.199, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null' or one of it's dependencies. The system could not find the file specified"
Obviously the above error indicates that SSRS cannot find my assembly, however I followed your directions to the letter. I have my SSRSFunction.dll in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSRS10_50.MSSQLSERVER\Reporting Services\ReportServer\bin folder and am referencing this file in my .rdl file, so I'm at a loss here.
Any ideas what else might be causing this?
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