Not just viewing Reporting Services Reports on your iPad... mix and match them in dashboards

Guillermo Lopez / Thursday, January 10, 2013

There are ways to view Reporting Services reports from the iPad, no novelty there. One of the good things about ReportPlus is that not only allows viewing SSRS reports on the iPad, online and offline, but it also enables you to compose reports visually in dashboards, and it allows to use reports as a data source for further analysis. We'll begin by covering these two features of ReportsPlus, and from there we'll move on to connection configuration and parameter set up.

Composing Reports visually

When reports display related information that speaks of different aspects of one reality it can be very useful to group them visually allowing to digest at a glance different perspectives, making it easier to process that information. ReportPlus allows you to build dashboards on the iPad, and supports Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services among other data sources. This means you can create a connection to a SSRS server from your iPad and have a dashboard up and running in minutes displaying one or several reports in the same dashboard. You can do this by dragging & dropping different reports on the dashboard canvas, and compose them in tiles of different colspan and rowspan.

Ssrs compose1

Depending on the importance of the information displayed by a report you can opt to give it more screen real state by resizing the containers.

Ssrs compose2

Once you have your composition in place you can save it as a ReportPlus dashboard to revisit it yourself in the future, or to share with others.

SSRS Reports as a trampoline for further analysis

SSRS reports display data in a predefined way, as designed by the Report developer, which in some cases may be enough, while in others you may want to take the analysis further. You can do so with ReportPlus by switching to the raw data view of the report, which allows filtering, adding calculated fields, and summarizing it in a pivot table, even changing the visualization of the data stream used for the report. For instance if the report designer went for a pie chart to display some information, and you believe that was poor design and would like to switch to a column chart you can do it with just a few taps on the screen, or if the report comes in a tabular format and you want to chart based on that information you can do it. 

Ssrs trampoline2

Switching to the data view can be achieved in the General settings pane of the Pivot Editor view, in the segmented control labeled "Render".

Ssrs switchdata

Creating the connection

In order to use SSRS Reports in the dashboard authoring process you must configure a new connection, selecting Reporting Services as the data source type.  Also you must select whether the connection corresponds to a native SSRS installation, or to a SharePoint integrated instance.

Ssrs connection

Once a connection has been configured successfully, you must browse the folder structure of the SSRS server, and drag and drop the desired report to the dashboard canvas.

Ssrs drop

SSRS Reports Parameters

Once the report has been dropped in the dashboard canvas, the Pivot Editor view is displayed. In the Parameters pane of this view you are able to configure the reports’ parameters if it has any.

Ssrs params

Restrictions on the Lite version

There’s a Lite version of ReportPlus, meant for evaluation purposes, which provides the same features of the full version, but with some restrictions. In the case of SSRS connections the restrictions are that only the first page of reports is rendered, and only the first 50 rows are retrieved in the raw data mode.