Six improvements to Reporting Services in 2016

Posted on 13 October 2015

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on the latest version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), its popular reporting tool and a long-standing part of the SQL Server suite. These are the first significant changes to SSRS since the 2008 release of SQL Server, and the new version is being welcomed by many.

We think these improvements give Microsoft’s reporting workhorse a new lease on life, and SSRS will continue to be popular in areas where the new kid on the reporting block, PowerBI, is less suitable – particularly with regard to static reporting scenarios.

SSRS is ideally suited to traditional structured reports with pre-defined queries and drill downs. It is commonly used for tasks like generating invoices, schedules and table style reports. Reports can be generated on demand or scheduled to run. Reports can be exported to file or sent by email as a PDF. SSRS can be implemented as stand-alone solution or in SharePoint integrated mode.

Key features of SSRS 2016 include:

  • Cross-browser compatibility. Until now, SSRS was only fully compatible with Internet Explorer and even then, only with specific versions. In SSRS 2016, reports render consistently across all modern browsers, including Internet Explorer 9 and later, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Windows 10’s Edge.
  • Report themes and granular control of presentation. Modern report themes and chart types are available, but more importantly, with support for CSS, developers have more control over how reports look.
  • Integration with Power BI. SSRS reports are accessible via Power BI, Microsoft’s rapidly growing cloud business intelligence platform.
  • Better support for mobile devices. With support for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, SSRS reports render on a variety of mobile devices so users can interact with reports from just about anywhere.
  • Parameters have major overhaul. Historically support for report parameters was fairly basic – think simple text boxes and drop down lists. In the 2016 release, report users have far more control over the visual layout of parameters.
  • New look for Report Builder. Designed for power users as opposed to developers, Report Builder continues to be part of Microsoft’s strategy to bring business intelligence to business users. This latest version sees a visual refresh in line with Office 2016.

SSRS 2016 is free with all editions of SQL Server 2016, and is currently in Community Technical Preview 2.4. The release date for general availability hasn't be announced at this stage.

If you'd like to learn more about SSRS 2016 and how to take advantage of the new capabilities, contact Peter.


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