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Thread: [RESOLVED] Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

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    Resolved [RESOLVED] Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I have been working on a Program for a few weeks and I'm getting close to begin to start getting reports to print. Unfortunately I have never done this I would appreciate a nudge in the correct direction to go. Where to get the information to readup on this or areas you may know where I should be looking . I am using Microsoft Visual Studio Community 2017 does it have the tools I need to do reports from my SQL database?

    Any help would be great I don't mind the reading and testing to get this done but I could use a push in the right way
    thanks

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    Posting on forums shouldn't be your first stop for information like this. As you'd expect, you could narrow down the parameters quickly and easily with a simple web search. Then you could ask specific questions if required rather than "please tell me what I don't want to have to search for for myself". As for what VS supports, you can take at that for yourself too. I just ran the VS installer, clicked Modify and then selected the Individual Components tab and just looked down the list. There at the bottom are to components with Report or Reporting in the title, so they are obvious candidates. That took me less than a minute. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't use sites like this one but you really ought look first and ask questions later. Being able to find the information you need is a key skill for a developer so it's one that you should practice.
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    Is it possible my version does not have the reporting you mentioned I loaded the installer and checked the individual unit twice I saw nothing about report or reporting. Mine is 2017 community version?

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I don't have access to the Community installer so I can't check for sure. I've attached an screenshot of my Professional installer so just confirm that you do or don't have access to those same items.

    If you don't have those items then you may still be able to install this extension:

    https://marketplace.visualstudio.com...alStudio-18001

    I already have that installed and I assume that it was installed as a result of my selecting one or both of those items in the installer. Note what it says there about still needing the Report Viewer NuGet package in a project that needs to display reports. Maybe that package gets added automatically if you add a report to your project but, if not, you'll have to add it yourself.
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    There are a whole bunch of different tools you could be using but probably the most accessible (and the one that JM is steering you towards) is "SQL Server Reporting Services" (commonly known as SSRS). There are two basic ways you can use it:-
    1. Embedded - you build a report and embed it in your web page or windows form. The extension Jm has linked to is what you want if that's the way you want to go.
    2. Hosted - you set up a report server (which is basically a specialised web server) and all your reports are accessed directly on there as web pages. That probably sounds a bit complicated but is actually quite straight forward with nice easy to follow wizards that will set it all up for you. If that's what you want you need "SQL Server Data Tools". I can't remember if it comes with the community edition of Visual Studio or not but it definitely comes with the community editions of SQL Server (which are free, just like visual studio) or you can download it from here.

    Jm is steering you towards option 1 which is a decent choice but my own preference would be for option 2 because it's a bit more flexible (you can put a hosted report on a web page or form but you can't easily take a report that's designed to be embedded and host it on a report server).
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    There are a whole bunch of different tools you could be using but probably the most accessible (and the one that JM is steering you towards) is "SQL Server Reporting Services" (commonly known as SSRS). There are two basic ways you can use it:-
    1. Embedded - you build a report and embed it in your web page or windows form. The extension Jm has linked to is what you want if that's the way you want to go.
    2. Hosted - you set up a report server (which is basically a specialised web server) and all your reports are accessed directly on there as web pages. That probably sounds a bit complicated but is actually quite straight forward with nice easy to follow wizards that will set it all up for you. If that's what you want you need "SQL Server Data Tools". I can't remember if it comes with the community edition of Visual Studio or not but it definitely comes with the community editions of SQL Server (which are free, just like visual studio) or you can download it from here.

    Jm is steering you towards option 1 which is a decent choice but my own preference would be for option 2 because it's a bit more flexible (you can put a hosted report on a web page or form but you can't easily take a report that's designed to be embedded and host it on a report server).
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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    If the database for your application is SQL Server hosted on a server with Reporting Services installed (SQL Server Express is free and supports Reporting Services I believe) then option 2 (server reports) is practical and likely best. I believe that Reporting Services works with databases other than SQL Server too, although I've never used it with one. If you're dealing with local data though, e.g. an Access database or an MDF file deployed with your app, then option 1 (client reports) is the better option. The good news is that the design of the reports is basically the same in both cases but the bad news is that they are stored in different file types (RDL for server reports and RDLC for client reports) so, as suggested, switching is not as easy as you might think.
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I believe that Reporting Services works with databases other than SQL Server too
    It does. Basically any ODBC source or derivative (OLEDB etc) is good. Most major platforms (Oracle, MySQL etc) have a dedicated driver but, to be honest, I almost always find myself using the ODBC or OLEDB components.

    ^That's a great summary of the options, though, and much better worded than mine.

    The big difference between the approaches is that for client reports you build a dataset in your application code and pass it to the report whereas, with server reports, you put the query into the report definition itself. You can port reports back and forward between the two but it's a pain.
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    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I believe that Reporting Services works with databases other than SQL Server too
    It does. Basically any ODBC source or derivative (OLEDB etc) is good. Most major platforms (Oracle, MySQL etc) have a dedicated driver but, to be honest, I almost always find myself using the ODBC or OLEDB components.

    ^That's a great summary of the options, though, and much better worded than mine.

    The big difference between the approaches is that for client reports you build a dataset in your application code and pass it to the report whereas, with server reports, you put the query into the report definition itself. You can port reports back and forward between the two but it's a pain.
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I have spent hours trying to install the Rdlc designer But it never shows up anywhere in my VB system. I says its installed by the installer program. but when trying to find it in the NET.Framework Components it does not show up. Does this mean my version can not do reports? 2017 Community

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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    Just Google "how to add rdlc report in visual studio 2017"

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    The report designer itself shouldn't show up, just like the form designer doesn't show up. You should add a new item to your project and select a report. That report will then open in the report designer, just as adding a new form opens it in the form designer.
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    Re: Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    Ok I was expecting to find the information on the report in my toolbox. My error. I have found the report as a new item as add new Item. and I have chosen report under common items. I will try to figure out how to use this before I bother you all again. I will mark this and the other thread as resolved until I need additional help.
    Thanks for putting up with an Old Guy

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    .NUT jmcilhinney's Avatar
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Help to get started to do reports from data stored with SQL Express

    I was mistaken in my assumption earlier. I looked at the VS installer on my laptop and it did not have those items in the Uncategorized section. I ran the installer from the link I provided in post #4 and checked the installer again and one of them was there. It appears that I must have installed those items independently and that was why they were listed on my desktop machine. I should have realised because I know that the Reporting Services Projects item is from an installer I ran separately. That said, I did find the extension I linked to earlier with a web search, so it wasn't too hard to find. I apologise but not quite whole-heartedly.

    By the way, you shouldn't need that other extension unless you plan to use server reports, in which case it allows you to create a project specifically for them.
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