SSRS Training Resources

I’ve been asked to provide links to some useful resources for learning about SQL Server Reporting Services. Below are a list of my favorite blogs, books, and other sites to learn from.

A quick disclaimer, some of the links below are by co-workers or other people I have an affiliation with, financial or otherwise. That’s because I’m lucky enough to work with some of the best people in the field. Also, in the case of the books I’ve linked to the Kindle version where possible, mostly because I’m a Kindle junkie. There are paper versions of the books, and you are free to buy from your favorite retailer.

Books

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Step by Step – A great beginner book, loaded with good examples.

Pro SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services – This book goes much more in-depth with SSRS, delves into many advanced topics.

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Recipes – 2008 or 2012 version of book. This is a great book, especially if you are doing Business Intelligence reporting. Note Amazon says the 2008 version is no longer available in the US, but I’m betting you can find it in your local bookstore or from other retailers. The 2012 version is available for pre-order.

Applied Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services – Great book, like the book above covers many aspects of SSRS including BI reporting. Note Amazon only sells the paper version, you can also get it in PDF format direct from the publishers website.

Professional SQL Server 2012 Administration – I mention this book because I wrote the chapter on SQL Server Reporting Services. I don’t go deep into creating reports, although I briefly cover Report Builder. I do go into configuring SSRS and how to do scale out deployments, the total chapter is around 50 pages.

Blogs

Paul Turley – Paul is an active blogger and fellow Microsoft MVP. He is also co-author of the Reporting Services Recipes book I listed above.

Tep Lachev – An active blogger, Teo is not only a good resource for SSRS but for other BI tools such as PowerPivot. He is also author of the Applied Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services book, listed above.

Videos

Pragmatic Works Webinars – On our website we have a big catalog of past webinars (all of which are free to watch), many of which focus on SSRS.

Pluralsight – Pluralsight has an extensive catalog of courses, including some great SSRS content. It’s subscription bases so there is a modest fee (starts at $29 US per month last I checked) but well worth it for the training you can get. There’s also a free trial.

For a quick link direct to this post, you can use http://bit.ly/arcanessrs

SSAS Training Resources

I’ve been asked to provide links to some useful resources for learning about SQL Server Analysis Services. Below are a list of my favorite blogs, books, and other sites to learn from.

A quick disclaimer, some of the links below are by co-workers or other people I have an affiliation with, financial or otherwise. That’s because I’m lucky enough to work with some of the best people in the field. Also, in the case of the books I’ve linked to the Kindle version where possible, mostly because I’m a Kindle junkie. There are paper versions of the books, and you are free to buy from your favorite retailer.

Books

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services Step by Step – This is a great beginners book. If you are starting at ground zero, this is the book to start with.

Professional Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2008 with MDX – If you are looking for one book that has everything, this is it. It’s a huge book that covers pretty much everything you need to know about SSAS.

Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services – There’s one book that is universally hailed as the “experts’” book, and this is it. Be warned, this is not a beginners book. Don’t try to tackle this until you’ve had at least a little SSAS experience. But it should definitely be on your “must buy” list at some point.

Blogs

Devin Knight – My coworker Devin posts about all aspects of SQL Server BI, but his SSAS posts are ones I often refer back to, or refer others to, when learning SSAS concepts.

Marco Russo – Marco’s blog is a great source of in depth SSAS content. He’s also one a co-author of the “Expect Cube. . .” book listed above.

SSAS Info – This last link isn’t exactly a blog, but more like a blog aggregation site. It’s very useful though, and should be on your list of regularly read sites.

Videos

Pragmatic Works Webinars – On our website we have a big catalog of past webinars (all of which are free to watch), many of which focus on SSIS. 

Pluralsight – Pluralsight has an extensive catalog of courses, including some great SSAS content by Stacia Misner. It’s subscription bases so there is a modest fee (starts at $29 US per month last I checked) but well worth it for the training you can get. There’s also a free trial.

SQL Share – This site takes a new twist on videos, in that each video is very short and very focused on one specific task. 

 

For a quick link direct to this post, you can use http://bit.ly/arcanessas 

Using TFS2010 with Visual Studio / BIDS 2008 and SQL Server Management Studio

When I come to a customer site, I often have to help them get setup with TFS (Team Foundation Server) 2010, Microsoft’s source code control / ALM (application lifecycle management) system. This is so they can work with their BIDS (Business Intelligence Developer Studio) projects as a team, giving the added benefit of source code control. I’ve had to do this often enough I wanted to record the steps for my own use, and hopefully others too.

Installing the TFS 2010 tools for Visual Studio / BIDS 2008

First off, thanks to Derek Miller for covering most of the steps involved in his blog post http://derekjmiller62.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/using-tfs-2010-with-bids-2008/. I won’t go into the detail he did, but will summarize into these basic steps.

1. If you haven’t installed Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1, do so by downloading it and installing.

2. Next, you will need to install the Visual Studio 2008 Team Explorer.

3. After installing Team Explorer, you will have to go back and reinstall VS SP1 (from step 1). Don’t skip this step! Team explorer has some older components that overwrite the SP1 components, and you will have reinstall them.

Now this next part I really haven’t seen anywhere else and was a real pain to find, and thus is the main reason for this post. During the SP1 install, we often see “Visual Studio SP1 Installation Failed”. Checking the error log, buried deep you will find “Returning IDOK. INSTALLMESSAGE_ERROR [Error 2902. An internal error has occurred. …”

When you see this, go to your Control Panel, and then to Add Remove Programs. Look for a program called “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component” and uninstall it. This is actually installed as part of the Office suite, and you don’t really need it since you likely have much more powerful web authoring tools, or since you are doing BI development won’t be doing an web development in Microsoft Office.

After uninstalling it, SP1 should then install, and you are ready for step 4.

4. Install the Visual Studio Team System 2008 SP1 Forward Compatibility Update for Team Foundation Server 2010. That probably took you longer to read than it actually will to install. After installing, it may prompt you to reboot. Even if it doesn’t ask you should reboot anyway, we’ve seen a few times when we weren’t able to connect until we rebooted.

After that you should be able to go into Visual Studio and go to Tools, Connect to Team Foundation Server. If you still have problems connecting, I will refer you to Derek’s post where he describes some registry entries you can try. So far we haven’t found them necessary, but you may.

Installing the TFS 2010 Tools

Note that there is one big limitation to using TFS 2010 with VS2008. You can connect to a TFS site and upload your solutions and projects, but you can’t create a new team site with VS2008. To do so, you will need the VS2010 shell with the TFS components, a free download.

Installing TFS 2010 for SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

Now that you have BIDS all setup to work with TFS, it only makes sense to make your SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) also work with TFS. Joseph Jun has a great blog post that goes into all the nitty gritty of how to do this. The short version though, is after you install the TFS 2010 tools in the step above (and they are a prerequisite) you need to install the Team Foundation Server MSSCCI Provider 2010.

After the install, you should see a new Source Control menu option under the File menu in SSMS. From here you can launch the TFS 2010 management shell or open an existing SSMS project / solution. If you have a solution you need to add, simply right click on the solution in the Solution Explorer window and pick Add to Source Control.

Visual Studio Database Projects

Note that if you are using Visual Studio Database Projects, any SQL Server 2008R2 development must be done in Visual Studio 2010. VS2010 is already setup to talk to TFS 2010. If you are using VS 2008 database projects to build a SQL Server 2008 (non-R2) database, then with the steps above you should be good to go for checking in your database project into TFS.

And away we go!

And with that you should be setup to manage your BI Development in Team Foundation Server 2010. It’s a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Using TFS will let your BI staff work as a team to develop projects. Additionally you have the benefit of source code control, something invaluable in the case of package corruptions or needing to track history.

Task Factory–File Properties Task

My last video on the Task Factory Compression Task was well received, so I thought I’d build on it with a video on the File Properties Task. It’s a cool little tool that will grab any of the various attributes associated with a file. If you want to see more about Task Factory, you can head on over to my employers website, Pragmatic Works.com

PASS Summit 2011 Community Choice–I need your help!

Throwing out  call for help from all my friends in the tech community. My “Project Juneau” (next version of “Data Dude") session is up for a community choice slot at this falls SQL PASS summit. Five of the twenty sessions in the list will be picked for slots at this falls PASS Summit.

I would appreciate your help in getting selected! I know there are a lot of great names on the list, and so it’s a tough choice, but if you’ve seen my sessions on Data Dude (Visual Studio Database Projects) you’ll know what a powerful tool it is, and how the changes in the next version will make it even more so.

While you are there, you should also consider sending a vote for a few of my friends and co-workers. Mike Davis and Adam Jorgenson are doing a “SSIS vs T-SQL: Loading a Data Warehouse” session, and  Jorge Segarra (the infamous SQLChicken) is up for “Policy-Based Management in a Nutshell”.

You can vote at: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/SummitContent/CommunityChoice.aspx 

Deadline for votes is July 20th, so as the old saying goes “day don’t delay, vote today!”

If you are already a PASS website member voting only takes a few seconds. My session is easy to find, it’s the very first one on the list.

If you’re not a PASS member it’s quick and easy to join. Totally 100% free, just fill in the form and not only will you be able to vote for sweet little old me, but have access to great training videos and other information. And just because you may be a .Net developer don’t overlook the usefulness of good SQL Server resources. Understanding the power of SQL Server can make a huge difference in the performance of your application.

And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you, then I’ll resort to a shameless plea. It just so happens today is my birthday, and a vote for my session would make a great gift. You don’t even have to wrap it!

Data Dude Webinar for Pragmatic Works

Just wanted to let everyone know I’ll be doing my first webinar for Pragmatic Works this Thursday, June 9th 2011. It will be at 11 am Eastern time.

I’ll be doing an introduction to “Data Dude”, Visual Studio Database Projects. We’ll cover such things as generating a project from an existing database, using the safe refactoring tools, and generating sample data. There’s no cost, and I hope you can join us live so I can answer any of your questions. If you can’t, then we’ll be recording the session for later viewing. To register, jump on over to our website and register:

http://pragmaticworks.com/Resources/webinars/Default.aspx

If Data Dude isn’t your thing don’t worry, there are lots of upcoming webinars. Next week Brian Knight is doing an intro to MDX session, and Ben Evans will be doing one on Data Driven Website Design. There’s also a nice selection of already recorded past webinars available for instant viewing. And like I said, it’s all free. How cool is that!

SQL Rally – Data Dude for Devs and DBAs

I’m at SQL Rally today, presenting a spotlight session on Visual Studio Database Projects, aka Data Dude.

While the slide deck is not overly large, I did want to pass it along. You can download it from here.

Here are some of the topics we’ll be covering

–Creating a project

–Refactoring

–Deployment

–Data Creation

–Schema Comparisons

–Data Comparisons

–Unit Testing

If you are mostly interested in the links, here they are:

SQL Name Game – My example on how to generate Sample Data – http://arcanecode.com/2009/04/02/sql-server-sample-data-the-sql-name-game/

Data Dude Blog – http://blogs.msdn.com/gertd/default.aspx

VS Database Development Tools Forum – http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en/vstsdb/threads

VS Development/Database Edition Home – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/dd408380.aspx

Finally, here are the tools we’ll be using, along with links to previous versions:

Visual Studio for Database Professionals “Data Dude”

Included with VS2010 Premium and higher

Included with VS2008/2005 Professional and higher

2008 GDR2 – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=BB3AD767-5F69-4DB9-B1C9-8F55759846ED&displaylang=en

•2005 DB Pro Addon – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7de00386-893d-4142-a778-992b69d482ad&displaylang=en

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