Getting Started with SQL Server Reporting Services 2008

I’ve been working on a new presentation on SQL Server Reporting Services. Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating posts with examples on basic techniques around SSRS. Prior to beginning the posts that will follow, there are a few basic setups you will need to do. Some assumptions are:

· You have SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition SP1 installed on your PC, and are doing the labs there.

· As part of the Developer Edition install, you have installed BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio, a series of add-ons for Visual Studio).

· You are familiar with using SQL Server Management Studio.

If you are still on SQL Server 2005, the majority of the techniques demonstrated here will still work. There have been some changes between 2005 and 2008 in the layouts of the BIDS SSRS user interface that you will need to adjust to, many of the screen shots would be different under 2005.

Step 1. Download and install ContosoDW

Contoso is a fictional company created by Microsoft. Similar to AdventureWorks, it provides a repository of retail data. ContosoDW is the Data Warehouse for Contoso, optimized for analysis and reporting. You can download it from:

Once downloaded run the installer to create the ContosoDW database in your SQL Server.

Step 2. Create and run the custom scripts for this lab.

There are a series of scripts needed to create the custom views and tables the labs will be reporting from. The easiest way to get them is to download the complete SQL Server Management Studio project along with all the sample labs and other documentation at my Code Gallery site:

Step 3. Open BIDS and create a reporting services project.

Open BIDS. (Start, All Programs, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio).

Once in BIDS, create a new project. Under project type select “Business Intelligence Projects”, then Report Server Project Wizard”.

Step 4. Setup the shared data source.

To make the transition of reports from development to test to production easier, BIDS allows you to setup a shared data source. The reports can point to this data source, then as the reports migrate among environments all that is needed is to point this shared data source at the appropriate database.

4.1 Right click on the Data Source branch in Solution Explorer and select “Add New Data Source”.

4.2 Click Next to go past the opening screen of the wizard.

4.3 On the next screen you will need to define the connection. Click New, and it will let you fill out a common dialog to create the database connection string. Do so, creating a connection to the ContosoDW database. Once it is in the Data Connections area, highlight it and click Next.

4.4 Give the data source a good name. For this lab I am simply using “Contoso”.

Ready set go!

At this point you should have the basics completed and are ready to start creating reports. Stay tuned to future posts to see a variety of techniques for SSRS.


14 thoughts on “Getting Started with SQL Server Reporting Services 2008

  1. I downloaded the databases Contoso BI Demo Dataset for Retail Industry and tried to restore them. I get the error message about data compression and vardecimal storage are only supported on SQL server enterprise edition. We don’t have enterprise edition. I suspect others are running into the same problem. I was so looking forward to using you tutuorials.

  2. Jim,

    When I created this series my assumption was folks would be running the SQL Server Developer Edition, which essentially is Enterprise Edition but designed to just run on a local workstation. You might check with your IT department to see if they can install a copy on your machine, or if you are on your own Amazon sells it for less than $50 US.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s