12 September, 2012

SSRS SharePoint Data Extension

Introduction:
Data processing extensions in Reporting Services enable you to connect to a data source and retrieve data. They also serve as a bridge between a data source and a dataset(used in SSRS )  If required custom data extensions  can be developed by using  .Net framework  and the unique extensibility architecture of Reporting Services  which enables  us to extend specific features of the product and its components.

SSRS SharePoint Data Extension is  a custom SSRS data processing extension that makes it possible to use Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services 2005 /2008 for building reports over SharePoint data . This let us build sophisticated reports over SharePoint list, library, and InfoPath and document library. This lets you leverage all the power of Microsoft's reporting platform like exporting list data in multiple formats (Excel, PDF, CSV, XML  ... image), SSRS subscriptions to deliver report to email and file system.



Benefits of Extension
·         Many organizations use SharePoint lists /libraries  to keep track of critical business processes / enterprise data  and these data can be useful  for  business analysis and reporting , un fortunately there is no  out of box  data extension in SSRS 2005/2008  to support  SharePoint as an data source. This custom data extension helps in transform your SharePoint site into a fully fledged application by building sophisticated and customized reports 
·         With the help 0f this extension  SharePoint data can be exported to other formats  , use Reporting Services features to export the data into excel , word(SSRS 2008), XML .etc
·         This provides options to configure access permission to specific SharePoint data. You can build reports that will display data from sites and lists for which users do not have permissions because report can execute using the credentials you specify and if required it can be configured to use credentials of the user running the report.
·         This extension development in one time investment with approximate efforts of 2- 3 weeks. Later can be reused in all those projects which need reports to be generated from SharePoint data.
·         This extension can be extended / customized based on business requirement with fewer efforts.
·         This data extension has can use CAML (Collaborative Application Markup Languages)to query on SharePoint data which leads to increase in performance because only selected rows and column will be fetched from SharePoint
·         This support easy to design query and let the developer concentrate on report layout design. Because it abstracts complex web service API of SharePoint from SSRS report designer
·         This also can query on SharePoint user profile data

Alternative of SSRS SharePoint Data Extension

Out of Box XML- Data Processing Extension
Disadvantages 
·         Design of complex  xml structure 
·         No intelligence support
·         Doesn't Support CAML Query ,Fetches  all the Data from List/ library
·         Unable to do  Join, Union, Group
Third Party Data Extension  like  Enesys RS Data Extension
·         Costly alternative

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