SSRS Reports As User Interface

One afternoon I found myself with little extra time at the end of an assignment and decided to see if I couldn’t come up with something a little more engaging. My first experiment was to replace the existing ASP.Net report list page with a report of reports. A report with links to all of the other reports in the system. I found myself considering navigation and usability beyond the scope of the individual report. I started adding back buttons, groupings and categories as well as passing hidden parameters from report to report to preserve state, not just select specific detail in a sub-report.

I decided that I should start to use templates to standardize a look and feel for all the reports in the system. As I considered what I should include in a report template I thought about the sort of things I’d like to see as user. One idea in particular sparked an entirely new way of looking at SSRS for me. One report in our list offered a lot of parameters for users to select from, more than 20 as I recall. I reasoned that if I were using that report I’d probably pick out all the same values every time I ran it and, wouldn’t it be nice if I could save my selections so I could run it with just one click? Of course I couldn’t do that though because I’d have to save the parameters for each individual user of the system. The interface developers at the company were always busy and management wasn’t about to let them add additional work to support “nice to have” functionality in reports.

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