Category Archives: T-SQL


Top 4 Quotes For Report Developers

Top 4 Quotes For Report Developers

Before I start into the quotes, I want to let you know about something I’m trying for 2015. I have committed myself to writing at least one blog post per month. As a personal incentive, if I fail to post, I will give away one copy of the new “Pro T-SQL Programmer’s Guide, 4th edition” –Miguel Cebollero to the first person to call me out on it by commenting on my previous month’s post. If I reach my goal and post at least once each month, I’ll give away one copy in a random drawing of those who have written at least one (relevant) comment to one of my 2015 posts.

Now, to the quotes. I am a big movie and book fan and often wonder if the quotes I cite to folks are lost on them or if they “get” my references. So I thought it might be fun to explain a few of my favorites. I’m sure if you’ve ever written a report once you read these, even if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, you’ll get them.

Counting down from number 4:

As the saying goes, “If you had an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters, you could have the entire works of Shakespeare in no time.” I throw this one out there any time a question of data quality comes up. Sure, you just might have the entire works of Shakespeare, some unimaginable gems hiding in your data, but you also have so much junk that it would take you an eternity to find them. Still as report writers, we are expected to present that gem, and ONLY that gem in a report that has more exception criteria than results!

Querying Active Directory From SSRS to secure reports and enhance the user experience

Querying Active Directory From SSR

Querying Active Directory From SSRS

Thanks to everyone who stopped out to the Tampa SQL BI user’s group last night to hear my presentation on Querying Active Directory From SSRS. Here is the link to download the Power Point. Click Here to download. Be sure to join us next month for Bryan Bennett’s presentation of Service Broker.

If you haven’t already, visit the Tampa SQL BI User’s Group site and register for updates to learn about everything our chapter will be doing in the coming months. Click Here.

Your Data Quality Is Crap (and no one cares)

Your Data Quality is Crap (and no one cares)
Having just started with a new company last week, I’ve been reflecting on the positions I’ve held over the years and thinking about what causes me to categorize them as good or bad jobs.
Some I value because of the people I worked with. Some, it was an exceptional compensation package or career opportunity that I remember most. But when I’m forced to name the best job I’ve held over the past 20 years, none of those factors play into my calculations. As the title of this post suggests, you’d be right to guess that data quality was the best I have experienced in my professional career, at a job I held for only a short time, yet had a lasting effect on me.

A quick side note, I’m planning to make this topic a series, and this first post is going to set the groundwork for, what I hope becomes a dialog on the topic of data quality. So if you are looking for technical insight you may want to skip ahead to the as yet unwritten follow-ups to this post.

It was 2001, I had a couple programming jobs under my belt and was hired to write part of the web interface for a law enforcement site. The company…

ITProCamp 2013 Is this Saturday, register today!

logoITProCamp 2013

Just a quick reminder before you set your weekend plans. This Saturday will be ITProCamp 2013, October 26, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT). At Keiser University 5002 West Waters Avenue
Tampa, FL 33634. This is a free event, but please register at:

I will be presenting an introduction to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).

SSRS Reports As User Interface Part II

SSRS Reports As User Interface
Last week I explained how I came to use SSRS Reports as user interface. This week I’ll discuss how I was able to very quickly provide users with an administrative console to adjust the configuration of a web based application using only Reporting Services and SQL Server.

Before I begin, I should probably point out that what I’m about to describe is pretty far off the beaten path for Reporting Services. Security, usability and support are all legitimate concerns that would need to be justified before I would recommend anyone else taking this approach. However, given the right set of circumstances that I don’t believe are all that extraordinary, you might find this useful.

The first question you might have is, “Why would I want to do this? If I have SSRS installed in my environment, wouldn’t I also have IIS, ASP.Net, VB.Net and or C# available to create a proper UI?.” My answer is yes, you most likely would and those are far better tools. However, in my case the company did not allow anyone outside of the development group to make enhancements to the product and without a request from the business group, new features rarely saw the light of day, or even budget consideration.

Your next concern might be, “So you are telling me the connection I use for my reports is going to be inserting and updating data? You are crazy! Security would have my badge and laugh me out of the building.” Again, I would say you are probably correct. If your report users log into the Report Manager and have admin privileges, with this kind of access they have the potential to do some harm. In the cases I am about to describe though, I have exposed only read and execute SQL privileges to my report user connection and have complete control over stored procedures in the database. Yes, if a devious employee had access to upload an RDL AND knew the names and usage of stored procedures in the system, they could alter data in unintended ways.

SSRS Reports As User Interface

SSRS Reports As User Interface

Shortly after starting to work with SQL Server Reports (SSRS) and getting a feel for what they could do as singular presentations of summary and detailed information, I started to consider more elaborate systems presenting suites of reports and a customized user experience. Much of my experience with SSRS has been to present reports through the ASP.Net report viewer control, and that is what sparked my interest in using reports as a user interface.

At the onset of a typical assignment I would be presented with the existing work which would be a list of links to an ASP page that would render the report for a visitor. After proving my worth making some alterations and updates to the existing reports I’d be asked to add new reports to the list. This would go on for some time and became rather dry, creating one stand alone report at a time.