During the Telerik DevCraft Q3 2015 Release Webinar we received lots of questions about Telerik Report Server—our solution for storing, managing and viewing reports that comes with a fully-featured standalone report designer. In the webinar recap blog post we promised to publish a separate post dedicated to your Report Server related questions. So here they are, the answers you waited for.
Q: Does the AD Authentication for report server include SSO with other ADFS authenticated applications?
Q: Report Server is able to connect to AD. Is there a library for AD syncing for an ASP.NET MVC application?
A: No. The Report Server administrator should manually add each user who needs access to the Report Server. Then if the server authentication is set to use federation provider, the user will need to use their Active Directory credentials to log in. One of the reasons for this is that Telerik Report Server is licensed per domain + number of CALs/users that can access it, and each can have different permissions. In the future we will most likely add functionality where each user who provides proper AD credentials and is not a Report Server user will be automatically authorized as a read-only viewer, and will have access to only view specific reports.
Q: Can Report Server use Azure as a Data Source?
A: Yes. An Azure SQL database can be used as a data source in the reports by utilizing the SqlDataSource component. It only needs a proper connection string to the Azure database.
Q: Can the Report Server be hosted on Azure as a web instance or is it a VM instance?
A: The Report Server should be installed only through its Windows installer as it configures a special Windows service for the scheduled tasks. On Azure VM this could be done by using a Remote Desktop connection.
Q: How is Report Server different from other competing products such as List & Label?
A: The main difference between all report servers is the reports they support. Most of the report servers come with their own Report Designer or support reports built with a particular Report Designer. The Report Designer has a particular set of features to enable developers, end users or both to build reports. Though most of the Report Designers are very close in terms of the interface and features they provide, some are more suitable for specific cases than others. Another thing to look at is performance for the particular scenario and amount of data.
Q: How would a user can go about creating the report? Is there a separate plugin? Is this all web based?
A: The Report Server comes with a standalone desktop Report Designer which is not additionally paid for or installed. Implemented as a ClickOnce application, it is automatically downloaded and configured on the client when one creates a new report or edits an existing one. It’s necessary to download it once, and if you are a report editor or creator, you might not even need to log in to the Report Server application thanks to the tight server and designer integration.
Q: Is there support for Report Design in Visual Studio, or only in your included designer?
A: The Report Server supports only reports created with the standalone Report Designer (.trdx files). If you have reports created with the Visual Studio integrated report designer, you can easily convert them with the help of a wizard we have in the standalone Report Designer. Find more information here.
Q: Is the Report Server output format as nice as the rest of your DevCraft suite in various platforms (mobile, etc.)
A: Report Server is designed so that it and the reports it stores are accessible from the different form factors.
Q: Can you update a reports data source in Report Server? Example when in DEV we use a Demo Database.
A: You can design your report to use named connections. Then you can have different definitions for the connection string of this named connection on each computer the report is being tested on.
Q: Can the reports be scheduled based upon a data condition rather than a time schedule?
A: Currently no. Such functionality will be provided by the Data Alerts and Notifications features planned to be released first half of 2016.
Q: Can you install/setup multiple Instances of Report Server on the same IIS server?
A: No. Currently the Report Server installer installs only one instance of the Report Server per machine. We will provide the ability to install more than one instance of the Report Server on the same IIS in future.
Q: Can you explain what a 'Client Access License' is for Report Server? Does that mean simultaneous users of the Report Server web app?
A: No, the number of CALs is the total number of users, identified with their own user name and password, who are authorized to access the Report Server web application. That means they're authorized to do something with the reports there—to create or edit reports, to schedule tasks, to manage data connections or report server users, etc. Find more information here.
Q: How is the Report Server licensed? Will applications which integrate with the reports require extra licensing? Is it included in DevCraft subscription?
A: The Report Server is licensed per domain and number of CALs and is sold separately from DevCraft. However if you are a DevCraft user, contact email@example.com to see if they can make a special offer for you. Applications that integrate with the Report Server through its API do not require additional payment.
Q: Does Report Server have the capability to save parameters for scheduled reports? Or can we setup parameters to the Report Server Scheduler so the reports distributed to users will be filtered based on the parameters specified?
A: Yes, this became possible as of the Q3 2015 SP1 release. Find more here.
Q: Does the Report Server support Data-Driven subscriptions (as it's called in SSRS) in the Scheduling, where different recipients get customized reports meaning different report parameters for each user?
A: We don’t support it yet. Currently you can’t pass the recipient name/email to the report so that the data is filtered for him/her. However we’ve been asked for that a few times now and we will make sure to add it in the next few versions.
Q: Does Telerik Report Server provide the capabilities to transform SSRS (RDL) reports to be used by the Report Server?
A: There is not such a converter currently and it is not planned for the next version. However the more requests we receive the faster we will add it to the roadmap. Vote for the item in our feedback portal to increase its priority.
Q: Are there any tutorials/steps/recommendations to migrate an app that uses SSRS to the Telerik Report Server?
A: As described above, we don’t have a migration tool yet. Currently you need to recreate the reports with the Telerik Report Designer and store them on the Report Server on your own.
Q: Doesn't SQL Report Server do lots of this? Is there a feature comparison between Telerik Report Server and SSRS? Is this report server like SSRS?
A: Telerik Report Server can be named similar to the SSRS Report Server. The main difference is that both support different reports, built with different report designers and supported by different reporting engines. And the more mature Telerik Report Server becomes, the more alike the features it’ll have.
If you still have questions that you’d like to ask, go ahead and post then in a comment below. If you’d like to share your feedback about the product or submit a feature request, please feel free, here’s the Report Server dedicated feedback portal.
See what’s coming in the next version on the roadmap page. Meanwhile, if you haven’t done it yet, try the latest version released earlier this month, play with the sample reports we’ve added there and test the enhanced scheduling functionality.
Iana Tsolova is Product Manager at Telerik’s DevTools division. She joined the company back in the beginning of 2008 as a Support Officer and has since occupied various positions at Telerik, including Senior Support Officer, Team Lead at one of the ASP.NET AJAX teams and Technical Support Director. Iana’s main interests are web development, reading articles related to geography, wild nature and latest renewable energy technologies.