Jeff Pries

Business Intelligence, SQL Server, and other assorted IT miscellany

Month: June 2014

Geocaching Analytics – Part 5: GCInsight Visualizations with SSRS

Geocaching Analytics – Part 5: GCInsight Visualizations with SSRS

Continuing our journey of analyzing Geocache data with various visualization tools, we arrive at SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS).  SSRS is a server-based SQL Server component used for generating static (and generally printer friendly) reports.

Aside from its cost (free), one of the greatest benefits of SSRS is the ease of use in getting started with report creation.

This post won’t cover the installation and configuration of the server-based components of SSRS (there are plenty of resources out there on the Internet and the process varies based on your version and edition of SQL Server).  At its core though, it is made up of the following components:

  • A SQL Server Reporting Database which stores information used by SSRS, including connection information and reports.  This database is initially created by the installation and is managed by the product.
  • The Report Server and Report Manager services, which are the core service behind Reporting Services as well as a web server (running either natively or inside of SharePoint) which allows for the access and administration of reports and report components.
  • Design Tools such as Report Builder and SQL Server Data Tools (Visual Studio)
SSRS conceptual diagram.  Source:

Going into the inner workings of SSRS and report development can go down the rabbit hole of complexity very quickly, so we’ll stop there.  A quick summary is that report design tools create report files which are stored inside of reporting services and can then be accessed via a web browser.  As we’re interested in geocaching visualizations, we’ll be focusing on the content created within the report design tools.

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PASS Summit 2014 Sessions Announced!

PASS Summit 2014 Sessions Announced

Once again this year, the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) will be hosting the premier event for SQL Server and Business Intelligence — PASS Summit.

This year the event will be hosted in Seattle, WA from November 4-7.  On Wednesday of this week, the list of pre-conference sessions which will be offered on the 3rd and 4th as well as the list of conference sessions was officially released!

Last year, PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC was my first opportunity to attend Summit.  I found the experience to be incredibly valuable and when early-bird registration rolled around for this year’s event, it didn’t take much deliberation to decide to make the trek out to Seattle.

While the session schedule for the event has not yet been published, the abstracts for this first big batch of sessions is online and very compelling — lots of great session topics and great speakers in the lineup.  There are no doubt going to be some tough decisions that will need to be made.  I’m seriously contemplating attending a pre-con session this year (as pre-cons at the smaller SQL Saturday events are always great!)

Look forward to more information about the event as the date draws closer.

The Office Hijinks Series – Part 9: Halloween Pumpkin Contest

The Office Hijinks Series – Part 9: Halloween Pumpkin Contest

Well, it’s not quite October, but in continuing my Office Hijinks Series of posting fun and creative things done at the office, I present to you the Halloween Pumpkin Contest of October, 2012.

In October of 2012, we decided to have a Halloween Pumpkin Carving/Decoration contest.  While not quite a prank like the other posts in this series, some of them came out great, which makes this a deserving addition.  The big and creepy one on the right is mine.  Enjoy!

[ Go back to Part 8 | Go forward to Part 10]

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