Sometimes, people that have been working with a technology for a while assume that something is so obvious, they don’t feel it needs explaining. This means that those who are trying to wrap their heads around something for the first time could be missing a crucial step. They could be staring at the interface feeling like an idiot because it must be something really simple.
I had this when I was first trying out Report Builder. I was fine using it on demo environments where everything was already configured. But when it came to building my own demo environment from scratch, I hit a major snag: connecting to the Report Server. When you turn on Report Builder for the first time, there’s a message at the bottom saying that there’s no current report server, along with a link to Connect.
There are a lot of things for which you need to be connected to an instance of SQL Server running SSRS. Lots of articles, blogs and guidance on doing those things have a note that if you’re not connected to a report server, you’ll have to connect. That sounds simple enough. You click the connect button, choose the server and all should be good. Right?
When you click connect, you get a new menu asking you to enter the name of the server, or choose it from a list of recently connected servers. Again, this seems simple enough. After all, I’d only just installed SQL Server so I knew what it was called.
I entered in the server name, clicked connect. And… waited. After quite a while of it trying to connect, I got an error message telling me it couldn’t connect.
There was no option to browse to find the server. I tried entering the directory location of the server. I tried the name of the database. I checked that I’d not mistyped anything. And when I searched online for guidance, I just found instructions for doing other things that included a helpful instruction telling me to connect to my report server. None of them told me how.
Eventually, I overcame my embarrassment at missing something that should be easy, and went to one of my co-workers for advice. There’s a URL for the web services of the report server.
If you have access to the machine where SSRS is installed, you can open up the Reporting Services Configuration Manager. One of the menus is Web Service URL.
This gives you the URL you need, but you can work it out as follows.
http://<machine name>/ReportServer_<SQL Server instance name>
If you enter this in an internet browser, you get to a directory of the elements published to Reporting Services. If you enter this is the Connect dialog in Report Builder, you get the connection you need.
Hopefully this post will prevent someone else from staring at their screen for ages feel silly for missing something obvious.