Chapter 2. First Steps

2. First Steps

This section will provide you with a first impression of how an administrator will work with ReportServer. On the basis of the demo data provided we will guide you step by step through the various sections of the Administration interface. We will use examples to explain the basic concepts that you will meet throughout ReportServer.

2.1. Configuration and installation

You will find a detailed description in the configuration and installation instructions in the freely available ReportServer configuration guide. As we will frequently refer to configuration files and options, we list below the most important locations where to configure ReportServer:

  • reportserver.properties To be found in the directory WEB-INF/classes; it includes basic configuration settings which have to be rarely adapted. This applies to login control settings, or passwords to encrypt sensitive data, etc.
  • persistence.xml To be found in the directory WEB-INF/classes/META-INF, it includes the configuration of the database connection.

All further settings will be made within ReportServer. ReportServer has an internal file system which you find in the administration module. There, in the spirit of UNIX systems, you will find the configuration files in the folder /etc. For further information on the configuration of ReportServer please refer to the configuration manual.

2.2. Login

Use your web browser and open the ReportServer home page in order to log into ReportServer. By default you will find it under the URL http://SERVERNAME:PORT/reportserver/. If you are on the server where the program is installed, the address is normally http://127.0.0.1:8080/reportserver/. In order to log into ReportServer for the first time, it must be preconfigured so that users can log-in with their user name and password (this is the default setup). A description of the various authentication procedures is given in the ReportServer configuration guide. Now, log in by entering the user name "root" and password "root".

After login you get to the Dashboard module. The user interface is structured as follows: At the top screen margin you will find the module bar. Here you can switch between the different ReportServer modules. At the right hand side you will find the option to log off from the system as well as your user profile (click on your name) and global search. For further information on your profile and ReportServer's search functionality, please refer to the ReportServer user guide. As root you have access to the following modules:

  • Dashboard The dashboard enables the user to get important information at a glance. For further information, please refer to the ReportServer user guide as well as to the Dashboard section.
  • TeamSpace The TeamSpace module enables users or user groups to organize their individual work areas. The users may attend to nearly all of their settings themselves. For further information on TeamSpace, please refer to ReportServer user guide.
  • Scheduler The Scheduler module lists all scheduled reports. For further information on the Scheduler module, please refer to section Scheduling of reports as well as to the ReportServer user guide.
  • Administration The administration module provides access to a collection of various sub modules used by administrators. The administration module is split into the following sub modules.
    • User management Here users and user groups may be maintained.
    • Report management Enables to manage report objects.
    • Dashboard library Dadgets (abbreviation for Dashboard Gadget) are used by the users to assemble their dashboard. In the dashboard library, administrators can provide pre-assembled dadgets which the users may simply select.
    • File system ReportServer uses the File system in many different ways.You will find here common configuration files or ReportServer scripts. But you also can provide resources (e.g. pictures) for reports.
    • Datasources This section enables to manage database connections which may be used as a basis for reports.
    • Global constants Global constants may be used in reports to swap out configuration parameters so that they can be managed centrally.
    • Import The import module enables to import ReportServer objects that had been exported before.
    • Permission management The permission management defines the access permissions for the varying ReportServer modules/functions.
    • Scheduler As compared to the Scheduler main module, the Administration module provides insight into any scheduler job made by the users. Now we are going to get acquainted with ReportServer in a quick resumé. We try to introduce important concepts and functions by presenting examples. If you haven't done so, you should now load the demo data. For the upcoming introduction the demo content is not necessary. See Section 1.3.
2.3. Creating a datasource

The basic requirement for running reports is the configuration of a datasource. Datasources are organised hierarchically in a tree structure like many other objects. The ReportServer trees are organised in a similar way as you may know from files and folders of common file systems. The hierarchic structure enables you to retain the overview even when dealing with a large number of objects. In addition, the hierarchic structure enables to map even the most complicated access rules in a compact and comprehensible manner.

You will work with ReportServer trees just in the same way as you are used to from other programmes.You will create new objects by using the context menu (right-clicking an object), and with drag and drop you can move objects. Now, select the datasources section within the Administration module. Below the Root folder, the folder "internal datasources" should already be located. Beside the existing folder, create another one: Right click on "Datasource Root" -> Insert -> Folder. Now, select the newly created folder "unnamed". In the right part of the window you can edit the properties of the currently selected object. Rename the folder to "Demo data" and click on the Apply button.

Now, we will configure a datasource which enables to access the internal demo data. Below the newly created folder, create then the datasource type "relational database". Enter "Demo data" as the name for the new database connection. Select H2 as database type. User name and password are "demo". Enter the following JDBC connection URL: jdbc:h2:dbtemp/rsdemodb. The dbtemp path refers to the directory of the internal database as defined in configuration file etc/datasources/internaldb.cf in the internal file system of ReportServer. By default this is the dbtemp directory relative to the ReportServer directory. See the configuration guide on information on how to change this location.

Apply the chosen settings and run a test whether the connection can be established ("Test connection" button in the tool bar). Be aware to only test the connection after saving your changes.

2.4. Creating your First Report

In the following we will create a first basic report. To do so, switch to the section Report management in the Administration module. Here you see that reports are managed in a tree structure as well. As you did before, create a new folder with the name "demo reports". The provided demo data represents a small datamart for the fictitious model-making manufacturer "1 to 87". You will find the corresponding database scheme in the appendix. First, we want to create a customer list. For this purpose the reporting type "dynamic list" is suitable. Below the demo reports folder insert a report of type "dynamic list". Rename the report to customer list and select the datasource (click on the magnifying glass) demo data that you have just created.

The configuration displayed varies with the datasource selected. Relational databases require the setting of the appropriate SQL statement. We want to create a list showing any and all information about the customers of the company "1 to 87". In the demo data the T_AGG_CUSTOMER table has already been prepared for this. The following statement selects all data records from the table:

SELECT * FROM T_AGG_CUSTOMER

Apply the data and open the report by double clicking on the object in the tree. Now, the screen that opens should show the report execution area. This section is detailed in the ReportServer user manual. To get a quick overview of the "1 to 87" customers, select from Select columns all available columns and then on the left select Preview from the aspects. The first 50 data records should now display. If you wish to export the complete list, for instance, to an Excel file, select the button Excel export from the tool bar.

Then close the report by clicking on the button x on the right hand side above the tool bar to return to the Administration section. Alternatively, select the Administration module from the module bar.

2.5. Importing a Graphical Report

In the next step we want to import a graphical report from the ReportServer sample projects. Within your ReportServer installation you should find a folder called "pkg". Within there should be a file called demobuilder-xx.zip where xx denotes your ReportServer version. Copy that file to a temporary directory and there unzip the file.You should find a tmp directory containing various files of the type "export_...zip".

Now, select the section Import in the Administration module and then click on the Start import button. Select the file export_birt_sample_reports.zip and click on Submit. In the left part of the screen the sections Datasources, User management and Report management should display. This indicates that objects from these sections were exported to the export file. Click on Report management and select the folder demo reports as the import target. At the bottom click on the objects tab and select the sales invoice report.

Now switch to Datasources and choose the demo data datasource that you created as default datasource. For the import it will be entered in the report as datasource. Then at the top, right click on Finalize import and answer the question whether you want to reset the configuration with Yes. Now select Cancel job from the tool bar to show ReportServer that no other objects are to be imported from this file.

Switch back to Report management and open the Demo reports folder. You might need to reload the tree to see the freshly imported report. For this click the reload button in the tree's toolbar. The imported report sales invoice should be located here. Open the report to ensure that the correct data connection has been set.

If you run the report you will first be directed to the parameters page of the report. Parameters enable the user to limit the data basis in particular for graphical reports (such as JasperReports or Eclipse-BIRT reports) according to its needs. However, parameters can be applied for all reports. For instance, enter 10167 as invoice number (order number) and click on Preview. The report will run for exactly this invoice number. When you return to the Administration section and select the sales invoice report, you can view the application of this parameter. Beside the general report settings you may switch to other aspects by clicking on the tabs at the bottom margin. Select Parameter management. The report shows the parameter Order Number. If you double click on the icon of the parameter, a dialogue box opens showing the parameter settings. Close the dialogue by clicking on the Cancel button.

2.6. Creating users

In the following we will create the Report Management user group as well as the jondoe user. So far you have been working under the user root. You should use this account only in an emergency case as the user root operates completely isolated from the management of permissions. It is reasonable to set up user accounts in such a way that the users will always be granted only those permissions they actually need for their work. In the Administration section now switch to User management. Like reports, users will be managed in ReportServer in a hierarchic structure. This enables to easily map, for instance, company hierarchies and to create users with similar or equal permissions in a common folder (or as we call them organisational unit). Beside hierarchic structuring you can additionally organise users by means of groups. We will get back to the various structuring options in more detail in later sections. First create the organisational unit IT and then the user Jon Doe in a sub-folder with jondoe as user name and password. Jon Doe shall be given the permissions to create and manage reports. Here it is recommendable to create a group which will be granted the respective permissions and to add jondoe to this group. To do this, create the organisational unit roles below the root directory as well as the group Report management. Add the user Jon Doe to the group either by using the corresponding button, or directly by Drag and Drop from the user tree (drag the user to the respective member list). Don't forget to save your changes by clicking on Apply.

jondoe needs the following permissions to manage reports: He must be able to access ReportServer and to use the Administration module, there, however, only the Report management. Within Report management we would like to allocate all rights to him. First, switch to module Permission management in the Administration section. Various subsections will now display. Now, select the subsection Administration. In ReportServer permissions are granted based on the ACL security model (for more information on ACLs, please refer to the section on user management or to http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_Control_List). Click on Insert to create a further permission entry. The entry will be added to the list. To edit the entry, double click on it. From the mask in column Folk (the receiver of rights) select the group Report management and allocate reading rights (r). To grant jondoe ReportServer access, go to the subsection ReportServer Access and create an ACE (an access control entry; a permission entry) that grants jondoe (or the group Report management) the execute (x) right. Now, when you log off and log on as jondoe, you will see that he will be allowed to see the Administration section, however, he will have no further access rights. Therefore, log in again with root and return to Permission management. Select subsection Report management and here as well add an access right by granting the group Report management reading access. Now Jon Doe is granted the rights to use the Administration module and there the Report management sub-module. However, he is lacking any rights with regard to single report objects. In ReportServer access rights can be granted fine-tuned down to the level of single objects. As jondoe is to account for the report management, we will assign him the rights so that he may access all report objects. To do this, go to Report management and select the root node. Switch to the permissions view of the root object by clicking on the tab below the expanded view. Add a further permission entry and double click on the newly created entry. The dialogue is identical to the already known permission dialogue box except for the option inherit. The option inherit controls the use of permission entries in trees. We wish to assign to jondoe any and all rights for all objects. To do so, under Folk we select again the group Report management. Keep the default settings for access type and inherit. In addition, we either set a tick at all rights individually, or we use the Quick assign and select Full access. If you now sign in as jondoe you should be granted access to the complete Report section. When you are logged in with the user name root and you wish to quickly change the user you may also use the SU (switch user) command. You can do this by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+L. In the dialogue box popping up select the user jondoe and click on Submit. The users who may execute the SU command may also be controlled in the Permission management.

2.7. Terminal and FileServer

Now log off and log in again as the user root. In the last part of the introduction we will get acquainted with two important Administration tools enabling to perform complex actions to ReportServer: the Terminal and ReportServer Scripts.

The Terminal follows the familiar Unix terminal and uses various commands to enable the set-up of a database connection, to move objects or retrieve system information. Open the Terminal by entering the keyboard shortcut CTRL-ALT-T. A window opens showing a prompt. Enter the command ls and confirm with ENTER. The ls command shows the objects in the current folder. All ReportServer trees (e.g. Report management or User management) are accessible from the Terminal, and are integrated as virtual file systems.

In the following we describe how to create a simple ReportServer script which goes into the internal File System (a sub-module of the administration module). The File System can be accessed via the Administration module or via the Terminal. Now enter the command cd fileserver to change the working directory to the root folder of the file system. The terminal supports the auto-completion function to enable quicker navigation within the Terminal. You can activate it by pressing the tab key. If you want to make sure which folder you are currently in, you can use the pwd command.

To verify whether the bin directory exists in FileServer, use the ls command. If it fails to exist create it by entering the mkdir bin command. With cd bin switch to the newly created directory. Now, we will create our first ReportServer script. In ReportServer, scripts have manifold tasks and are written in the programming language Groovy (http://groovy.codehaus.org/). For working with ReportServer, scripts are not necessarily required, however, you can use them to accomplish many special tasks (such as integrating complex datasources or importing of reports from third-party systems) and small enhancements. In this manual we will time and again meet with scripts. You will find a detailed introduction in the ReportServer scripting guide. Now create the script hello.rs by entering the command createTextFile hello.rs. A text editor opens. Enter the following line:

"Hello ReportServer Admin"
Be sure to enter the quotation marks. Click on Submit to save the script. To edit the file use the command editTextFile hello.rs. You can run the script with the command exec hello.rs. You should see the line
Hello ReportServer Admin
reportserver$
on the terminal.

With this we would like to finish our quick ReportServer resumé. Up to this point we have only encountered a fractional part of the ReportServer options. In the sections to come we will specifically outline individual ReportServer sections and discuss them in detail.