Tag Archives: Document SQL Server

Documenting Your SSRS Reports and Data Sources

If the organizations you’ve worked with are anything like the ones I’ve had the pleasure of working with, then they probably had or have thousands of SSRS reports spread out all over the place. And back around the time a majority of companies were gearing up to migrate to SQL 2008 from 2005, getting a grasp on the number and complexity of these reports was quite a challenge.

This is just the scenario where BI Documenter really shines. Besides being able to document your SQL databases, SSIS packages, and SSAS cube, BI Documenter can also document your SSRS reports and shared data sources, all the way down to the XML behind the scenes in case your reports are lost.

Let’s walk through creating the documentation we need to understand how many and how complex the reports are that are being considered for migration. For the sake of this example, just pretend my SSRS 2008 reports are actually 2005 ;).

Open BI Documenter, click Add a New Solution. Give the solution a name and description and then click Create Solution.


After clicking Next, click Add Reporting Services Server on the next screen.


The reports you wish to document can exist either on the SSRS server or on a SharePoint Server. In my case, my reports are on my local SSRS instance so I’ll select Native for my Server Mode. Key in the server and any credentials. Click the hyperlink at the bottom of the screen to verify BI Documenter can reach the SSRS server. Click Next.


Give a name and description of the Report Server and click Finish.


Now that we’ve add the Report Server to our documentation solution, we need to create a snapshot. On the Filter tab, check the boxes next to Reports and RS Data Sources.


Click Next a couple times. All we need to do now is finalize the documentation. You can output the documentation in HTML format or in a .CHM file. Select the output destination.


On the last tab, Reporting Objects, make sure the box is checked to document the Report Definition. This is a great tool if you reports are lost. With a little work, the documentation of the Report Definition can be used to recreate the reports. Click Next. Once the process to create the documentation is finished, click Finish.


Now we have a precise and detailed document outlining all the reports living on our SSRS server. I can view the .rdl’s for my reports, the parameters, data sources, and data sets. I can even view the data set queries.


The great thing about this feature of BI Documenter is that I can easily document all my SSRS reports as long as I know the Report Server. Head here to download the free trial.

The Best SQL Documentation Tool on the Market

If you read my blog you know from time to time I will blog about an exceptional third party SQL tool. Previously I’ve blogged about Task Factory and BI xPress, two amazing SSIS development tools. Well this week I figured I would talk about a killer SQL documentation tool called BI Documenter.


BI Documenter allows you to quickly and easily document your entire BI environment. So unlike the other popular tools out there, BI Documenter will document SQL Server databases (2000, 2005, 2008 & R2), SSIS packages, SSAS cubes, and SSRS reports. Because all of these objects can be documented in a single snap shot, you are then able to easily perform impact analysis across all objects, which has a pretty slick UI and is very intuitive. You can also do snapshot comparison across your whole stack, so you can see how any object in a snapshot differs from a previous snapshot.


One other thing to mention about documenting SSIS packages is that BI Documenter is the only documentation tool that not only documents the SSIS packages textually, but also visually!


This means that after you document you SSIS packages, you can view the SSIS packages (Including the Data Flow Tasks!) just like you would in BIDS. Very cool!

BI Documenter is a pretty cool documentation tool that is very well rounded and since it’s the only tool on the market that can document the entire BI stack all together, its basically you’re only choice if you want to do impact analysis across the stack. BI Documenter also has a lot of awesome features coming up in the next release such as documenting server level objects, like SQL Agent Jobs, Linked Servers, Backup Locations, and others.

If you’re in the market for a rock solid documentation tool with the kind of support you can count on, I’d highly recommend that you check out BI Documenter and download the free trial. It’s at the very least worth a look.