Limitations of SSRS 2008 R2

So what are the limitations/Drawbacks/Shortcomings of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2008 R2 ?

I know that SSRS 2005 had a much more issues than SSRS 2008 R2 but i am concerned with the SSRS 2008 R2, as its the latest one.

This post lists the features available in other reporting tools that are missing in Microsoft’s Reporting Services. Please add something to this list as i would love to hear from all the experts out there.

1) MDX issues in SSRS when SQL Server is migrated from 2005 to 2008 R2
Check out my post on this: MDX Issue on SSRS Migration

2) SSRS doesn’t provide Backward Compatibility.

Suppose you are working on some reports to be delivered to the client using SSRS 2008 R2. After completing that task, you have been assigned to do the same reports for a client using SSRS 2005. Now what happens is that you need go through the same development phase again. Unless you get your hands on a converter to convert the reports from SSRS 2008 R2 to 2005 version, its a re-work.

3) SSRS is not a standalone tool

SQL Server Reporting services (SSRS) comes bundled with SQL Server. So if i have already bought a license for a database and need just a reporting tool, i need to remove SSRS from my list. In this case, maybe Crystal reports is the way to go. Furthermore, Reporting Services doesn’t enable web deployments without the SQL server database – applications based on SSRS need to operate on SQL Server.

4) SSRS is not a web based tool

To create a report in SSRS, you need to use Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) which is Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 with additional project types that are specific to SQL Server business intelligence. So if you need to work on a report, from home and at work, BIDS must be installed on both computers at work as well as at home. Surely you can access the work computer from home, but there are certain limitations to the number of developers connected to that computer, which in my case was two users only at a time.
Now, IBM’s Cognos excels in this case which is total web based reporting tool.

5) SSRS lacks Customization’s features

In SSRS, customization is kept to the minimum. Let me explain this in points:

1) You cannot rename the text of your ‘Run Report’ button like you can in Cognos.
2) SSRS preview mode does not allow you to modify any formatting on the fly like Crystal Reports does.
3) You cannot create a separate page/pages for prompts like in Cognos.
4) You can use Limited Html tags and you cannot use JavaScript in SSRS unlike Cognos.
5) As SSRS doesn’t allow JavaScript code, we can’t rename the Label of parameters dynamically based on the selection of some other parameters.
6) SSRS does not currently support CSS.
7) Customization of chart colors according to the company’s brand color. If you click a color (country) say ‘blue’ in a first chart (say For ex. Sales across Countries) then the child chart (state) must display the data in different shades of blue.

6) A New Report in SSRS is a blank report

An SSRS report starts with a blank report and doesn’t ask for creating a table/matrix/list/etc. into the empty report.

7) SSRS Grouping Order Issue

If you created a report with two groups and defined them in the wrong order, you’ll need to modify each group number manually in SSRS if you need to change the sequence of physical groups. In Crystal reports, i could go to the group selector bars and visually drag the bars to reverse the order that unfortunately doesn’t exist in SSRS.

8) SSRS Page number variable

You cannot place a page number variable anywhere other than a page header or page footer in SSRS.

9) SSRS Subreport not allowed in Page Header/Footer

In SSRS, you cannot insert a subreport into the Page Header or Page Footer area. This makes it difficult, if you need to built reports based on several templates.

10) Hiding parameters based on the value of another parameter

Unfortunatly, In SSRS it is not possible to hide a parameter based on the value selected in parent parameter.
In Cognos, this is possible due to JavaScript.

3 Responses to “Limitations of SSRS 2008 R2”

  1. Matt says:

    Thank you very much.

  2. David says:

    Great article. This article is not available anywhere. glad to see all these points on limitations of SSRS. Thanks.

  3. George says:

    Very nice article.

    SSRS can be standalone, so you do not need either Report Server, or SQL Server. The backend DB can be anything supported by .NET framework.

    Users can also easily create SSRS from web, from mobile devices such as IPad, IPhone, Android, Surface and even BlackBerry.

    Trying is believing. Go to the following site to try to create SSRS reports now.

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