Most people that work with SSRS (2005, 2008, 20080 R2) are aware of two ways to deploy Reporting Services catalog items (reports, data sources, shared datasets, images, etc.). These include deploying directly from BIDS (Visual Studio) and by using Report Manager to upload files. There are also a number of web services available that enable us to do this this in a programmatic, automated fashion that allow for things such as dynamic data sources so that we can deploy reports to any environment without having to modify data source properties manually and specifying where in the Report Manager folder hierarchy we want our reports installed - again without having to modify data sources or data sets or references to either.
The following web services are available with for administrative tasks in SQL Server 2008 R2. Note that there is also a ReportExecution2005 web service that provides methods for actually executing reports.
ReportService2006 was used for SSRS instances that are running in SharePoint integrated mode.
ReportService2010 ties 2005 and 2006 together so that one web service works with both native and SharePoint integrated mode.
While you can work directly with these web services using your programming language of choice, Microsoft was kind enough to create RS.exe. This console application acts as a wrapper for these web services. It is installed with SQL Server and like any other executable it can be called by tools like NANT, MSBuild, InstallShield, etc.
My need for this tool arose when I was developing a set of reports for a commercial product that required installation through InstallShield. The development environment included ANT which we also had call RS.exe for automated deployment in an automated build environment.
Now I'll show you how to use RS.exe from the command line. I won't go into detail about how to use it from specific tools as that should be straightforward for anyone that is familiar with the tool they are using.
Below is a sample RS call with three input parameters.
-i is the file that contains your rss script. More on that later.
-s is the address of your ReportServer web service
-e is the web service end point. Remember from above that there are multiple web services available and you can target any of these endpoints using RS.
Now that we know how to call RS, the key to making it useful is your custom .rss (Reporting Services Script). It is in these scripts that we can write custom code to deploy reports, data sources, images and create folders as well as delete items.
I have posted a sample rss script that has the following generic methods.
CreateFolder: Creates folders in Report Manager
PublishItem: Publishes reports and shared datasets
PublishImage: Publishes images
DeleteItem: Deletes any item
These methods are essentially wrappers around the rs.CreateCatalogItem, rs.DeleteItem, rs.CreateFolder, rs.SetItemDataSources, and rs.SetItemReferences methods. They add additional exception handling and deal with the nuances of publishing reports in locations different than specified in your Visual Studio project and .rdl files.
Note the use of what are referred to as Global Variables. You can pass values into your rss scripts by using Global Variables. You don't declare these variables you simply refer to a non-declared "variable" in your rss script and RS is smart enough to know that you want to set them at the command line. The way to set them is by using the -v argument. See below for another example.
With the sample script you should be able to quickly and easily create an automated process for working with your Reporting Services instances.
Download .rss script