Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher - First Look

Using the new Mobile Report Publisher, SSRS Reports can be displayed on the updated Power BI mobile app.  This is a very early preview, so it's more for overall look and feel.
(this page is based on preview version 1,  version now up to Public Preview 4)

What you will need

  1. Latest SQL Server 2016 RC3 or greater, with SSRS installed & configured
  2. Latest Power BI mobile app
  3. SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher - x86 only - General Availability version!
    as of June 1, 2016
             Moble Report Publisher GA version 1.0.3836
  4. Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 Update 4
    With the GA version, you may get a popup stating that the Visual C++ redistributable for VS12 is required. You will need the x86 version.


Like the new Power BI Desktop, the Mobile Report Publisher only works on a single report at a time. And while the application first opens up to layout mode, typically, the first thing you will do is to load data for a report.

Add Data

In it's current form, the Mobile Report Publisher only support two types of data input.  Excel files, and data/reports in an existing SSRS 2016 repository. See also: SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher - use a Dataset from SSRS.

Mobile Report Publisher -  Add Data

Loading data from an Excel file is straight forward. Navigate to and select the Excel .xlsx file. And then select the desired worksheet.

Mobile Report Publisher - Select worksheet

Mobile Publisher appears to be expecting the Excel file to be a simple data table - no empty or leading rows or other presentation formats. We discovered this when one of our test files included presentation formatting - and we got the following error: But this really makes sense.

Mobile Report Publisher - error loading Excel data

Once we cleaned up the workbook so it was just a simple table with data it loaded. The first column held the row descriptors and the first row held the column headers, 

Mobile Report Publisher - loaded data set

Out of curiosity, we tried to load data from the older Excel .xls format, and from a CSV file. Neither one is currently supported. 

Mobile Report Publisher - error loading older Excel file format

Data from SSRS 2016

For SSRS, connect to the Reports_Preview folder, using a domain login. Notice that the service address does not include any leading protocol such as http://.

Update:  Beginning with RC1, server address: hostname/reports

Mobile Report Publisher -  connecting to SSRS 2016

Once you have made a connection to a report server, you can review and update your connections using the Connections(s) menu selector.

Mobile Report Publisher - Connections Menu

Which opens up the listing of SSRS servers currently configured.
Update:  Beginning with RC1, server address: hostname/reports

Mobile Report Publisher - Server Connections

Master Layout

With data loaded, we can begin to setup a mobile layout. Stay in Master while you add visualizations and adjust data settings - these are adjusted in Master. So, while in the Master layout, add your visualizations (gauges and charts). Layout uses a two dimensional grid, controlled by sliders. To keep it simple, we changed to a two (2) row, and one (1) column grid layout.

Mobile Report Publisher - grid layout and format selector

After adding your visualizations, switch to the Data section. Select the first visual control from the Control Instances section.

Mobile Report Publisher -  Control Instances

On the bottom of the page, you will find the Control Properties.  For CTP, it defaults to the SimulatedTable data. Switch this to your data set. The Combo boxes on the right will be refresh/updated. Once updated, adjust these as needed.

Mobile Report Publisher - Control Properties

The Layout format has three options:  Master, Tablet and Phone.  Once all the control properties are setup while in the Master Layout, go to the layout section, and switch to Phone.  You'll get a new empty layout. Drag and drop your controls over to the new phone layout. Then switch to Preview.

Mobile Report Publisher -
Phone Layout in Preview

Save your report

You will want to save your new report.  For the preview, we found that sometimes the report did not properly save as an rsmobile file. Sometimes, it saves a valid report file, but has dropped the .rsmobile extension - you can simply add this extension manually, or not. It will still load. Other times, it saves your report as an invalid file.  Not good, and all you can do is delete the file. 

Connection Errors

On his blog, Christopher Finlan has  Solved 500 internal server error in mobile report publisher.


Lushanthan Sivaneasharajah said...

To access this mobile report from the Power-BI app, do you need a power-BI account, which connects to the cloud? Or can it be done on-premises without any cloud intervention?

Andrew Peterson said...

Great question. Power BI account Not needed! To use the SQL Server SSRS mobile report features, you do not need a Power BI account