The DevExpress Report Server

DevExpress Data Blog
06 December 2012

I am tremendously excited to introduce an entirely new type of product for DevExpress. This has been a culmination of many requests and questions surrounding:

  1. Customizing the End User Designer,
  2. Managing reports in a database,
  3. Scheduling and distributing reports, and finally
  4. Managing report access

We get many requests for samples and general guidance on how to accomplish these important reporting tasks. The choice was made to simply produce software that covers all of these scenarios. It is engineered from the ground up with your reporting needs in mind. So without further ado, here is the DevExpress Report Server:

fullserver

Getting Started

In an effort to get everyone up and running as quickly as possible, we have authored a number of videos showing you every important aspect of the DevExpress Report Server:

  1. Preparing Your Server – This video will walk you through getting the prerequisites installed on your server in order to get the report server set up.
  2. Installation – This video walks you through installing both the server as well as the report designer.
  3. Managing Users – In this video, we show how to manage report server users and describe how to get the server email capabilities set up properly along with the different account types as well as the notion of standard and pending accounts. Additionally, we delve into the four different roles available in the report server.
  4. Managing Data Views – Here we present how to expose data shapes that will be consumed by those designing reports.
  5. Managing Reports – This is the bread and butter of where the report server shines. Here we show the process of actually creating and designing reports.
  6. Managing Tasks – This video shows how easy it is to create report distribution tasks and shows how to manage internal as well as external distribution lists.

These resources are designed to describe exactly how to work with the report server as well as exactly what you can do. One of the things that bothers me as a consumer of software products is the lack of transparency when it comes to what software does and and how it is accomplished.

Licensing and Distribution

The DevExpress Report Server and End User Designer ships as part of the Universal Subscription and includes a single Server and 5 simultaneous client access licenses (CALs). I have looked around a bit at comparable reporting servers and can honestly say that this is a bargain. This does not even include all of the other software that comes bundled with our Universal Subscription. My sense is that now is the best time to buy as we are eyeing the possibility of making this a separate product with its own server and access costs. This is a completely self contained product and as such cannot be distributed to your clients as part of any software you create. Simply put, a single Universal Subscription will get you a single server license, a report designer license, and 5 concurrent report viewer licenses.

Server Requirements

There are 5 requirements needed to run the DevExpress Report Server:

  1. SQL Server – the report server uses SQL server to manage reports, users, tasks, etc.
  2. IIS 7.0+, .NET 4.0, ASP.NET MVC 3 – The report server administration site is run through IIS and is built on MVC 3 and .NET 4.0
  3. HTTP Activation – HTTP Activation is required in order to have the report designer communicate with the report server
  4. Windows Authentication – this is required at initial install since we add the current windows user as the default administrator. By default the report server uses windows authentication (although this can be changed).
  5. SMTP Mail Server – this is used to send report distributions out to those on your distribution lists as well as for user management emails sent when creating new user accounts.

User Accounts

There are 4 distinct roles that come with the DevExpress Report Server:

  1. System Administrator – this account has permissions to manage users as well as all other permissions given to the other three roles
  2. Data Administrator – this account has permissions to manage the Data Views available to the report creators as well as all other permissions given to the other two roles
  3. Report Creator – the report creator can create, manage, view, and distribute reports
  4. Report Viewer – the report viewer has permissions to view any report

The administrative console for managing users is very straightforward:

useraccounts

Administrators can add new users by simply clicking on “Add Account” and filling in some information. The server takes care of the rest.

userreg

After the administrator clicks “Add Account” the server sends an email to the new user with a custom link requesting they create a new password. The entire process is completely automatic. During the time between the request is sent and the new user creates a new password, the user is placed in a “Pending Account” state where the user is in essence inactive.

pendingaccounts

Getting the Bits

If you would like to try out this brand new product, head on over to our trial page and click on the “Download Universal Trial” button. As soon as you fill in a couple of particulars, you will be met with this:

download

During your trial each report you create will have a modest watermark along with a custom footer explaining that the report was creating with demo software.

Finally

Finally is right! We are tremendously excited to be providing this brand new product in your already rich arsenal of DevExpress tools. We are truly at a point where Reporting is a self-service task and no longer fills the plate of your already time crunched and busy schedule.

In subsequent posts we will be discussing how to provide data shapes to your report creators, managing and creating reports, and scheduling and distributing reports.

As always, if there are any comments and/or questions, feel free to get a hold of me!

Seth Juarez
Email: sethj@devexpress.com
Twitter: @SethJuarez

14 comment(s)
Bradley Uffner_2
Bradley Uffner_2

How would this work for software that we sell?  Would this be something that our customers would have to purchase separately through you instead of as a part of the software we write?

6 December, 2012
Seth Juarez (DevExpress)
Seth Juarez (DevExpress)

Great question! Either could purchase a license. If you were to purchase the license you would assign the license to them in your account manager in this case. Hope this helps!

6 December, 2012
c Pitt
c Pitt

The product is nice as a starting point. What it really needs before we can implement it into production is access control per user or role to the data views you set up. As far as I can see you cannot restrict access to individual views and all views are available to everyone, or am I missing an important step?

6 December, 2012
Saif Khan
Saif Khan

It's awesome, however, IMO this kills other shops using your controls to create the same thing...I did. It appears that you are moving away from controls to actual products. XtraReport is GREAT as is.

7 December, 2012
Martin Brekhof
Martin Brekhof

Hi,

Is the client viewer Silverlight only (makes it a showstopper for me)?

regards

8 December, 2012
Igor D (DevExpress)
Igor D (DevExpress)

Hi Martin,

Silverlight viewer is used by default. If a client browser does not support Silverlight (e.g., an iPad), the Server renders a document using PDF.

10 December, 2012
Peter Thorpe
Peter Thorpe

This looks like a great start of a report server but I can see things missing. Will DevExpress be releasing a roadmap for the product?

Missing features (as far as I can tell) for me are:

Reporting on IEnumerable like you can in the new dashboards

Handling reports with parameters

Non silverlight report viewer

This combined with the dashboards is making me consider the upgrade to universal seriously.

10 December, 2012
DMC
DMC

Let me understand: if I'm not wrong, the Report Server is a product that will be used by our clients. Are we supposed to be your resellers for this product ?

13 December, 2012
Alex Boston
Alex Boston

Is this product will prevent us from developing/selling a similar product using your components to our customers ?

As I think the EULA don't allow competing with you !?

14 December, 2012
heather
heather

Little frustrating, have Universal subscription, installed ReportServer designer but can't find it nor the dashboard editor anywhere.

18 December, 2012
Seth Juarez (DevExpress)
Seth Juarez (DevExpress)

Heather:

  Here is a video which should help with dashboards: www.youtube.com/watch. If this does not help, feel free to email me personally.

18 December, 2012
heather
heather

Hi Seth,

Got your email in support and thanks for your help.  I found the report designer - first attempt with it, so far so good.  Nice and clean, super easy to use.  Nice job!  This report server looks like it is going to get some serious legs!

Will work with you on the dashboard, etc through support.  Thanks again.

18 December, 2012
Kanapol W.
Kanapol W.

With the Universal Subscription, we use XAF to create application to customer, is it allow us to install report server to end-user?

(Actually, I feel confused about the licenses on Report Server and what we should to with it?  Install them to customer directly as one tool like other DevExpress Tool that we use as part of software development?)

9 January, 2013
Anonymous
DevExpress Data Blog

Ever since our beta release of the DevExpress Report Server we have been busy adding important enterprise

10 June, 2013

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