Johan Åhlén

Johan Åhlén's blog about life, universe and everything.

October 2009 - Posts

PowerPivot announced as real name for project Gemini

Microsoft just announced the real name for the BI Self Service component (project "Gemini") of SQL Server 2008 R2. According to the new web site, PowerPivot is:

"PowerPivot provides business users with BI at their fingertips while enabling organizations to efficiently monitor and manage collaboration using Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and SQL Server 2008 based management tools. "

So far there is only very brief information about PowerPivot available. I look forward to a CTP where I can try it myself. However I believe PowerPivot will be a really big step forward for the Microsoft Business Intelligence suite, changing the way to work with Microsoft BI and enabling end-users to explore data much more easily. It will further shift the power of Business Intelligence from IT to business units.


99 bottles of beer

The website 99 bottles of beer shows how to write the lyrics of the song, with the same name, in about 1300 different programming languages. I've now made a contribution written in SQL. Here's the lyrics of the song:

99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer.
Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall.
[Yet another 98 verses]
No more bottles of beer on the wall, no more bottles of beer.
Go to the store and buy some more, 99 bottles of beer on the wall.

99 bottles of beer has grown into a phenomena. Basically you find three categories of example on the internet for new languages: Hello World-programs, Quines (programs printing their own source code) and 99 bottles of beer-programs. It's amazing to see how much effort has been spent on some examples on the 99 bottles of beer website. Challenge: can you write a Quine in SQL?

One of my personal favorites from 99 bottles of beer is Shakespeare, a programming language with a "poetic freedom". Programs are divided in Acts and Scenes. The characters in the play are variables. If you want to assign a character, let's say Hamlet, a negative value, you put him and another character on the stage and let that character insult Hamlet. Input and output is done be having someone tell a character to listen their heart and speak their mind. Why make things simple when you can make them beautifully complicated? ;-)

Cheers - it's friday!

Posted: Oct 09 2009, 03:45 PM by jahlen
Filed under: , ,
Installing Reporting Services on Windows 7, Vista or Windows Server 2008

I recently had to reinstall Reporting Services 2008, and had to remind myself how to set it up correctly. Installing Reporting Services on Vista, and later operating systems, can be tricky. I've seen several forum posts of people spending days on installation problems... The culprit is the new security features in Vista. I really think Microsoft should have added a README-file telling how to avoid these problems, especially since they must have known about them already when they released SQL Server 2008. This is a simple quick-guide with a step-by-step guide how to install SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 on a local machine running Vista or later operating systems.

Key Prerequisites

In order to use Reporting Services you need to:

  • Disable Internet Explorer protected mode
  • Make sure Internet Explorer provides Reporting Services with your current credentials
  • Add your account to Reporting Services server roles
  • When developing reports, run BIDS/Visual Studio as administrator

Protected mode is a security feature of Internet Explorer 7 and upwards, that uses new security features of Windows Vista to run in a "low integrity" security context. To enable Reporting Services, you can completely disable Protected mode (not recommended) or add Reporting Services to your trusted sites (recommended and described below).

Adding your account to the server roles is necessary if you do not want to run as administrator every time you start Internet Explorer.

BIDS/Visual Studio requires administrative privileges when communicating with Reporting Services. There seems to be no workaround, but running Visual Studio as administrator.

Below is a step-by-step description how to configure Reporting Services.

Disabling Internet Explorer protected mode for Report Manager

Right-click on Internet Explorer and choose Run as administrator:

In Internet Explorer, open the Internet Options and go to the Security tab. Select Trusted sites. Click on the Sites button:

Uncheck the Require server verification checkbox. Add http://localhost to the Websites list:

Close the options windows, but do not exit Internet Explorer.

Configuring Report Manager

Start Report Manager by going to http://localhost/reports. Click Properties. Click on New Role Assignment and add your account as Content Manager. Your account name should be in the form <computername>\<username> (for example Mini-laptop\Johan):

Also click on Site Settings, and then on Security. Add you account as System Administrator:

Trouble with these steps? Ensure that you are running Internet Explorer as administrator. Ensure that the necessary services are running - "SQL Server Reporting Services" and "SQL Server".

Windows 7

On Windows 7 it seems that Internet Explorer by default does not provide current user credentials to Reporting Services. What happens then is that you get a login prompt when you try to access Reporting Services. If you get a login prompt, you need to adjust security settings.

Choose Intenet Options and go to the Security tab. Click on Trusted sites. Either drag the security slider to low security or click on Custom level. If you click on Custom level, go to the User Authentication/Logon option and choose "Automatic logon with current name and password".

Developing Reports

Right click on SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio. Choose Run as administrator:

Running without administrative privileges will usually cause it to hang when contacting the Report Server. If you want to not have to choose Run as administrator every time, you can change properties on Visual Studio as shown below.