Tuesday 8 November 2011

SSRS: Use Stored Procedures in Datasets

This is my contribution to T-SQL Tuesday #24 hosted by Brad Schulz (blog) on the subject of Prox ‘n’ Funx (Stored Procedures and Functions to you and me :-) ).

I'm a big believer in using Stored Procedures (or at the very least, UDFs) for your Reporting Services datasets. and separating your presentation layer from your data layer and moving the SQL code away from the RDL.

The benefits of this are that you as long as the meta-data of your Stored Procedure stays the same, then you able to modify and enhance your SQL code without having to touch the RDL. You essentially abstract away the source code from the report.

Perhaps you're improving performance by moving to JOINs from cursors, extended the business logic to only return rows that meet new criteria or simply doing a refactoring of SQL code to standardise your table names. All of these don't affect the presentation layer and having them reside as Stored Procedures on the database, gives huge maintenance benefits.

Other advantages include having all your T-SQL held in the one place and knowing that you are aware of the impact of any changes without having to worry about dependancies elsewhere. Also, you will often be re-using code (eg for parameter datasets) and using a single stored procedure helps reduce duplication of effort (and probably performance benefits too).

Of course, there are downsides to this approach. If you need to introduce a new parameter to a report (which is passed to your dataset) then you have to change both the RDL and the stored procedure. I can see this being a slight irritation as you now have 2 deployments whereas holding the SQL code "inline" means a simple upload of the new report.

For me though, the former approach still wins and I advocate using Stored Procedures for Reporting Services datasets. I've been experimenting recently with putting Stored Procedures used for Reports into their own schema (acting as a namespace) although I can't categorically say whether this has been a success or not (Jamie Thomson (Blog | Twitter) has an interesting blog post which touches on Schema usage here).

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