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Connecting to Your Data in Bold Reports

Data is very important to gather for business purposes and to analyze in order to make better-informed decisions on how to move an organization forward sustainability. One of the initial steps you need to do before creating a data report is connect to your data. Without data, the report has nothing for analyzing! This data can be derived from multiple sources. In RDL standard reporting, this data is categorized into two parts: the data source and the data set.

Report Structure
Report Structure

In this blog, we will see the options available in Bold Reports to create a data source and data set for your reports.

What is data source?

Usually, we maintain and organize our data in a database. To connect and fetch such data into your report, we need to create a data source. A data source is nothing more than a connection setting that the report uses to connect to a database. The connection setting includes the data source type, connection information, and the type of credentials to use.

In Bold Reports, you can create a data source by connecting to the most common databases by using the following data providers.

  • Built-in data sources: Microsoft SQL Server, SQL CE, Oracle, XML, OLEDB, and ODBC.
  • Custom data-processing extension: SASS, WebAPI, MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc.

There are two types of data sources:

  • Embedded
  • Shared

Embedded data source

An embedded data source is defined in a report and used only by that report. The data connection setting is saved as part of the report definition.

Shared data source

A shared data source is defined on the report server and it can be used by multiple reports. It is useful when we have data sources that we use often.

Where do we create an embedded data source?

You can create an embedded data source in the Bold Reports Designer page. First, launch the Bold Reports On-Premise server demo site, referring to these steps to create a report, and create a new report.

Open the Data pane in the configuration panel.

Data panel view
Data pane view

Open the kebab menu on the top-right corner and switch to Datasources view.

Data source switcher
Data source switcher

Refer to the Create an Embedded Data Source documentation to learn more about the embedded data source creation procedure.

Where do we create a shared data source?

We can create a shared data source in the Bold Reports On-Premise server. Refer to the Create a Shared Data Source documentation to learn about the shared data source creation procedure.

Shared data sources listed in server
Shared data sources listed in server

We can import the shared data source in the report using Report Designer. Refer to the  Link a Shared Data Source documentation to learn the step-by-step procedure for importing the shared data source in a report.

What is a data set?

A data set is simply a query on a data source to get just the records you need for a report. For example, there may be hundreds of tables in a data source. But you probably only want data from just a few tables. This specific data is a data set. Like with data sources, RDL standard reporting supports embedded data sets and shared data sets.

Embedded data set

An embedded data set is defined in a report and used only by that report. The query is stored in the report as part of the data definition.

Shared data set

A shared data set is defined on the report server and can be used by multiple reports. If you need to change the data set, you can do it in once place and the change will reflect in all the supporting reports. Usually, a shared data set will be based on a shared data source.

Where do we create an embedded data set?

You can create an embedded data set in Bold Reports Designer page. As a first step, launch the Bold Reports on-premise server demo site, referring to the steps to create a report, and create a new report.

Open the Data pane from configuration panel.

Data pane view
Data pane view

Refer to the “Create an Embedded Data Set” documentation to learn about embedded data set creation procedure.

Where do we create a shared data set?

We can create a shared data set in the Bold Reports On-Premise server home page. Refer to the Create Shared Data Set documentation to learn about the shared data set creation procedure.

Shared data set listed in server
Shared data set listed in server

We can import a shared data set in a report using Report Designer. Refer to the Link a Shared Data Set documentation to learn the step-by-step procedure for this.

You can use this data to build a report with simple drag-and-drop widgets and collaborate with other users on it.

Conclusion

I hope this blog provided a clear overview of data and how to connect to data in Bold Reports. To explore further, go through our sample reports and Bold Reports documentation.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section. You can also contact us through our contact page or, if you already have an account, you can log in to submit your support question.

Bold Reports now comes with a 15-day free trial with no credit card information required. We welcome you to start a free trial and experience Bold Reports for yourself. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

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