xmlRSDocs Deployment and Use

See the Spacefold page for all xmlRSDocs- and RDLDocumenter- related files, including full source.
click these symbols to expand and collapse doc sections below: section open section close 
Click this symbol preview to show an illustration of the step embedded in the page; click the illustration to hide it again.
click to expand table of contents Table of Contents
What's in this document?
click to expand documentation for this sectionWhat is xmlRSDocs?
Learn about what xmlRSDocs is and does.
click to expand documentation for this sectionTest Drive xmlRSDocs: xmlRSDocsHarness
xmlRSDocsHarness lets you quickly and easily extract documentation from standard RDL/RDLCs, so you can get a feel for how the system works.You can get documentation directly from a single RDL/RDLC, or extract and store documentation data from multiple reports and document the set.
click to expand documentation for this sectionAdd custom documentation while designing any RDL: RDLDocumenterDesigner in 2005, Custom Properties in RS 2008
By default so far, you have extracted only standard RDL/RDLC elements for documentation.

While using TestHarness  for xmlRSDocs 2005 you may have seen a small control at the bottom of the form. This is a reminder that xmlRSDocs for 2005 was supplied with a ReportDesigner-hosted control, which you could use to include custom remarks about reports, or individual report elements, during your design process. When you used this control, it placed information into the RDL or RDLC that became available for extraction and inclusion in your documentation, along with the default content.

In RS 2008, RDLDocumenterDesigner is no longer needed, but the idea of custom documentation -- how you use it once added, why you might want to use it, and what general types of custom documentation you might want -- are much the same.

Click here to expand/collapse the RDLDocumenterDesigner2005-specific material in this section.

click to expand documentation for this sectionDeploy RDLDocumenter-decorated reports to a Reporting Services server (SSRS 2005 only): Options
What happens to an RDLDocumenter-decorated report when you deploy it? Here are your choices.

This section is relevant to 2005 users of RDL Documenter only.

click to expand documentation for this sectionTurn any RDL or RDLC into RDLDoc.XML: Sample VBS script
As you learned by using xmlRSDocsHarness, you don't need to add custom documentation to a report to extract a standard set of documentation from the report. You can do this without using xmlRSDocsHarness' interface, by using the simple steps shown here on any report(s) you have handy. If you have added custom documentation, either by hand-editing the XML, by creating custom properties in the 2008 Report Designer and Builder, or by using the RDLDocumenterDesigner object in the 2005 Report Designer and Builder, of course these items are extracted too.
click to expand documentation for this sectionLoad RDLDoc.XML to any database, and analyze the results: Sample SQL scripts
Just as you don't need xmlRSDocsHarness to extract documentation to docRDL.xml, you don't need xmlRSDocsHarness to move that regularly-shaped XML into a database. You can do it with the simple scripts discussed in this section.
Once you're got your docRDL data into a "real" database, the sky's the limit for the information you can pull out of it. This section introduces some SQL code useful in real-life SSRS analysis, also available in the sample code.
click to expand documentation for this sectionSet up an automated production deployment: xmlRSDoc's SSIS package(s)

xmlRSDocsHarness's internal code, and the scripts discussed in the last two sections, prototype RDLDocumenter's production processing. This section discusses the customizable SSIS packages that put everything together, to automatically extract and load documentation from a set of reports into the database of your choice.

While the two packages are very similar in approach, they are both useful, because:
  • one package uses your file system, much as xmlRSDocsHarness does, as its source. This one is a good choice if you have all your reports checked out of a source code repository, on disk, in a suitable location.
  • one package, new in this 2008 delivery, treats an SSRS ReportServer instance as its source for RDLs. This one is best if you are trying to document the existing reports on one or more servers, and don't have immediate access to them.
click to expand documentation for this sectionExtend xmlRSDocs to new documentation schemas and new types of output

The ExportRSResult output target introduced in the last section only hints at the vast number of things you can add to xmlRSDocs' default SSIS packages by adding new tasks and new types of output results into the SSIS package. You can also vastly improve the type and quality of documentation available from xmlRSDocs data by adding more metadata tables into your database, such as lookup tables that recognize documentation categories, order them intelligently, etc.

By extending other aspects of the xmlRSDocs feature set or -- more importantly -- the xmlRSDocs concept and motivating ideas, you can do much more.

© Spacefold 2011