YAPS about SSRS Branding

Last time I posted (and I can’t believe it was several months ago), I indicated that I was done with writing about branding because it’s so much easier in 2016 – and it is.


In the past couple of weeks I’ve had to downgrade a couple of servers from Enterprise to Standard Edition, including a server hosting SSRS 2016.  I used these instructions, btw, which really work, although I’ve scripted and saved out every piece of server information/config I could think of, each server, just in case.

Until doing so, I hadn’t realized that the Standard Edition doesn’t have the nice branding capability found in Enterprise.  It’s actually documented that the feature isn’t supported in Standard, I just hadn’t noticed.  But I did, when I downgraded this instance.  See?


The astute among you may notice that, although the tab is missing, and although I didn’t do anything to make this happen, the custom branding still appears to be in place, in the second screen shot. 

… Hmmm.

Gives you something to think about.  Although downgrading requires you to be very fastidious about keeping to the same folders for your replacement/downgraded installation, I doubt that this has anything to do with customized files left on disk by the Enterprise uninstall.

It’s far more likely to be due to my use of the same ReportServer database after the downgrade.  Take a look at the contents of the Catalog table, and you’ll see that my uploaded zipfile from the Enterprise installation remains in the table:

… as do the contents of the zip file, as additional rows.  The ParentID for DUoC.zip is still UniversalBrand.  And the UniversalBrand rows’ Property XML points to the DUoC.zip record, I guess, as the in-use branding:

… so it looks to me that, if you put the proper contents into a ReportServer db, even without downgrading, you can have custom branding according to the new/zipfile packaging system in SSRS 2016.

What else is possible?

I wonder if I could brand a Developer instance and then use that ReportServer catalog for a branded Standard instance?

Hmm.. maybe this is one of the reasons that upgrading a Developer instance is no longer supported to anything but an Enterprise edition.  As recently as 2014, this was not the case.  Here, look for yourself at the difference.

I hope somebody writes and tells me, if you’ve played with this.

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