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Adam Jacobson

Recent Posts

SSRS Consultant Tip: Conditional Formatting

Adam Jacobson July 27,2017

Anyone who’s in software development, and works directly with business users, knows that no matter how much things change, one rule remains:

You never get credit for what’s hard. You may, however, get credit for what’s pretty.

In that spirit, I’m going to write a few posts on making things prettier in SSRS. And today, I’m going to discuss conditional formatting.

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Tags: SSRS

Explaining SQL Server Security, Part 3: Permissions

Adam Jacobson July 25,2017

In an earlier couple of posts, I had described three critical elements of SQL Server security: pieces, people and permissions.

For a non-technical person (such as, perhaps, an auditor) to understand SQL Server security, they need to have a grasp of all three elements.

You can read more about the four pieces of SQL Server as well as the different types of people (i.e. logins).

In this post, I’m going to cover the third essential element: Permissions.

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Tags: SQL

Explaining SQL Server Security, Part 2: People

Adam Jacobson July 20,2017

In an earlier post, I explained three essential elements of SQL Server security: pieces, people and permissions. Your auditor (or any other non-technical person) will need to have an understanding of all three parts to understand how security works in SQL Server.

In this post, I’m going to explain the second element: People.

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Tags: SQL

Explaining SQL Server Security, Part 1: Pieces

Adam Jacobson July 18,2017

I get calls from clients to answer auditor questions on a somewhat regular basis. These questions usually start with the accounting software and then drill down to the database level. Then, I often get this entirely reasonable question: Who can change data on SQL Server?

This is, as I said, an entirely reasonable question. Unfortunately, sometimes the person asking the question knows next to nothing about SQL Server. Which makes it difficult to answer this question without launching into a lengthy explanation of SQL Server Security 101.

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Tags: SQL

SSRS Consultant Tip: Multiple and Shared Datasets

Adam Jacobson June 29,2017

As I’ve said before, the cardinal rule of well-performing reports is to use SQL Server for your processing, and not SSRS. Instead, save SSRS for presenting and distributing data. (And here's why.) 

In addition, you should create and store these procedures as views first, and then as a stored procedure, if necessary.

Continuing our discussion, let’s talk about datasets.

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Tags: SSRS

SSRS Consultant Tip: Stored Procedures vs. Views for SSRS Reports

Adam Jacobson June 27,2017

I hope I’ve convinced you in my previous post to develop and store your SQL on the database and my rationale for that argument.

The next question is how to create and keep this code on the server. You have lots of options, such as views, stored procedures, functions, simple data marts and even SSAS.

In this analysis, I’m going to focus on views and stored procedures. That’s where I spend most of my time and is most relevant for “next level” super users.

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Tags: SSRS

SSRS Consultant Tip: Keep Your SQL in Your Database

Adam Jacobson June 22,2017

As I started this series, I emphasized the importance of using SSRS for what it does best, not for everything it can do. I ended the post by noting the importance of having someone on your team with knowledge of T-SQL and access to the database.

Whenever I make this point, whether in presentations or with colleagues, they ask me to back up my argument. So let me lay it out for you here:

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Tags: SSRS

SSRS Consultant Tip: What SSRS Does Well (And What It Doesn’t)

Adam Jacobson June 20,2017

I recently presented on SSRS at the NAV Focus Conference in St. Louis. As often happens at these events, I wasn’t exactly sure who was going to show up and what they would already know. (Especially at an event like this, which had a development track but with no specified levels.)

In any case, it became clear to me that many folks in the audience could benefit from a series of posts aimed at a “SSRS 102” level. They’ve mastered “SSRS 101” material—they can create a basic report and know what data source, datasets and reports are—but now, they’re ready to move up.

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Tags: SSRS

Understanding the NAV Database, Part 2—Fields in NAV That Aren’t in SQL Server

Adam Jacobson May 9,2017

In May, I’m presenting at the NAVUG Focus conference on the topic of “BFFs with SSRS.” (Not a title I chose. Please.) In preparation, I’ve been doing more work on the database, and I thought it worth writing up some of my findings.

In this post, I’m going to review three fields that are in the NAV table but aren’t (or aren’t obviously) in SQL Server:

  • Option fields
  • Flow filter fields (FlowFilter)
  • Sum index fields (SumIndexFields).
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Tags: Dynamics NAV

Azure SQL Database vs. SQL Server on an Azure Virtual Machine

Adam Jacobson April 18,2017

I’m working on my first paid project using Azure. Previously, I’d set up test databases in Azure but nothing focuses the mind like having to get something working for a real client. I am hardly an Azure expert, but most of my clients are interested in or using some sort of cloud application, of which Azure SQL database is one. So, part of my motivation for writing this post is to get my thoughts clear.

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Tags: SQL