As a Technical Engagement Engineer, I work with a lot of ActiveReports Server customers, and I see up close the immense benefit it provides to developers, managers, end users, and report authors. While it would be a daunting task to write on all of ActiveReports Server’s many useful features, let's look at my three favorite (and arguably the best) features of ActiveReports Server: scheduled report distribution; load balancing and scalability; and its data governance and multi-tenant ready server.
1. Scheduled Report Distribution
With ARS, you can schedule reports to be delivered as various types, in many different formats. When scheduling a report for automatic distribution, you can choose the delivery type of the report (Email, Windows File Share, or Print); the format of the report (PDF, Xls, MHT, Image, Word doc, XML, or CSV); and other delivery specifications. This is all done with a few clicks through the Report Portal, under the Scheduled Tasks tab. It’s never been easier to automatically distribute your reports!
Additionally, the Run Once button was added with the release of ARS 12. This button allows you to run the scheduled delivery one time, immediately, allowing you to see the end-result of the report you're scheduling. That saves you the doubt of whether the data and format of your report is exactly how you want it!
ActiveReports Server comes prepackaged with three schedules: Daily, Weekly, and Monthly. Any user with Administrator privileges on the Server can also create custom schedules, allowing for reports to be delivered on just about any schedule you could imagine. The administrator can create schedules, specifying the recurrence details to cater to their exact scheduling needs. This includes when to repeat the distribution, whether that be in minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. You can also schedule report distribution on specific days of the week, down to specific hours and minutes of the day!
The level of detail that comes into play with scheduled report distribution makes this feature one of my favorites, hands-down. It couldn't be easier to set up your reports for automatic distribution whenever and however you want them delivered. Sit back, relax, and let ActiveReports Server scheduled report distribution take care of your report distributing needs!
2. Load Balancing and Scalability
Another favorite feature of ARS is its cost-effective and easy to manage scalability: ideal for servers with a few, or a few hundred, users. The Server’s load-balancing and scalability relies on agents, services installed on separate machines, or VMs that are responsible for the heavy lifting of ActiveReports Server. A single controller on a server works with multiple agents to allow plug-and-play expansion, while the centralized report controller distributes report execution requests between the agents for optimal performance.
And the best part about it? If one agent goes down, have no fear! The other agents will pick up the slack as needed, always ensuring reliable report execution on your Server. The agents are responsible for everything from report generation, data sources, queries, filtering, and caching.
The peace of mind that the load-balancing system brings with its agents is what puts this in my top favorite features of ARS. You don’t have to worry about your Server crashing, your report requests not executing, or anything else regarding the Server’s functionality. The agents have your back!
3. Data Governance and Multi-Tenant Ready Server
The beauty of ActiveReports Server is the total and complete control that it provides regarding what other end users and report designers can and cannot see, whether that's data sources, datasets, reports, etc. End users never need to write their own queries; they can simply use the dynamic queries defined on the server for them! The administrator sets up restrictions per the role-based security system of ARS, limiting accessible information to fit their needs. Some common use cases include limiting data by company and department; restricting sensitive information to those with proper clearance; delivering different datasets to different customers; or branding reports for different audiences.
ActiveReports Server also comes loaded with an awesome multi-tenancy capability. With its built-in extensibility for the security module, you can integrate virtually any authentication methodology or security system your application is currently using! This allows for seamless sign-in for users with existing usernames and passwords in your current security system- something almost all ARS customers utilize.
ActiveReports Server is jam-packed with some incredible features and capabilities. From simple scheduled report execution to crucial load-balancing and scalability to complete data governance and multi-tenancy capabilities, it's truly a product that meets an unbelievable number of reporting needs that other products simply do not (and cannot) meet. Most importantly, however, don’t take my word for it. Download ActiveReports Server today and let us know some of your favorite features!