Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server
Report Libraries
Report Libraries are document libraries tailored to contain reports and dashboards. The primary addition
to regular document libraries is the support for retaining report histories for each report in the library. A
good example is a monthly inventory report. If you want to keep a copy of your monthly inventory reports
(so you can return to any given month and view inventory, for example), you’ll need a copy of the report as
it was at the end of every month. However, a simple document library would quickly become cluttered if
you tried to store all of these reports in it.
Report Libraries enable you to save the history for the report and collapse it behind a single entry point
for the inventory report. In the basic views of the Report Library, you see only the latest copy of the
inventory report listed. Through the Report Library menu, you can expand and see all the historical copies of
this report.
Report Libraries also include a number of default fields and views that are common in reporting
Data Connection Libraries
Data Connection Libraries (DCLs) are document libraries extended and tailored to contain data
connection definitions. In general, DCLs are geared to hold files that contain connection information for
applications such as Excel to connect to external data sources.
Because data sources are stored in a central location on an Office SharePoint Server, end users and
administrators can locate and maintain them more easily. For example, if you are in Excel and want to connect to an
external data source, you can browse through the list of data connections that have already been defined
and saved in a DCL. These connections are represented by descriptive names and text, making them easy
to identify. Based on these, you can select the data source that you’re interested in and Excel will connect to
it. You don’t need to know the various technical details of the data connection definition (such as the server
name, the database name, and query).
Storing data connection definitions in central DCLs also makes it easier to manage data connections.
Because the data definition is stored in one location, you only need to update it in that location.
As an example, consider a data connection file that defines the connection information for a sales
database. Many Excel users have authored workbooks that connect to that sales database, all using the data
connection information stored in that file. If the administrator of that database needs to move the data
to a different machine, he or she only has to update the data connection definition in the one central
location stored in the DCL. The next time the Excel workbooks that use this connection are opened,
they will automatically update to the new connection information and the new machine name, and the
data is refreshed. This saves the administrator from needing to maintain and update every single
workbook manually.
Chapter 5 covers data connections and DCLs as they pertain to Excel Services in depth.
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