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How to Host Reports Service in ASP.NET Core 2.1 and 2.2

This article guides you how to host a Reports Web Service in order to expose the Reports Generation Engine to an ASP.NET Core 2.1 / 2.2 Web Application.

The guide is separated into sections for readability reasons. Along with the steps, it elaborates on the concepts and theory behind each step.

Prerequisites

Creating a Sample ASP.NET Core Project

First, you need to create a new ASP.NET Core project:

  1. Open Visual Studio 2017 Update 3 or later.

  2. From the File menu, select New > Project.

  3. In the New Project dialog, expand Installed > Visual C# > Web, and select ASP.NET Core Web Application project template. Choose a name for the project and click OK.

  4. On the New ASP.NET Core Web Application dialog select from the drop downs .NET Core and ASP.NET Core 2.1. Next, from the list of templates select API.

Add Report Definitions

In this tutorial, the resulting service will use the sample report definitions deployed with the Telerik Reporting product installer:

  1. Locate the sample reports in {Telerik Reporting installation path}\Report Designer\Examples.

  2. Add a new folder to your solution called Reports and copy all sample reports into it.

  3. Later in the tutorial we will make sure that the ReportsController is able to resolve the definitions for the requested reports from this project folder.

It is recommended to use declarative definitions (TRDP/TRDX) authored using the Standalone Report Designer or the Web Report Designer in order to take advantage of their design-time tooling because the VS integrated report designer tooling is still not available in .NET Core projects.

Existing .NET Framework report libraries can be migrated to declarative report definitions as well. The other available approach is designing reports in a separate Telerik Report Library created against .NET Framework 4.0+ which later must be migrated to a .NET Standard or .NET Core library. For more information, please refer to Guidance for using reports from an existing .NET Framework 4+ report library in a .NET Core application knowledge based article. Design-time support is not yet provided for .Net Core Telerik Report Library (Class Library) projects storing the report definitions.

Add the required dependencies

This guide applies the recommended NuGet package references approach to add the dependencies:

  1. Reference the Telerik.Reporting.Services.AspNetCore (or Telerik.Reporting.Services.AspNetCore.Trial) package.

  2. Optionally, for export to Office OpenXML document formats (XLSX, DOCX and PPTX), install the Telerik.Reporting.OpenXmlRendering (or Telerik.Reporting.OpenXmlRendering.Trial) NuGet package and the DocumentFormat.OpenXML NuGet package version 2.7.2.0 and above.

The Telerik Reporting engine and services assemblies are built against .NET Standard 2.0 framework where applicable, which ensures compatibility with a greater variety of frameworks and applications.

The recommended way of adding the necessary dependencies is to use the Progress Telerik proprietary NuGet feed and reference the dependencies as NuGet packages. This would also add all indirect dependencies to your project bringing easier dependency management.

Alternatively, the assemblies are available in the \Bin\netstandard2.0\ folder of Telerik Reporting installation directory. However, this would require to manually add all indirect dependencies listed in the Requirements section of the .NET Core Support section.

The Reporting engine relies on the GDI+ API which is available on the Windows OS. On Linux and macOS we use library called libgdiplus instead. The GDI+ API is required for measuring, laying out, rendering the text glyphs and images.

Add Configuration Settings (Optional)

The report generation engine can retrieve Sql Connection Strings and specific Report Generation Engine Settings that provide flexibility of the deployed application.

.NET Core applications provide a new way of storing the configuration - a key-value JSON-based file named appSettings.json. To activate JSON file configuration, call the AddJsonFile extension method on an instance of ConfigurationBuilder.

In this guide we will create a helper class loading the json-formatted setting:

C#
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Hosting;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Configuration;
using Microsoft.Extensions.DependencyInjection;

static class ConfigurationHelper
{
    public static IConfiguration ResolveConfiguration(IHostingEnvironment environment)
    {
        // If a specific appsettings.json needs to be passed to the reporting engine, add it through a new IConfiguration instance.
        /*
        var reportingConfigFileName = System.IO.Path.Combine(environment.ContentRootPath, "reportingAppSettings.json");
        return new ConfigurationBuilder()
            .AddJsonFile(reportingConfigFileName, true)
            .Build();
        */

        // otherwise instantiate the default builder which will use the default appSettings.json and appSettings.{environment}.json files.
        var defaultBuilder = Microsoft.AspNetCore.WebHost.CreateDefaultBuilder()
            .Build();
        return defaultBuilder.Services.GetService<IConfiguration>();
    }
}

Finally, all configurations should be placed in appsettings.json (add one in the project root if such does not exist). For example, ConnectionStrings setting should be configured in JSON-based format like this:

JSON
{
  ...
  "ConnectionStrings": {
    "Telerik.Reporting.Examples.CSharp.Properties.Settings.TelerikConnectionString": "Data Source=.\\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks;Integrated Security=true"
  }
}

The above type of connection string lacks information about the data provider and will use System.Data.SqlClient as provider invariant name. When it's necessary to specify a different data provider, the following notation is also supported:

JSON
{
  ...
  "ConnectionStrings": {
    "Telerik.Reporting.Examples.CSharp.Properties.Settings.TelerikConnectionString": {
      "connectionString": "Data Source=.\\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks;Integrated Security=true",
      "providerName": "System.Data.SqlClient"
    }
  }
}

The two types of connection string notations specified above can coexist in a single ConnectionStrings section.

The last supported type of ConnectionStrings configuration uses an array to provide information about each connection string:

JSON
{
  ...
  "ConnectionStrings": [
    {
      "name": "Telerik.Reporting.Examples.CSharp.Properties.Settings.TelerikConnectionString",
      "connectionString": "Data Source=.\\SQLEXPRESS;Initial Catalog=AdventureWorks;Integrated Security=true",
      "providerName": "System.Data.SqlClient"
    }
  ]
}

Setup the Startup.cs file for the Reports service

The ConfigureServices method inside the Startup.cs in the project should be modified in order to enable the Reports Service functionality.

Add the dedicated configuration object needed from the Reports Service in the dependency container. Note how the report source resolver will target the Reports folder we created earlier.

C#
// Configure dependencies for ReportsController.
services.TryAddSingleton<IReportServiceConfiguration>(sp =>
    new ReportServiceConfiguration
    {
        ReportingEngineConfiguration = ConfigurationHelper.ResolveConfiguration(sp.GetService<IHostingEnvironment>()),
        HostAppId = "ReportingCore2App",
        Storage = new FileStorage(),
        ReportSourceResolver = new UriReportSourceResolver(
            System.IO.Path.Combine(sp.GetService<IHostingEnvironment>().ContentRootPath, "Reports"))
    });

Setting up the REST service

  1. Implement a Reports controller. Right-click on the Controllers folder and add a new item: Add - New item - Web API Controller Class item. Name it ReportsController. This will be our Telerik Reporting REST service in the project.

  2. Inherit the ReportsControllerBase type and inject the configuration settings in the constructor. This is how a basic implementation of the controller should look like:

    C#
    namespace AspNetCoreDemo.Controllers
    {
        using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;
        using Telerik.Reporting.Services;
        using Telerik.Reporting.Services.AspNetCore;
    
        [Route("api/reports")]
        public class ReportsController : ReportsControllerBase
        {
            public ReportsController(IReportServiceConfiguration reportServiceConfiguration)
                : base(reportServiceConfiguration)
            {
            }
        }
    }

Test the service implementation

To ensure that the service operates, run the application and navigate to URL {applicationRoot}/api/reports/formats. It should return a JSON representing the supported rendering extensions.

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