Too Many Issues To Count – Creating Reports In Visual Studio

For various reasons, I’ve had to install Visual Studio on a laptop several times over the past year or so. Maybe it’s just bad luck, but I have had issues each time, and each time I’ve been my only line of support to figure out how to resolve those issues. I thought it might be helpful (even if it’s just to myself in the future if I have issues again!) to document in case it helps someone else. This is with Visual Studio 2015, and needing to use it to write FetchXML reports for Dynamics 365 (CRM).

So the first issue was when opening Visual Studio itself. The Start Page would load, but NOTHING could be clicked on. It would freeze, and the only way to close the program was by opening up the task manager. I tried it several times, rebooted the machine… nothing got it to work.

I found a lot of articles that suggested turning off WiFi (or disconnecting to the internet) and opening it again. That didn’t work. Then I tried running as an administrator. Still nothing. I then found articles that suggested using the Developer Command Prompt for VS2015 (found by searching from the start menu). I found suggestions that worked for some, by running devenv.exe /SafeMode in the command prompt. I also found many things suggesting deleting settings/files etc. Nothing worked.

So, next thing, and it seems quite simple now, I went to Add/Remove programs from the Control Panel, and did a search for 2015, bringing up anything related to Visual Studio 2015. From there, select the program and click Modify. I then selected the Repair option. It took a long time to run through, so there were obviously a lot of missing elements, but once it was finished, I was able to open Visual Studio and click on menu items etc. Hooray! 🙂 But that’s not the end of it 🙁

If you are writing reports, you need to start by creating a Report Server Project. This was missing, so that needed to be sorted next. In order to do this, you need to download and install the SQL Server Data Tools which can be found here. This ran without any issues. Then the next time I opened Visual Studio and created a Project, the Business Intelligence templates were available, and I could create a Report Server Project.

That’s still not it though 🙁 No sir! In order to then create FetchXML reports (for Dynamics 365), you need to use the embedded connection type of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch.

And of course, this isn’t something that is installed with Visual Studio either! So, now you need to install the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension, which can be found here. Quickly run and I am done? Nope, more errors! I get the following:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Report Authoring Extension Setup
Action Microsoft.Crm.Setup.Common.Analyzer+CollectAction failed.
Fatal error during installation

Luckily (?) I had seen this before, but hadn’t ever documented how I fixed it, so back to Google. I knew it was related to something to do with the registry, and I needed to delete some duplicate registry keys. Thankfully I found this article which explains why it happens and how to fix it (with details on the exact registry key to look for and delete!

I ran through the installation for the authoring extension again, and it ran smoothly. I was able to open Visual Studio, create a Report Server Project, then create a new report with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch connection type.

Hopefully I won’t ever have to setup Visual Studio again, at least not for a VERY LONG TIME! But if I do, I will probably be glad of this article. It might just help someone else in the same boat, or series of boats 🙂

** UPDATE – 28/02/2018 **

I’ve been reminded by a couple of people about another little quirk to be aware of. Once you have created your report, when you try and upload it to D365, you get this:

I remember the first time I got this, took me a while to figure it out, but this article explains why it happens, and how to fix it. Read it for more detail, but simple steps, go to the Report Server Project, then to the Project properties.

Scroll to the bottom of the list of items, and click on the option for the TargetServerVersion. By default it will be ‘SQL Server 2016 or later’. Make sure this is set to ‘SQL Server 2008 R2, 2012 or 2014’.

Also, when adding your report, you might be tempted to grab the report file from the main project folder:

Instead, drill down further and go to the bin folder, then the Debug folder. This is where you will need to get the rdl file from.

Any other gotchas?

2 thoughts on “Too Many Issues To Count – Creating Reports In Visual Studio

  1. Good one! Let us know when you hit the first snags with deploying reports, there are some nice gotchas, especially if you’re usign CRM On Premises. For example, making sure the TargetServerVersion matches the SQL Server version your CRM is using.

    1. Yes, I should probably update the blog. Also, the fact that you need to get the rdl file from the bin>Debug folder rather than the top level folder for the project!

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