Over the years I’ve been told that in order to support SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) files (RDL) that I had to install the decade-old Visual Studio 2008 product.
More recently, I came across some info that indicates that this may not be the case, so I’m sharing it here in case it is able to help someone upgrade to current tools.
To work on SSRS reports (RDL files) one needs Visual Studio 2008 with the BIDS extension installed.
BIDS download – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30438
Historically, the Visual Studio shell used to create SQL Server content types has been released under various names, including SQL Server Data Tools, SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence, and Business Intelligence Development Studio. Previous versions came with distinct sets of project templates. To get all of the project templates together in one SSDT, you need the newest version. Otherwise, you will probably need to install multiple previous versions to get all of the templates used in SQL Server. Only one shell is installed per version of Visual Studio; installing a second SSDT just adds the missing templates.
It may be possible to work on SSRS reports with Visual Studio 2017 via the Microsoft Reporting Services Projects add-on.
This requires the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) workflow to be installed via the VS 2017 installer.