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Creating Custom Data Extensions for SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services

Microsoft's SQL Server Reporting Services was created with extensibility in mind. Learn how to create your own custom data extensions to take advantage of this powerful new tool.




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n early 2004, Microsoft released a new set of extensions to SQL Server 2000 called SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services. SQL Server Reporting Services provides a comprehensive platform for creating, managing, securing, scheduling, and outputting data from SQL Server, Oracle, OLE DB and ODBC data sources. When Microsoft created SQL Server Reporting Services they created it as an extendable platform. You can create your own data extensions and your own output extensions. In this article, I'll show you how to create your own custom data extensions for SQL Server Reporting Services.

You can download a 120-day evaluation copy of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services from the SQL Server Web site. After downloading the reporting services you simply run the installer. The installer installs two sets of components: the Reporting Server components and Report Designer components. The server components require that you've installed Internet Information Services (IIS) on the server where you install Reporting Services. Reporting Services uses a Web service-based API that requires IIS. The report designer is hosted inside of Visual Studio .NET 2003 and requires any standard edition or better of a Visual Studio .NET 2003 product to be installed wherever you install the designer. When I am developing reports I generally install the server and the designer components on the same machine. When I am done working on my reports I then deploy them to a production report server. Once you have installed the various server and client components you can go to work creating your first report.

Creating Your First Report
After installing Reporting Services you can create your first report. To create your report you need to launch Visual Studio .NET and create a new report project by selecting File and then select New Project. This will open the New Project dialog box. Select the Business Intelligence project type. You can then create a project using a wizard or you can create an empty Report Project. Figure 1 shows the Business Intelligence project types. Once you have created your reporting project you can create a new report by right-clicking on the reports folder in project. You have two options at this point. You can select Add New Report which will activate the Report Wizard. The second option is to select Add New Item. This option will bring up the Add New Item dialog box (see Figure 2) which allows you to create a new report from scratch.

Figure 1. New Project Dialog Box: The figure shows SQL Server Reporting Services project templates.
Figure 2. Add New Item Dialog Box: This figure shows the SQL Server Reporting Services item types.
After you create your new blank report you will be presented with your report in the Visual Studio IDE. Now you can go to work on creating your report.

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