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Reporting Strictly for Developers: Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services

With the release of SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft finally makes a commitment to developer-centric reporting. They've integrated the design-time environment integration with Visual Studio and enabled report delivery through Web browsers, PDFs, Excel, and XML. Learn how to make this tool work for you.

ost report design tools attempt to please both developers and non-technical end users by combining high levels of flexibility and power and ease-of-use. This accommodation naturally requires various sacrifices on both sides. With the Reporting Services Report Designer, Microsoft has abandoned this strategy and made a commitment to the developer. The most obvious indicator of this is that the design-time environment has been integrated into Visual Studio rather than it being a standalone application.

Reporting Services is a Web-enabled reporting tool that delivers reports via a Web browser. It also, or can be used to exports to a variety of formats, including Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Microsoft Excel, and XML. It ships with an easy-to-use, Web-based report manager which allows users to schedule and run reports and export them to a variety of formats.

How You Get It
SQL Server Reporting Services is an add-on to SQL Server 2000—you must own a license for SQL Server on a server in order to use Reporting services on that same server. Existing SQL Server owners can get it at no additional license cost (other than postage and handling).

MSDN subscribers can download Reporting Services from the MSDN subscriber downloads site. Everyone else can contact their local Microsoft office to order Reporting Services on a CD—check out the Web site for more information.

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