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SQL Server Reporting Services

SQL Server Reporting Services – Microsoft Reporting Services – Microsoft Visual Basic Reports – Microsoft Visual Studio Reports

Whatever name you want to give them there is a great capacity in cutting edge Microsoft developer’s tools. You have to give it to them; they do continue to roll out tool after tool aimed solely at developers. Being a diehard fan of crystal reports and having written a fair few Visual Basic reports in Microsoft access back in school I wasn’t expecting to be that happy changing again, adapting to a new set of tools. SSRS though is actually quite good. A little learning about the structure of VS08 report writing/deploying and I was there.

I think there is still the need to bridge the gap for Microsoft, from SQL Management Studio (which by the way just gets better with age) to its reporting arm. Writing a query in SQL Management Studio and copying it is all well and good, but essentially it requires training a user up, giving rights and permissions to a user in two different contexts (that of the report deploying and writing environment and also SQL MGR Studio.) For the apt this is quickly picked up but when training the less capable there seems almost a gap between the two products. While we can all endeavour to employ only the talented, it would be the icing on the cake if a more simplistic solution was available.

Once over the initial hurdles of SSRS it soon steps up to crystal reports and certainly is capable of completing on 95% of the reports I have ever written. Crystal Reports does still have a minute edge in my mind but the learning curve to use Visual Studio to write reports was tiny, excellent for management reporting.

If you are using or have used crystal reports, I would suggest recreating a few reports in Sql server reporting services from scratch, maybe getting a book (SSRS 2005
or 2008) on it if you don’t feel confident enough to wing it. You should find it easy to pick up and it’s an invaluable tool for management and integration into any web application.

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