Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is the comprehensive server-based reporting solution that enables the creation, management and delivery of both traditional, paper reports and interactive, web-based reports. By using VB, C# and ASP.NET you can create powerful reports without programming knowledge. Originally distributed as an add-on to SQL Server 2000, it now comes with the new SQL Server 2005.
Professional SQL Server Reporting Services was written to cover the features of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS). It is geared for report designers, developers, administrators and those who are learning about the advanced capabilities of SSRS.
Professional SQL Server Reporting Services is contained in 13 chapters divided into five sections. I will concentrate my review on the five sections. To use this book you will need any non-express edition of SQL Server 2005 (SQL Server express with Advance Services Download comes with the report server only, no report builder), Windows 2000 or greater and if you want to use the report server, you will need IIS.
Part 1 “Getting Started” provides an introduction to what the features and capabilities of SSRS are. You will get a high level overview of what you can use the reporting services for, as well as learning about delivery on demand reporting. You will learn a little about the history of SSRS and the architecture, how reports are stored and how they can be built into applications. Finally, you will learn about the mechanics of the reporting services and the functional areas and how they relate to your business needs.
Part 2 “Report Design” will show you that designing a report can be as simple as running a wizard or as complex as you want to make it. You’ll begin by learning the fundamentals of creating basic reports. Then you will learn how to design your data access to add more power to your reports. Then you will learn how to creatively use data groups and combinations of report items. Lastly you will take your new found knowledge into the business world and learn how to manage projects.
Part 3 “Enabling End User Reporting with Report Builder” will introduce you to the report builder platform and show you that a report model is the key component behind performing ad hoc queries. You will build a report model using sample data. Then you will learn how to format, sort, filter data, and perform calculations, as well as how to manage and administrate reports.
Part 4 “Administering Reporting Services” will show you how to keep data secure and available to the correct users. You will learn how to configure server-side reports as well as optimize performance. Here you will also learn how to automate report delivery, Administrate report server, and how to use the configuration tools and utilities.
Part 5 “Reporting Services Integration and the Reporting Services Web Services” will show you how to integrate your reports into an application. Here you will learn how to use URLs to access reports from documents and web page links. You will also learn how to the built in modular and extensible architecture to customize, extend and expand the SSRS to support your business intelligence reporting needs.
Finally, the appendixes include information for migrating access reports, a reporting service object reference, as well as Transact-SQL syntax, commands and functions.
By nature, I think that this is a good book, easy to read and understand. I think that the term “Professional” could be perhaps a little misleading in that this book covers from the basics of SSRS to an intermediate, maybe hitting on some advanced topics as well. Professional in the sense that it is a professional SQL Server topic, that would be a true statement. With the fact that SSRS will be new to a lot of people, this book provides a complete pathway to learning reporting services.