SQL Server reporting services is very powerful – level 200

What’s in a name?  SQL Server reporting services doesn’t install as part of SQL Server.  Rather, it is an ASP.NET package that installs on the web server.  There is also a piece that installs into VS.NET.  Once it’s installed, the developer creates a new report project and chooses either a wizard or the designer.  Immediately, I realized that Microsoft had taken the powerful features in Access reports and made a .NET tool.  Reporting Services installs a powerful drag+drop designer for reports in VS.NET.  All you have to do is build your connection string and query, and then design the layout of the report.  There is also a Deploy menu option that will automatically deploy a report to the web server with reporting services installed.  Next, you give management the URL to the report, and they view it in a browser.  Fast, powerful and pretty.  Some other built-int features that will make business users drool:  Export to Excel and other formats.  At the top of every report is a combo box where the viewer can export this report to a file.  I noticed PDF was even on the list.

Kudos to Microsoft for re-releasing Access’s powerful report designer!  I installed the whole package and had an actual report deployed in an hour.