I’ve never, ever, ever, been excited about report writing software, nor about integrating report writing software into a product. It is one of those mundane tasks you have to get tough and do now and then, like going to your bi-annual dental checkup. However, there is something about a web service API and an XML based report definition language that makes me want to give it a go soon and replace the “other” reporting software in a current application I work on.
I’m not alone in thinking the “other” reporting software drives programmers to shout vulgarities. An informal poll shows if the “other” reporting software was a person, a majority of developers would want to “give it a sharp kick in the knee”.
I think some of backlash comes from the “it is so easy anyone can do it” hype. I once had to monitor a 2 day training class (subject for another story) where unsuspecting victims were trained to use the “other” reporting software. None of these four had ever seen a SQL statement before in their lives. The expectation was for the trainees to be able to start cranking out ad-hoc reports on a 100+ GB data warehouse immediately afterwards. Can you say stress test?
The beta looked pretty solid. I’m sure reporting services is going to make some big inroads by the end of the year.