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SSRS Report Builder

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Reporting Services in SQL Server 2005 will introduce a new ad-hoc reporting control – the Report Builder. You can view a demo of the new features in a Microsoft On-Demand Webcast: End-User, Ad Hoc Reporting in SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services with Brian Welcker and Carolyn Chau as the presenters.

The Report Builder is not available in the current beta release (beta 2) of 2005, but should be available for beta 3.

Some interesting features include:

- The Report Builder will give end users a way to edit and create reports in Reporting Services. You can restrict who can use the Report Builder, in fact, the feature is disabled by default.

- The Report Builder Client does not have a crappy web interface, it uses ClickOnce deployment to put a rich .NET WinForms application on the client!

- The Report Builder uses semantic metadata to present a “report model“ of the data source to the end user. The end user does not need to know SQL or MDX to build reports.

- SSRS can generate the report model, you’ll also be able to use the Model Designer to edit and augment the model (this will be a new project type in VS.NET). It looks as if the model designer and auto-generation is only available for MS SQL Server and MS Analysis Services.

- The report model also allows tools to automatically generate dill-through reports. If there is a link to describe another layer of data, the user can drill.

- There is still a Report Designer in Visual Studio.NET, which is more powerful than the Report Builder. The Report Builder is for end users, the Report Designer is for report developers. You can import a Report Builder report into the Report Designer to add lower level features, but not vice versa.

- Licensing: there is no additional license to purchase for Report Builder, it is part of the SQL Server 2005 license. For per-CPU licensing, this means unlimited users.