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Reporting Services News

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Here are some miscellaneous tidbits I picked up about Sql Server Reporting Services over the weekend.

Service Pack 2

It looks as if Service Pack 2 will bring some new features to Reporting Services, including client side printing, SharePoint integration, and a new Report Viewer component. The man, myth, legend, and mid-Atlantic Developer Community Champion Geoff Snowman will deliver a webcast about the new features on January 10.

People have complained about the lack of a ‘direct print’ feature in Reporting Services since the initial release. Earlier this year it was refreshing to see Group Program Manger Brian Welcker point out in the newsgroups why there is was no direct print even after SP1:

I'm not sure where the idea that client print is "simple" comes from. Since we can't use the browser print functionality (it is horrendous), we have to create an ActiveX control that collects print settings and then talks to the server to generate EMF files that can be routed to the printer. It is certainly doable, but not trivial.

That pretty much sums up my feelings about printing in Internet Explorer, both from a development viewpoint and as a user. Will it ever get any better?

PDF Troubles?

If you have a subscription setup to deliver a report in PDF format via email, you might be seeing error messages when trying to open the attached PDF. If so, check out KB 872774 and download an updated ReportingServicesEmailDeliveryProvider.dll.

In a newsgroup post, Daniel Reib (MS) said the title of the KB article is misleading. The problem is with a Unicode byte order mark in the attachment, meaning the problem is not restricted to just Lotus Domino.

Rendering In Word

I’ve heard a few people lament the fact that Reporting Services cannot render a report into Microsoft Word format. Brian Welcker also addressed this topic in a post:

“Right now, it is not scheduled for SQL 2005. It is a lot of work and we don't want to introduce a new rendering extension without the ability to get it right. Fortunately, we can add new extensions without changing the server.”

Forms Authentication

If you want to use forms or custom authentication with reporting services, then you'll need the enterprise version to develop a custom security extension. The price difference between standard and enterprise gets people a bit upset when they realize this limitation. Brian addressed this subject in the newsgroups too:

While most security extensions are used in SSO / enterprise or Internet scenarios, we understand that some people will want to use forms authentication without a full security extension. It is under consideration but not sure it will get addressed.