Opinion Poll: Creating Reports in SQL Express 2008

The Reporting Services team is developing a new report designer tool that we're considering including in SQL Server Express 2008 with Advanced Services. This new report designer has a different user experience that is more geared toward information workers than developers. You can take a look at a preview of the new designer by downloading the SQL Server Developer 2008 November CTP. Once installed, you can find it at Start | All Programs | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 | Reporting Services | Report Designer Preview.


So why am I telling you this?

I'm interested in your opinions of this tool and the idea of having the new Report Designer as part of SQL Express instead of BIDs. (Don't worry: BIDs will still be available in other SQL Server 2008 editions, just not in Express.) I think the look and feel of the new Report Designer will be easier to use for most SQL Express users while still offering all the major report design functionality that folks need.

The only features that won't be exposed in the new designer are related to more advanced development tasks, such as creating managed assemblies to use in your reports.

Reply requested

Register your opinion about this change by either posting a comment in this blog or by using the EMAIL link at the top of the blog to send mail to the team. We're interested in what you think.

Provide feedback

If you have feedback on the new Report Designer (features or bugs) you can post those through MS Connect, start at https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer. You will have to register on the site to gain access, but once you do you will find information about our Community Technology Previews (CTPs) and a place to post your feedback.

  • Mike

    SQL Express team

Comments (9)

  1. Alberto Morillo says:

    Hi SQL Express Team,

    It’s a very nice tool, very intuitive and easy to use.

    However, I would like to have a way to drag table/view/field names into the query editor and not having to remember them.  I actually build my queries using MSSMS Query Editor.

  2. Alberto Morillo says:

    Thank you for your interest in our opinions.


    Alberto Morillo

  3. sqloogle says:


    Thats a great feature to blend into SQLExpress 2008, agree that not all from BIDS should made available.

    -Satya (MVP)

  4. TimStspry says:

    Hi everyone, that sounds like a terrific idea to me.  I am all for making the development of reports easier for non developer types.  I am looking forward to seeing this feature in the RTM!


  5. GraemeW says:

    Having spent some time trying to convince Reporting Services to talk to SQL Server 2005 with appropriate permissions, my earnest request would be to eliminate connection strings (or hide them under the covers, I suppose).  Management Studio uses a simple login that just seems to work, and even ODBC connections aren’t hard to construct using the wizard behind the control panel.

    When I’m installing and setting up Reporting Services Express, why can’t I give it the sa password to SQL Server Express, and let the installer create a Reporting Services user with read-only access to the other databases on the server?

    My dream enhancement would be Reporting Services Express hosted on IIS Express, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the semi-unreliable process of coaxing IIS off a Windows CD.

  6. quux says:

    This question isn’t related to the topic of the blog entry, but I was wondering:

    Why does SQL Express 2005 store its databases at "C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL ServerMSSQL.1MSSQLData" ? I thought storing data in Program Files was considered a bad thing, to be avoided?

    Since Windows 200 ( http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms995853.aspx ) and probably before, the app guidelines have said not to store data in Program Files.

    I ran into this problem today: I’m on Vista, running as a nonadmin user (rather than aa a UAC-protected Administrator). The system is in a domain, and also uses Folder Redirection. I wanted to use C# Express 2008 to connect to a database I created in SQL 2005 Express (SP2).  But to do this you must specify the full file path to the database.mdf … and it is two levels deeper in ‘Program Files’ than users are allowed to go without elevation.

    C# Express 2008 wants to create any new databases in the user’s ‘MyDocs’, but when that’s redirected to a network share, the .mdf will not work.

    So, I’m kinda stuck!

    For those of us who drink the kool-aid and truly run nonadmin while developing: is there a recommended safe way to move the database files? Will you change the installer for the next version of SQL Express so that they are stored to a ‘UAC safe’ location, or so that the user can specify their location during install?

    I’ll find a workaround that works for /me/, but the whole episode has been a little bit annoying.

    Thanks for listening!


  7. sqlexpress says:

    Response to quux –

    This question would be better posted to the SQL Express forum on MSDN at http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=385&SiteID=1. If you repost it there I’ll give a more complete answer.

    In short, we won’t be changng the location where SQL Express stores it’s databases. In general terms, SQL Server is not the type of application that is being described in the topic you reference, it is a Service based, multi-user database engine and does not operate under the same set of rules followed by single user application.

    To handle single user like applications, SQL Express has implemented a feature called user instances that does store data in the user profle, which is user accessible under Vista. User Instances are also completely functional for non-administrative users. VS Express makes use of user instances for just this reason and this is why you see VS trying to create database in a different location.

    It’s true that SQL Express does not support connecting to database files located on a network share, this is a limtation that is built into the product for reasons that are byond the scope of my response here. In your specific case you’ve hit an unfortunate boundary where two unrelated features are in conflict. I’ll file this as a bug for consideration in a future version of the product.

    You can change the location where SQL Express creates it’s databases both during installation and by changing the server settings after installation. Setting the Data directory to a location in a specific user profile would only work in cases where where there would never be more that a single user of the instance.

    As I said, this can be discussed in more detail if you want to move this to the fourms. SQL Server can be confusing when you first start using it because it is not a client application such as Word or Excel, it is a server application and as such different rules apply and different behaviors are enforce. SQL Express takes this one step further by the implementation of user instances, which enable client-like behavior, but introduces as "split personality" for Express because the User Instance is actually a completely separate running program from the parent instance and has to be considered separately.


  8. I asked for your oppinions about a new Report Designer in one of my earlier posts in this blog. I wanted

  9. I asked for your oppinions about a new Report Designer in one of my earlier posts in this blog. I wanted

Skip to main content