Building the new builder.

As you have likely read through various avenues, including the past several CTP releases of SQL Server 2008, the SQl Server Reporting Services team has been working on the next phase of our Report Builder application.  The new end user report authoring tool for SQL Server 2008 is Report Builder 2.0 and you can download the latest version from the SQL 2008 RC0 Feature pack.

In total, there are three report authoring tools in Reporting Services for SQL Server 2008:

·         Report Designer – Our report developer-focused tool offering the full functionality of the Report Definition Language (RDL) in the Visual Studio environment.

·         Report Builder 2.0 – Our Information worker-focus report authoring environment also offering the full functionality of RDL with a Microsoft Office look and feel.

·         Report Builder 1.0 – Our ad hoc reporting tool from SQL Server 2005 with full report model support and limited RDL support.

The name for what is now Report Builder 2.0 has evolved during the full SQL Server 2008 development cycle and it has created some confusion.  It was originally called the ‘Report Designer Preview’ in several of the SQL Server 2008 CTPs.  Some of the reason(s) for the approach were to allow for iterations of development and customer feedback.  This is why the whole ‘preview’ name existed to begin with, to make it clear it was not a finished product, to get feedback on specific features/usability, as well as test the waters for ‘fit’ of the product within the user workflow.

While we moved RB2.0 forward, we were also working on the developer design experience in BIDs, migrating it to the VS 2008 infrastructure under the hoods and updating portions of the design environment so there was similarity/parity with RB2.0.  If you compare the core areas inside the two tools, you will see things are the same. For example, the grouping pane, data pane, and dialogs have the same functionality between the BIDs Report Designer and Report Builder 2.0.  This shared component approach willl allow for improved long term maintenance of the report design environments and we feel it will be more ‘familiar’ for users who use/move between tools.

·         RB2.0: The general release will be a separate download, like the current RC0 release noted above.

·         RB1.0: The traditional Report Builder will ship with SSRS 2008 but with the “1.0” attached to its name., and its functionality is more or less the same as what was in SSRS 2005.  This is intentional as you likely can infer from all the above notes, our efforts are going into the new RB2.0 experience but we wanted to provide the 1.0 experience to help customers transition from the 1.0 experience to the 2.0 experience.  Full support for report models will be added to Report Builder 2.0 in a future release.


Regarding Licensing, it will be the same/similar to Report Builder 1.0 and SSRS 2005 licensing.