SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services Improves Developer, User Experience

SQLr2New features in SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services provide an improved developer and user experience.

Developers can build reports in components and then use Report Builder to pull together the components into unique views. Datasets are cached externally from the report and are updated as the developer specifies. You can now nest aggregates to provide more complex data, such as averages of sums.

Users get new data visualization tools.

For more information about the business intelligence (BI) tools in SQL Server 2008 R2, see Self-Service Business Intelligence.

New Features

Here are some more details of the features in Reporting Services that you can try out now. They are part of the November CTP.

Report Part Gallery

The ability for report items / data regions to be published to the report server and made available to other report authors to re-use.  Report authors can publish and share these report components from either BIDS or Report Builder 3.0.  Information workers can use Report Builder to mash these report components together into their own unique views by simple drag & drop.  This includes notifications when a report part was updated on the report server. 

Shared Data Sets

Datasets can now be shared, stored, processed and cached externally from the report.  Cache refresh plans let you cache reports or shared dataset query results on first use or from a schedule.

Enhanced SharePoint Integration for SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010

This includes support for multiple SharePoint Zones, the SharePoint Universal Logging service, and Report Parts.  We added a new SharePoint List data extension with query designer support.  Furthermore, support for right-to-left text with Arabic and Hebrew was added in the SharePoint user interface. 

New Data Visualization Report Items
  • Data Bars - each bar is scaled based on the maximum value of the immediate group (a default which can be adjusted).
  • Sparklines are data-intense, word-sized graphics.  These visualizations make it possible for report consumers to quickly see things like trends over time at a glance.
  • Indicators are small icons that are often used to depict the status or trend for a given value.  Setting up indicators based on a number of pre-configured sets is now very easy.
  • The CTP includes improvements to the Map wizard.
Enhanced Business Intelligence Development Studio

Support for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of reports and report projects.

Aggregates of Aggregates

This enables report authors to nest RDL aggregate expressions inside other RDL aggregate expressions with unlimited nesting levels.  For example, the expression =Avg(Sum(Sales, "Month"), "Year") would compute the average total monthly sales.  

Other RDL Expression Language enhancements
  • Writing expressions that take into account the current rendering format (=Globals!RenderFormat.Name)
  • Naming pages, including naming of Excel worksheets for Excel export
  • Group.DomainScope is quite useful for synchronizing data visually across different charts / sparklines and in tablix even if data is only available at disparate granularities. 
  • Read/Write report variables with automatic serialization/persistence; these are quite useful to avoid managing your own custom code variables.
  • Rotating Text 270 Degrees, which is frequently needed for narrow column layouts. 
  • Dynamic page breaks, as well as resetting page number of page breaks
New 2010 SOAP Endpoint

While the existing 2005/2006 SOAP endpoints are still supported, the 2010 endpoint unifies support of both native & SharePoint integrated servers and adds functionality for new areas such as shared datasets, cache refresh plans, and report parts.

Improved Browser and Standards Mode Support 


The November CTP download is available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. The public download is available here. A small stand-alone MSI for Report Builder 3.0, November CTP, is now available for download here.  The feature pack download is also available and includes Report Builder 3.0 as well as the RS add-ins for SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010.

A small stand-alone MSI for Report Builder 3.0, November CTP, is now available for download here.

For more information, see SQL Server Reporting Services Team Blog.

About Reporting Services

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services provides a complete, server-based platform designed to support a wide variety of reporting needs enabling organizations to deliver relevant information where needed across the entire enterprise.

Top New Features
  • Design reports with any structure by using the new unique layout capabilities of Flexible Report Layout

  • Benefit from enhanced performance and scalability to reach all users throughout the enterprise

  • Render reports into Microsoft Office Word format

  • Integrate Reporting Services with Microsoft Office SharePoint Services for central delivery and management of business insight

  • Create reports with richly formatted text

  • Display data graphically with enhanced visualization capabilities


Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation

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Special thanks to Rob Bruckner

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