SQL Reporting Services in VS2005 (by yag)

A few days ago, I pointed to a blog entry by Jackie Goldstein in which he discussed his favorite data enabling features in VS2005 and promised that I'd be watching it for comments. Well, Alex Kazovic asked a question:

Do you know if the next Beta of SQL RS 2005 will work with SQL Server Express? Whilst, I’m using the full version of SQL Server, I’m sure there are a lot of people using MSDE or Jet that are thinking of using SQL Server Express, but would like a good reporting deigner.

Good question, Alex. There are two aspects to this question - data you report against and the database that manages the reports that you're running. Additionally, the answer is somewhat different between windows forms and web forms.

In Reporting Services, you can run against any data that has a provider - so yes, you can report against data in SSE, Access, Fox, SQL, Oracle, etc. That's the case today and will continue to be the case.

Reporting Services today is a server based product. So, you license it via a license of SQL Server and it runs as a web front end - and accessible through web services for your own front ends. In VS2005 this changes. There will be reporting controls for Windows Forms that allows you to drop the control on the form and specify a datasource for a given report. That report will run locally (the control has the smarts to run the RDL) against your datasource. Note that these are the same datasources you build forms against - even objects! So, for applications that take advantage of Windows Forms, you'll be licensed with VS to run it locally. If you want to take advantage of server features like scheduled reports, email blasts, etc., you'll have to have a copy of SQL Server and license it as usual. For web applications, the same licensing as today applies.

Hope that answers your question, Alex!

Caveat: As always, this information may change as we get closer to release.

Comments (8)

  1. Alex Kazovic says:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    As a general point, I really do think it’s a big improvement this transparency thing at MS (except for the Office team; not sure what is happening there). It’s great that you folks at MS are taking the time to answer questions and generally give useful information via things like blogs and Channel 9 etc. Additionally, a lot of the ‘criticism’ that you may get is only because the majority of users feel almost a sense of ownership about the products and want to help improve them.

    Back to your reply. It really does sound good. When it comes to printing in .Net I tend to avoid Crystal Reports and miss the functionality of the Access report designer. Hopefully Reporting Services/reporting controls will end up being as good (or even better).

    One more question; will these reporting controls be available in the Express products (again, it wont affect me, but I’m sure other people want to know)?

  2. Todd Brooks says:

    Has there been a definitive announcement on whether or not SQL Reporting Services in VS2005 will have a distributable report designer for end-users? If not, is there a reason as to why MS hasn’t committed to that?

  3. yag says:

    I’m a big believer in our community efforts – and as a past user (and MVP) I understand about the sense of ownership you mention. <g>

    Anyway, Reporting Services will not be in the Express SKUs since they’re geared towards being a simple and small download. Again, things may change – but that’s the plan.

    BTW – you can check out Reporting Services today – the RDL (Report Definition Language) files you create should be compatible – so you can get a head start on learning it.


  4. Nico says:

    Will the Windows Form control report rendering work without a UI, like in an application server, and will it still be royalty free in this scenario? We’re evaluating reporting tools but runtime price is a major concern. We don’t really need the reporting portal, only the rendering stuff.

  5. Jeff says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to Microsoft for listening to user feedback. This is a feature I will use day one as we need this exact functionality for disconnected applications. I’m so glad Microsoft is filling this hole in Reporting Services functionality. Do you know if this will be available in the Jan CTP?



  6. yag says:

    I believe it’s in the January CTP. With all the builds going on and off my machine, can’t tell you for sure though. <g>


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