|Microsoft Reporting Services in Action
2004 | 656 pages
|$49.95||Softbound print + PDF ebook|
Business reporting is a lifeline of business, so a better reporting environment is a big deal. With a sophisticated, modern tool like Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, you can report-enable any type of application, regardless of its targeted platform or development language.
Written for information workers, system administrators, and developers, this book is a detailed and practical guide to the functionality provided by Reporting Services. It systematically shows off many powerful RS features by leading you through a dizzying variety of possible uses. Following a typical report lifecycle, the book shows you how to create, manage, and deliver RS reports.
In the first half, you will master the skills you need to create reports. System administrators will learn the ropes of managing and securing the report environment. The second half of the book teaches developers the techniques they need to integrate RS with their WinForm or web-based applications. It does this with the help of a wide variety of real-world scenarios which will give you ideas on how to use RS in addition to teaching you the ropes.
An experienced software designer and developer, Teo Lachev works as a technology consultant with the Enterprise Application Services practice of Hewlett-Packard. He is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Teo lives in Atlanta, GA.
- Extend RS with custom code
- Implement dynamic reports with Office Web Components
- Create reports off ADO.NET datasets
- Deliver reports to Web Services
- Expose reports as RSS feeds
- Customize RS security
- Evaluate RS performance and capacity
- and more
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THIS BOOK...
"There are less than a dozen books dealing with MSRS, I think this is the best of the competition."
-- Computing Reviews
ABOUT THE AUTHOR...
Teo Lachev has more than 11 years of experience designing and developing Microsoft-centered solutions. He is currently working as a technology consultant with the Enterprise Application Services practice of Hewlett-Packard. Teo is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He lives in Atlanta, GA.
Let me let you in on a little secret: creating software at Microsoft is pretty similar to creating software at any other company. I think many people’s perception is that Microsoft designs products by having an army of market researchers carefully examining competitive products and surveying consumers to determine exactly what features to put in the next release.
The reality is that most of the ideas that go into Microsoft products are the result of small teams of people brainstorming in front of whiteboards or chatting in hallways. I’m not saying we don’t know what competitors are doing or what customers are asking for, but the process of translating real-world scenarios to requirements and designs is much more organic than you might think. This flexible approach allows teams to take a fresh look at existing problems as well as adapt to industry trends and customer demands.
Case in point: when we started building Reporting Services, we didn’t set out to copy what other companies had already done. Instead, we asked questions like “What does it mean to build an enterprise reporting product?” “How do we enable people to create powerful data visualizations without writing code?” and, most important of all, “How can we build a platform that people can leverage in their own applications?” The answer to this final question ended up driving a major part of the product’s design.
Building a platform is not something to be taken lightly. It requires that you spend extra time factoring and documenting the interfaces between software components. It means that your components should not use any “back doors” that are not available to other developers using the platform. It also can change the order in which you build the product—you have to focus on the nonvisual parts of the product before you work on the user-facing ones. For example, the Reporting Services report processing engine was up and running about a year before the graphical report design tool was ready. During this time, report definition files had to be hand-coded in order to test any new report processing features.
The decision to build a platform also means that you will have to spend time on infrastructure and interfaces at the expense of end-user features. We knew that this trade-off would mean the first version of Reporting Services might look less feature-rich than other more “mature” reporting products. We felt like this was the right long-term strategy, as a strong platform would enable others to fill the gaps instead of having to wait for us to add every feature. When asked about this approach, I sometimes pose the question, “Is it better to build a car with a powerful engine and fewer lights on the dashboard or one with lots of lights that can’t go anywhere?”
One decision we made for our new platform was to bet on another new platform: .NET. As we had no legacy code to support, we decided early on to make Reporting Services a 100 percent .NET application. While this may seem like a no-brainer today, when we started building Reporting Services the CLR and the .NET Framework had not yet been released. Although building an enterprise-quality server product on such a new technology stack was a little risky at the time, the decision has paid major dividends in developer productivity and product quality.
Ultimately, the barometer of whether we have succeeded is what our customers and partners are able to build on the platform. Since we released the first version of the product earlier this year, I have seen applications built by customers leveraging the Reporting Services platform in ways I never imagined. But a platform isn’t useful if all developers don’t have the know-how to take advantage of it. Because the product is so new, detailed information and good examples have been sparse and hard to find.
That’s where resources like Teo’s excellent book come in. This book starts by providing a solid foundation for using the built-in tools included with Reporting Services but quickly takes you to the next level by focusing on the programmability and extensibility aspects of the product. The focus on these parts of Reporting Services will help you leverage and extend the product feature set in your own applications. Teo’s approach is to provide real-world examples and useful scenarios that walk you through the details and give you new ideas to explore. Teo has the ability to take complex topics and break them into smaller sections that can be easily understood. I enjoyed being one of the book’s technical reviewers as I was able see how various parts of the product came to life on the page. I encourage you to use the ideas in this book and take Reporting Services to the next level.
Group Program Manager
Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
"As its title precisely indicates, this book does a respectable job, in 16 chapters, of describing in a "how-to? format the intricacies of this fairly new Microsoft product...there are less than a dozen books dealing with MSRS, I think this is the best of the competition...
At the end of each chapter is a very valuable guide to additional resources...The book has a very
readable and somewhat conversational style; coupled with its excellent summary charts and tables,
plus the many hands-on examples, the manuscript should be useful for new users (and managers) of
the product...In summary, I believe this is a valuable and useful source for introducing new users and managers to the utility and tools provided in MSRS."
-- Computing Reviews
"This book was great for giving me a better understanding of the workings of Reporting Services. I do have one other book on RS but it did little to get me beyond the hands-on labs I'd already been through. This book takes you to the next level (and beyond) to really tap into the flexibility of RS and how to get it to do what you want. It does have a developer slant to it, but I am not a developer and was able to stay with it. It reviews the anatomy of a report and takes you through sample reports, building from simple reports to more complex ones that resemble more of what you would find in the real world. It even talks about creating external assemblies and invoking that code from RS. It also addresses report management, security, OLAP, and performance considerations.
This book also tells you what cannot be done with RS (in this version, anyway) potentially saving me a lot of time and effort in trying! I highly recommend this book I do not think I will need another RS book until the next version comes out. Hopefully, this author will produce an updated version at that time."
-- North Texas SQL Server Users Group
"A practical resource, manual, and self-teaching guide to Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services. Half devoted to mastering basic skills system administrators need to use the software to create reports and secure the report environment, and half geared toward developer techniques to integrate RS with WinForm or web-based applications...a solid, methodical, example and screenshot-filled guide and a superb reference for anyone charged with tasks involving the use of Microsoft Reporting Services software."
-- Midwest Book Review
"Provided wonderful insight as to how Reporting Services works ...easy to read and included good examples."
-- St. Louis SQL Server User Group (STLSSUG)
"This is really a how-to book on the use of SQL Server's new Reporting Services. It is written from a standpoint of not just repeating the product documentation that comes from Microsoft, but from the view of the developer who has to implement a solution.
It used to be that a report was basically a printed document. But now, this view has changed, and Reporting Services incorporates not only printed reports, but also reports that are to be web distributed, or as the information content for an OLAP application, enterprise level reports, or subscribed reports that are to be distributed automatically. This should be the only reporting services book you'll need - until of course the new versions of RS become available."