What is SSRSSQL Server 2005 Reporting Services is a server-based reporting platform that you can use to create and manage tabular, matrix, graphical, and free-form reports that contain data from relational and multidimensional data sources. The reports that you create can be viewed and managed over a World Wide Web-based connection. Reporting Services includes the following core components:
- A complete set of tools that you can use to create, manage, and view reports.
- A Report Server component that hosts and processes reports in a variety of formats. Output formats include HTML, PDF, TIFF, Excel, CSV, and more.
- An API that allows developers to integrate or extend data and report processing in custom applications, or create custom tools to build and manage reports.
The reports that you build can be based on relational or multidimensional data from SQL Server, Analysis Services, Oracle, or any Microsoft .NET data provider such as ODBC or OLE DB. You can create tabular, matrix, and free-form reports. You can also create ad hoc reports that use predefined models and data sources.
Visually and functionally, the reports that you build in Reporting Services surpass traditional reporting by including interactive and Web-based features. Some examples of these features include drill-down reports that enable navigation through layers of data, parameterized reports that support content filtering at run time, free-form reports that support content in vertical, nested, and side-by-side layouts, links to Web-based content or resources, and secure, centralized access to reports over remote or local Web connections.
Although Reporting Services integrates with other Microsoft technologies out-of-the-box, developers and third-party vendors can build components to support additional report output formats, delivery formats, authentication models, and data source types. The development and run-time architecture was purposely created in a modular design to support third-party extension and integration opportunities.
SSRS competes with Crystal Reports and other business intelligence tools, and is included in Express, Workgroup, Standard, and Enterprise editions of Microsoft SQL Server as an install option. Reporting Services was first released in 2004 as an add-on to SQL Server 2000. The second version was released as a part of SQL Server 2005 in November 2005. The latest version was released as part of SQL Server 2008 in August 2008.
Users can interact with the Report Server web service directly, or instead use Report Manager, a web-based application that interfaces with the Report Server web service. With Report Manager, users can view, subscribe to, and manage reports as well as manage and maintain data sources and security settings. Reports can be delivered via e-mail or placed on a file system. Security is role-based and can be assigned on an individual item, such as a report or data source, a folder of items, or site wide. Security roles and rights are inherited and can be overloaded.
In addition to using the standalone Report Server that comes with SQL Server, RDL reports can also be viewed using the ASP.NET ReportViewer web control or the ReportViewer Windows Forms control. This allows reports to be embedded directly into web pages or .NET Windows applications. The ReportViewer control processes reports in one of two ways: (a) server processing, where the report is rendered by and obtained from the Report Server; and (b) local processing, where the control renders the RDL file itself.
SQL Server Reporting Services also support ad hoc reports: the designer develops a report schema and deploys it on the reporting server, where the user can choose relevant fields/data and generate reports. Users can then download the reports locally.