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Structured Query Language Server Reporting Services - 1
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Microsoft proclaims that its SSRS can supply a full range of ready-to-use tools and services to help a programmer create, deploy, and manage reports for his organization, as well as programming features that enable extension and customization of reporting functionality. Reporting Services, a separate software tool in itself, was first released in 2004 as an add-on to the SQL Server in use, the SQL Server 2000. As is always the case, the integration faced teething problems and an updated version was created towards the end of 2005 as a part of SQL Server 2005. Technology advancements prompted enhancement in the server, the latest version of which was beta tested and released in mid-2010 as part of SQL Server 2008 R2. As technology gallops on unhindered, new features and customization were made available through last year and are reported glitch-free and fully functional this year.
Business Intelligence Projects keep pushing for better and faster results, delivered as reports. Microsoft has a stranglehold over this facet also, with Report Definition Language (RDL) the standard proposed for defining reports. Since RDL is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) application, it is easy to use. Microsoft writes RDL using its Visual Studio, but there are a number of third-party tools also available; it may also be created or edited by hand in a simple text editor.
So what does Reporting Services do? Yes, it is a server-based reporting platform providing exhaustive reporting functionality for multiple data sources. Reporting Services includes a complete set of tools for the creation, management and delivery of reports. When customization is required, it supplies application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow program developers to integrate or extend data and report processing.
In a routine technical report (see reference 2 below) Microsoft states, “Our Reporting Services facilitate creation of interactive, tabular, graphical, or free-form reports from relational, multidimensional, or XML-based data sources. Reports can include rich data visualization, including charts, maps, and sparklines.” In effect it makes the publishing of reports, schedule report processing, or access reports available on-demand, in a variety of formats. It also supplies reports to other common applications like MS Excel, and subscribes to published reports. The supplied reports are viewable over the net, or as part of an MS Windows application and even SharePoint.
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