Microsoft introduced its Reporting Services offering in 2004 as an add-on to SQL Server 2000. Reporting Services is a development tool that eases the process of creating datacentric reports that resemble Microsoft Excel charts, Adobe Acrobat documents or even Web pages.
The company's latest version, SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, is more tightly integrated with SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, giving developers the ability to build report-enabled applications. Reporting Services also provides client-side sorting, ASP.NET Web controls for server-side sorting and the ability to create reports from ADO.NET datasets.
This chapter download, the first in the book SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services in Action, helps developers choose which edition of the product will best suit their needs, discusses how the product fits into the SQL Server component stack, and offers a quick glance at the product's main features. There are also details on what report processing should look like and how reports should be delivered.