Investigating Business Data Many company managers and analysts

a few simple illustrations of Reporting Services features and capabilities will provide you with a perspective on how to work with the tool. Don t worry if you don t catch on during the first reading of this section. I ll backtrack and cover all these areas in greater detail in subsequent chapters of the book. This tour will enable you to appreciate the power at your fingertips with this new reporting service. It s a Web service Reporting Services gets its name from the fact that the report server is a Web service. A Web service is a software component that runs independently on a server and can be accessed by other applications running on the World Wide Web. The Web service runs on the report server. The Web-based reporting functionality of the reporting service provides a single platform for producing Web-based reports for all types of data. The reporting service enables you to embed reports within any Web application and make them available to users with any Web interface. It also allows you to save or view report information in a number of different formats, ranging from images to Excel workbooks. Any application that can make use of Web services can present information through Reporting Services. One particularly useful set of applications enables you to manage many aspects of report processing as part of the report service retrieving data, transforming the report layout into a device-specific format (rendering), delivering reports to specific formats, and securing the access to reports, to name just a few. Working with the design surface The design surface is the user interface used to create reports for Reporting Services. The primary design interface provided by Microsoft for creating reports is Visual Studio. Visual Studio hosts Report Designer, which is the application that allows the user to select a data source, build a query, lay out the report elements, preview it with sample data, and finally publish the report to the report server. Report Designer is a powerful tool for developing flexible and complex reports. It offers maximum programmability of the report to provide reports that are structured or free-form, static or interactive, parameter-based or hyperlinked, graphical, tabular, or matrix. It saves developers from the hassle of having to know the gory details of Structured Query Language (SQL) or eXtensible Markup Language (XML) or Multidimensional eXpressions (MDX) if you re accessing data cubes, the OLAP data stores that allow fast reporting of summary information. When you use Visual Studio to develop your reports, they are actually built within a Report Project. Project properties let you control where the reports are saved and where they are viewable when the report is published. 16 Part I: Just the Basics

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