Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services

Book Review

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services
by Brian Larson
Copyright 2004
Osborne/McGraw Hill

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services

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Not yet seen the need to deal with Reporting Services? Or have you decided to worry about it later when you have more time or when you are asked to do something with it. Sound familiar? Well, then you’ll find this book interesting.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Getting Started.
  • Report Authoring.
  • Report Serving.
  • Appendixes.

Overall, the book spans over 600 pages.

The first part starts at the very beginning. After explaining the need to share information efficiently, you are introduced to the overall architecture of the software, both the Reporting Authoring architecture and the Report Serving architecture. Next you are introduced to the author’s virtual company “Galactic Delivery Services.” All examples throughout the book refer to this company and its business intelligence needs. Then you are shown how to install Reporting Services and how to deal with common issues you might be confronted with during installation. An interesting insight is given here in different kinds of installations of Reporting Services. The “common” installation is explained along with a distributed installation and a Web farm installation

The second part is about Reporting authoring and starts with a short primer in database basics. Then you are introduced to the Galactic Delivery Services database schema and exercise some queries to get familiar with the database. After that you are ready to create your first report. From now on you are guided step-by-step through increasingly challenging reports. This happens with the help of many screenshots, which will keep you from getting lost during the exercises. It finishes with a detailed discussion of the different export formats that are available. Reading closely through this chapter will help you make the correct decision to best suit the needs of your users and give them the desired information they require.

The third part deals with Report Serving. If you are interesting in how to get the information back to your users as fast as possible, this is probably the most interesting part of the book for you. You learn about the different approaches of Report Serving such as Report Caching and Execution Snapshots and how they can help you improve the performance of your report delivery. You are also introduced to the different methods of subscriptions. This part finishes with a brief discussion about how to use Reporting Services outside the box and gives some very good “best practices” to consider.

The last part is a reference of Report Items, Web Service Interface Items and Report Definition Language Items and is very useful when you got stuck somewhere.

I like this book. I especially like the author’s way of presenting his stuff in a easy-going, nice to read language. Many screenshots and real-world hand-on examples make this book worth reading. The “Getting Started” part might have been shortened a bit and the space used for more advanced discussion, but when you are a beginner with Reporting Services just like me, you’ll appreciate this detailed introductory part.

A more experienced user, however, or a user with a special interest in how to tune the performance of Reporting Services, might want to have a look at the book in a bookstore before buying it, to see if it suits his needs.


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