Book Review: Microsoft Reporting Services in Action
page 1 of 2
Published: 18 Jan 2005
Unedited - Community Contributed
Being a part of the Microsoft business intelligence framework, Reporting Services (RS) contains features such as data warehousing, data mining, data presentation, reporting management and deployment. Without waiting for the next version of SQL server, Reporting Services add reporting capabilities to SQL 2000 Server and Teo tells you what are Reporting Services and its architecture, and also tells you how to administer and create advanced reports in RS.
by Colt Kwong
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Book Review: Microsoft Reporting Services in Action - Page 1 of 2

 Microsoft Reporting Services in Action

Authors   : Teo Lachev

ISBN       : 1932394222

Publisher  : Manning Publishing

Pages      : 656

Published  : July 2004

Unlike other general topics such as ASP.NET, there are less than 10 books about Reporting Services in the market so far, and this book is one of the first five books available in the market that paved the way for others in this subject (When you go through this book, Teo will inform you when there is a beta bug, and tell you the workaround, if any)

Chapter 1: Introduction to Microsoft Reporting Services

The author introduces Reporting Services (RS) like the convention and definition, and some brief information of report definition language, security and scalability. Moreover, the author mentions the architecture of RS and different components of RS as well. A quick and short hand on lab is provided to get readers started at the end of this chapter.

Chapter 2: Report Authoring Basics

The author shows how to create RS in Visual Studio (VS) .NET with preview tab, preview window and report server, then he shows how to migrate from MS Access and create a report programmatically. Next, he demonstrates how to use ad hoc report builder and third party tool. The content of authoring report with third party tool is much better than the part in VS.NET though.
Chapter 3: Working with Data (Best Pick Chapter)

The author defines and shows how to create a report-specific and shared data source for RS. Then, he explains various types of security and authentication options one by one. With the author’s experience and recommendation, this section is better than just introducing the name and description of each option, especially the author explains why and when you should use each option with the best practice. For example, the author describes how to pass a parameter value back to the application layer and then dynamically generate the SQL query, this is extremely useful for real world application development. The author then explains the Service Oriented architecture and nature of RS (parameter driven) repeatedly, with the use of many figures and diagrams , it made this chapter easy to read (A diagram is better than 1000 words). As a side note, the author mentions the advantages of using stored procedure in RS and SQL injection.

Chapter 4: Designing Reports

This chapter not only shows how to use the report designer and create report layout, but it also shows how to leverage RS to create (sub) reports with business intelligence and wisdom. The author also describes the report elements, sections (bands) and grouping so as to present data on a report. The author nearly describe all of the commonly use report layout in this section. Later, the author introduces some techniques in presenting data as in Excel or Pivot tables. With the importance of Excel and Pivot table, the author uses a step-by-step approach in showing how to construct a complex report at the end.

Chapter 5: Using expressions and functions

In this chapter, the author introduces expressions by showing the expression editor, its syntax, execution order and scope. The author also describes the limitation of current version (and bugs) of RS and resolutions by using expression (this is somehow similar to a Helper Function as in data web control in ASP.NET development, nice trick). Then, the author introduces the use of functions from both external and internal assemblies, such as aggregate calculation, sum, count, total, formatting, page number..etc. This section can be skipped in my opinion as the name of each function explains itself, or the author can describe the new syntax and functions in details. Finally, the author describes various available options for exporting report and uses an example to demonstrate how to create a localized report (localized report is useful as the board or regional directors are required to generate report in their own languages across regions in a real world scenario).

Chapter 6: Using Custom Code

Integrating RS with custom reporting code base on your own needs. The author shows the ability to create RS with custom code by porting a java base open source project, and then prepares a report with some sample codes. The intention is obvious but this is a bit overkill for general readers. The author also demonstrates how to use RS in an embedded code (private assembly as used in various RS application partners) and shared assembly environments. With the increasing popularity of RSS and blogging, author describes XML based report and shows an example of exporting RS to an RSS feed which is a brilliant demo and highlight the RSS schema and flexibility of RS export features.

Chapter 7: Managing the Reporting Services Environment

After showing how to create a RS, data connection, present data in RS and the basic concept of RS, the author changes the topic to a more advanced level and talks about managing a RS. The author drills down into the RS manager web application and explains the functions and features one by one carefully. The author describes (long waiting) caching features in RS and explains the internals and how to select the best practices for your own use. The author finally describes how to deploy and manage RS via Web services and WMI provider. These two sections are pretty short, maybe due to the fact that administrators will most likely to manage RS through the RS Manager Web application directly.

Chapter 8: Securing Reporting Services

The author explains in details for all approaches in securing RS, including authentication and authorization in RS. After describing the fact (>10 pages), the author shows the best practices in securing RS (5 pages only?!). Generally speaking, security is much more important than designing the report layout or retrieving data from data store, so more information or best practices about securing RS are appreciated.

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User Comments

Title: Another suggested book   
Name: David
Date: 2009-09-11 7:33:29 PM
If you are looking for a general intro to reporting (not programming, but the basic concepts), I think you will find Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Reporting (But Were Afraid To Ask) at very useful.

And it's free!
Title: aklesh   
Name: vijay
Date: 2006-11-23 1:26:28 AM
mail me at if there is any way to pass parameters by query string hidding the parameter boxes..
waiting 4 ur prompt response
Title: alkesh   
Name: vijay
Date: 2006-11-23 1:22:30 AM
hi alkesh is there any way to pass the parameters with the help of query string
Title: Single Sign On With Java Application   
Name: Umesh Kumar Sinha
Date: 2006-04-14 6:33:03 AM
I want to customize the authentication and authorization of RS so that I can access reports from a Java based application on single sign-on.
Title: Sql Injection problem in reporting service   
Name: Pramod Pawar
Date: 2006-01-27 2:01:26 AM
Hello Teo,
I have web based application which used sql reporting services to generate web based reports. Myapplication has dynamic column reports. Entire application get displayed in a pop window ,hence there is no proble with sql injection. But while I do import to excel or any other format it opens another browser where I found the Sql injection (my sql clause).This can be achieved if there is any fascility to use form post method. If this is possible then please let me know the configuration or any other solution.
Help me. Thanks in advance.
Title: How to pass parameter in 2005 reporting services   
Name: Velmurugan
Date: 2005-12-23 6:24:18 AM
Dear sir,

Can u mail me the procedure of passing parameters
in reporting services.
Title: Mr   
Name: Surya Iwan Gunawan
Date: 2005-09-21 1:48:57 AM
How about generating document output using Reporting Service. Regarding ActiveX Viewer for Crystal Report Which the component has ability to print document/report from Client Side, but I can't find that feature in Report Viewer for Reporting Service. Maybe you have suggestion for me to refer some resources regarding that?
Title: Mr.   
Name: Jagabandhu Sahoo
Date: 2005-08-30 2:05:07 AM
In my report there are say 6 paramters which i have to pass.So previously there were select boxes by which i was passing the values to my MDX query.But now i am trying to pass those values through my URL by hiding the above Parameter row.
Can you suggest me what should be the right way to do this.
Title: Mr   
Name: Hamada
Date: 2005-08-15 7:41:21 AM
this article does not contain the full informations about SQL reporting services. It contains the good things, like making a query or displaying it. All of this can be done through any tool else. The basic idea , which is missing, the dynamic query, which can change parameters online and at runtime. This feature is missing at reporting services till now, and I dont know why?
Title: Query On Dynamic Passing Of Query   
Name: Alkesh
Date: 2005-03-04 10:32:02 AM
I am facing a problem in passing large number of parameters dynamically to a query through the URL (say around 500 parameters in number, which holds the key to the filter criteria of our application). If the parameter exceeds its specified limit than the report is simply not generated, subsequently throwing an error.
Can you suggest us how to overcome this shortfall or may be perhaps another alternative.

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