Using SoftArtisans OfficeWriter with SQL Server Reporting Services 2005
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by Mike Campbell
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SoftArtisans to the Rescue

While SQL Server Reporting Services is without equal in terms of affordability, approachability, extensibility, stability, and (increasingly) ubiquity, it is not without a few warts.  One of the main problems that SSRS suffers from is the inability to render reports with "rich" Excel (or Word) functionality.  While lacking any MS Word support, SSRS does provide the ability to export reports to Excel, Tiff, Adobe Acrobat, and a handful of other document types which is really quite spiffy.  The problem, however, is that when reports are exported to Excel SSRS does not provide any support for formulas, macros, conditional formatting, or a host of other "rich" functionality that most Office users have come to rely upon in making sense of data.  Worse, while SSRS does output charts to Excel and Word, it renders them as static images disconnected from the data they are graphing.  Of course, this is better than nothing, but in today's world where organizations and users demand ever more complex solutions, static data and missing functionality just is not enough.

This is where SoftArtisans enters the scene and shines.  With SoftArtisans' OfficeWriter, native SSRS functionality has been extended to allow SQL Server Reporting Services reports to be faithfully rendered in Excel and Word with all of their native formatting and functionality completely intact.  Better yet, leveraging OfficeWriter for natively rendered reports does not require you to update all of your existing reports to a new proprietary format.  Nor does it "break" existing functionality when you do chose to upgrade.  With OfficeWriter-enabled reports, specialized rendering instructions for each report are merely injected into the RDL descriptor for each report and processed only when routed through the customized OfficeWriter Renderer.  

With OfficeWriter, SSRS users get the best of both worlds from a reporting standpoint.  Because OfficeWriter just extends existing report definitions, none of the existing SSRS benefits are lost.  This means that SSRS users retain access to scheduling, granular security, an easy-to-use web interface, quick development cycles, support for heterogeneous data sources, and the ability to export reports in a number of different formats.


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User Comments

Title: RA   
Name: SA
Date: 2008-04-24 12:05:05 PM
Comment:
Can Office writer help in renaming the sheet names once the report is exported from Report server
Title: Dynamic Rendering   
Name: ST
Date: 2007-10-01 6:14:24 AM
Comment:
Hi,

I have tested the code given on the above. During the render, I get this exception "Client found response content type of '', but expected 'text/xml'.
The request failed with an empty response." on the function Render(...). What am I missing on here?

Thanks.
Title: RE: Dynamic Rendering (@giovanni)   
Name: Michael K. Campbell
Date: 2006-08-31 8:37:50 PM
Comment:
Giovanni, glad you liked the article.

Make sure you've got the SoftArtisans SAXW6NET.dll copied in to your /bin/ directory - that will likely be your biggest issue.

I also generated a VB.NET conversion of the default.aspx.cs page, and posted it up in my uploads section:
http://authors.aspalliance.com/mcampbell/Default_aspx_vb.zip (but you'll need to do wire-ups for code-behind/partial classing etc...)

Cheers.
Title: Render Dynamic   
Name: GIovanni Rivas
Date: 2006-08-31 6:06:35 PM
Comment:
Hi, thx for the article, but i tryed to copy the code in cs that you give here and doesn't work, i have to so all the references to the Interop libary for excel and the methodthat you are calling there with the arguments doesn't exist. am i missing something, do you havea code in Vb.net that could work like this. thx
if you can reply at garf50@hotmail.com






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