.NET Programmer Thoughts

Monday, March 21, 2005

Book Review: Pro SQL Server Reporting Services

Pro SQL Server Reporting Services

I was tasked with getting up to speed as quickly as possible with SQL Server Reporting Services (SRS). I pulled out my Pro SQL Server Reporting Services book and started working through it.

Chapter 1 was on SRS Architecture. There was good information on how to install and configure SRS and it included a sample application.

Chapter 2 was on Designing Efficient Queries. Personally I just skimmed this chapter and I already know how to write queries. This came back to haunt me as I needed those queries later on.

Chapter 3 gets you started on the Report Designer. This chapter had great content. Unfortunately, there were lots of mistakes. I was actually building the reports as I worked through the chapter. It was frustrating but I figured it out.

Chapter 4 goes deeper into building Reports. It starts out with the report wizard which is a no brainer. Then it shows you how to build the reports from scratch. Good content but again, there were mistakes.

Chapter 5 shows you how to use custom .NET code with SRS. You can embed code in your reports or you can use external assemblies. There was good content here and by this time I gave up on following along with the examples. And if you download the source, there is nothing in the Chapter 5 folder.

Chapter 6 is about rendering reports from .NET application. If you want to access your reports from your application then this chapter will show you how to do it.

Chapter 7 shows you how to deploy your reports. You have to deploy them so you need to read this chapter. After this chapter, the reports I had created from Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 were now deployed to my server.

Chapter 8 discusses report management. There is really good content is this chapter. You learn about shared schedules, creating snapshots, caching, and subscriptions. Then it goes into auditing and performance analysis.

Chapter 9 is about securing reports. Personally, I think they went into too much detail to show us network monitoring. We all know that if we don’t use encryption everything will be in plain text. But they show us how to use the network monitoring utility. You have to read this chapter though get learn how to fully secure your reports so just skim the pages on network monitoring.

Chapter 10 talks about Business Intelligence and SRS. This is a good chapter if you want to see the different ways SRS can be used. It’s good stuff.

Chapter 11 tells us what changes are in store for SRS when “Yukon” comes out. SRS will be fully integrated with SQL Server 2005. You will no longer generate your report in Visual Studio. Since I’m just learning SRS, it was good to know what will be changing.

Overall the book was good. The big disappointment for me was that following the examples was so difficult. This is the first time I’ve seen this with an APRESS book.

The big question is, do I feel I’m ready to use SRS at a client site. Yes I do!