Chapter 1. Introducing Reporting Services

What a long, strange trip it's been.... SQL Server Reporting Services is all grown up now. This product has matured quite a lot over the past five years or so since enjoying a favorable start in the industry. This is our third edition of this book, about a product in its third version. We've seen it grow from what was essentially a free download for SQL Server 2000, to a substantial but relatively untested component of SQL Server 2005, to a serious force in the industry — and a very capable, enterprise-ready reporting tool.

Since we started writing about Reporting Services for the first edition of this book in 2003, there is much more to say about this product and the rest of the integrated Microsoft SQL Server Business Intelligence platform. There are stories to tell about IT projects, training classes, and consulting engagements. Along the way, we've learned quite a lot from other members of the IT community about the many creative ways to use Reporting Services. We'll tell some of those stories and discuss our experience with the past three generations of this product. But for now, let's focus our attention on the fundamental applications and capabilities. In other words, What can you do with Reporting Services? Who should use it, and for what purpose?

The topics introduced in this short chapter are explored in greater detail in the next chapter and throughout this book. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a high-level introduction ...

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