Chapter 21

Using Embedded and Referenced Code

What's in this chapter?

Building advanced expressions

Using custom code to extend formatting

Using custom code to apply business logic

The real power behind Reporting Services is its ability to creatively use data groups and combinations of report items. Calculations and conditional formatting may be added by using simple to intermediate programming code. Whether you are an application developer or a report designer, this chapter contains important information to help you design reports to meet your users' requirements and to raise the bar with compelling report features.

Perhaps we've put the cart before the horse with regard to expressions. In previous examples, you typed expression text without receiving an explanation. This couldn't be avoided, because using expressions is central to doing a lot of interesting things in Reporting Services. But we've just gotten started!

Any textbox bound to a dataset field or built-in field actually contains an expression. But in an effort to simplify the design interface, expressions are no longer displayed in the Report Designer as they were prior to the 2008 version of Reporting Services. Perhaps this might make life less hectic for entry-level report designers, but the rest of us have to be mindful that what we see in the Designer is not exactly what's going on behind the report design surface.

You'll recall that you can build simple composite expressions in a textbox by dragging items from ...

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