Before you begin creating reports, it is important that you have a good understanding of relational databases. In the first part of this chapter, you will look at the tables, rows, and columns that make up relational databases. You will also learn about concepts such as normalization and relationships. It is these characteristics that make a relational database…, well, relational.
Once you have covered the basics, you will be introduced to Galactic Delivery Services (GDS). The business needs of GDS will serve as the basis for all the sample reports throughout this book. Even though GDS is a very unique company in many respects, you will discover that its reporting needs and its uses of Reporting Services are typical of most companies in this galaxy.
For the remainder of the chapter, you will explore the ins and outs of the SELECT query. This is what you will use to extract data from your data sources for use in your reports. Even though Reporting Services will help you create SELECT queries through a tool called the Query Builder, it is important that you understand how SELECT queries work and how they can be used to obtain the correct data. A report may look absolutely stunning with charts, graphics, special formatting, and snappy colors, but it is completely useless if it contains the wrong data!