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 see the tables, rows, and columns that make up relational databases. You also learn about concepts such as normalization and relationships. These are the characteristics that make a relational database…, well, relational.
Once you cover the basics, you are introduced to Galactic Delivery Services (GDS). The business needs of GDS serve as the basis for all the sample reports throughout this book. Even though GDS is a unique company in many respects, you will discover its reporting needs and its uses of Reporting Services are typical of most companies in this galaxy.
For the remainder of the chapter, you explore the ins and outs of the SELECT query, which is what you use to extract data from your data sources for use in your reports. Even though Reporting Services helps you create SELECT queries through a tool called the Query Designer, 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!