The previous sections of this book were aimed at report authors creating reports to be used over and over again. These types of reports are often referred to, rather ignominiously, as “canned” reports. While not a glamorous moniker, it is rather fitting. These reports are prepared ahead of time, packaged, and stored for later execution by the user.
At times, however, rather than opening a can, cooking from scratch is more appropriate. A user may need some information on short notice, so a report author has no time to create a report. An analyst may need a bit of data for a one-time analysis, so a report development effort is hard to justify. In cases such as these, it would be beneficial to have a way for a knowledgeable user to quickly create a report or explore the data to find the desired information.
Fortunately, SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services provides such a mechanism with Report Models and the Report Builder. Report Models provide an easy-to-understand view of the database structure. The Report Builder provides a straightforward and readily available tool for creating reports. Together, they offer the means for users to quickly and easily gain access to the information they need.