After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
The primary objective of custom database applications is to manage live data by adding new data, updating data, deleting obsolete data, and so on. Therefore, it is logical that developers focus primarily on these features. However, another important aspect of applications consists of giving users the information they need for long-term consumption. These long-term goals include the ability to take data away on paper and analyze summarized or historical data.
Application developers may intend to supply this functionality by traditional methods, like using queries, business objects, and grids. However, summarized information requires complex layouts, with nesting, running totals, and conditional formatting. These layouts are by no means easy to develop or to maintain using classical development tools.
Additionally, some consumers of the application data will never access the application itself. Managers or remote employees often fall into this sort of situation. These kinds of users would prefer to receive application data in their e-mail inboxes or on their mobile devices, sent according to a predefined schedule.
Because these requirements are common, several software vendors provide packaged reporting or enterprise reporting solutions. In this chapter, we'll discuss how Reporting Services in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 meets all these requirements.