For the business application developer, reports are a fact of life. You may want to spend your time developing cool user interfaces or figuring out the core algorithms used in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. But instead, you invest many boring hours each week turning out report after report. And these reports take a significant toll on the programming community. In America alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly 850 report-related deaths each yearand that's doesn't even count those who read the reports. I once had a customer who printed off 20 copies of a 600-page report every month for his top-level managers. Clearly stupefied by the amount of tree pulp just to generate this report, the staff was unable to come up with a more interesting name than "the monthly report."
So if you are a business programmer, reports are in your future. But while your forebears had to deal with languages like RPG III, you get to use .NET. Hey, reports won't be so bad after all. And even without resorting to third-party reporting tools, Visual Studio and .NET include several report-focused features and tools you can use right out of the box.
This chapter discusses some of those reporting resources, and delves a little deeper into the reporting controls used in the Library Project.