Lots of people (myself included) are excited about the coming release of Microsoft SQL Server "Yukon," the successor to SQL Server 2000. But you don't have to wait until 2005 to see one of the advances that "Yukon" is delivering to developers. Last month Microsoft released SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, an add-on for the current version of SQL Server (it will be packaged with new copies of SQL Server 2000 later this year). In this article, I'll introduce Reporting Services and show you how you might make use of it in your own development efforts.
The Reporting Services Architecture
Reporting Services runs as a middle-tier server, as part of your existing server architecture. You need to have SQL Server 2000 installed for the database server, and Internet Information Services 6.0 as a Web server. The report server engine takes in report definitions, locates the corresponding data, and produces the reports. You can interact with the engine through the Web-based Report Manager, which also lets you manage things like refresh schedules and notifications. End users view the report in a Web browser, and can export it to PDF, XML, or Excel with the click of a button
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