Microsoft Readies Reporting Services

Software pulls in data in many formats and sends it out as reports as a .Net service.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday released the second beta version of its Reporting Services for the SQL Server database, which gives Microsoft partners the ability to add business-intelligence capabilities to applications.

Reporting Services pulls relational data from SQL Server and virtually any other type of data (including XML and flat files, for instance) from other sources. It then aggregates the data, prepares reports and ships them as a .Net service to any device where they can be read by executives, sales representatives, customers and any other end users, officials said.

The software is integrated with Microsofts Visual Studio .NET, which enables developers to drag and drop simple expressions when building reporting applications, according to Tom Rizzo, Microsoft group product manager. Beta 2 adds support for the C# development language.

"We wanted to make this rock solid with scalability and reliability," Rizzo said. Before developing Reporting Services, "we did some work with Access, but it didnt have the scalability that our customers were asking for. They really wanted a server back end."

Reporting Services works with the InfoPath client in Microsoft Office 2003. That provides a user interface for non-developers. For instance, a developer could have a Report Services report publish as XML in InfoPath, where a user could modify the data and send it back through Report Services to other users, Rizzo explained.

Reporting Services will be generally available by the end of the year.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here for more information on future versions of Microsofts SQL Server.