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Building Reports, 2.0 Style

I’m getting my first taste of the new SQL Report Builder 2.0, and so far I’m enjoying the upgrade.   Report Builder 2.0 is a standalone product, shipped as separate download from the SQL Server and Visual Studio suites.  It allows users to develop and run reports locally, in addition to permitting the publication of these reports to SQL Server Reporting Services.

To call Report Builder 2.0 an upgrade is not entirely accurate; it is actually a completely new product that supplements (and in my opinion, surpasses) the ClickOnce web product branded as the 1.0 product of the same name.  The later version does not require a predefined data model like its predecessor; report designers can connect directly to database objects without the need for another layer of abstraction.  The interface is intuitive enough for non-DBAs, but also allows directly writing or editing SQL queries for more advanced users.  The earlier version is still available on SQL Server Reporting Services, but I suspect that it will be all but abandoned in lieu of Report Builder 2.0.

I had planned on writing an article on getting started with Report Builder 2.0, but I was beaten to the punch by an author over at another site.  The article provides a good starting point for using Report Builder 2.0, and can be found here.

One little quirk that I’ve found is that there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to associate seemingly unrelated database objects, in my case a couple of views I’ve created to abstract the data.  I posted this question on the SSC forums to see if anyone else has encountered the same problem.  For obvious reasons, I’d rather not ask my end users to write their own INNER JOINs when building reports.

The free download for Report Builder 2.0 can be found here.

Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and Microsoft Data Platform MVP with over thirteen years of data management experience. He is the founder and principal of Tyleris Data Solutions.

Tim has spoken at international and local events including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, along with dozens of tech fests, code camps, and SQL Saturday events. He is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2.

You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at @Tim_Mitchell.


Posted by Philip Hurzeler on 10 March 2009

Is SQL Report Builder 2.0 available with the Express Edition of SQL2008?

Posted by Rafal konopka on 10 March 2009

Is report Builder 2.0 available with SQL 2005 Express Edition?

Posted by erez_bat on 10 March 2009



Can you please explain what is the difference between this tool and the ability to make a report server project.

In both ways I can create reports locally on my computer(machine), without the option to deploy it, to a report server.

Is the benefit from this tool is the ability to install the REPORT BUILDER without the need to install the Bussiness intelligence?

Thanks in advance


Posted by Tim Mitchell on 10 March 2009

Actually, Report Builder is a separate download and is not attached to a particular version of SQL Server.  It's a client tool that connects directly to the database, and can be used on SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008.  I've even connected to a SQL Server 2000 instance using Report Builder 2.0.

This version is different in that it is a client install, not a ClickOnce application.  It starts and loads faster as a result.  Just as importantly, you don't have to build Report Models as you do with the older version; you can connect directly to database objects and build reports from there.

Posted by john.racer on 10 March 2009

Report Builder 2.0 will replace the existing Click Once in SQL 2008 SP1.


Posted by erez_bat on 10 March 2009

Thanks for your quick answer.

I have recently started experimenting with the report server . I work on the client side and can choose to watch the documents on my local machine, with no need of deploying it to a report server, if I don't need it.

I assume that both tools give same tools (charts, table, etc) as well as look&feel of the outcome, and building environment.Is it so?

Thank again


Posted by Emmao on 11 March 2009

Thank u; I will try it out; but untill then I reserve my comment;


Posted by Charles Kincaid on 11 March 2009

I just got my copy of SQL 2008 Dev Edition and can't wait to take it home to play with.  The new reporting features should enable me to make a case to upgrade.  Report server without IIS is very cool.

The RDL is stored as XML and there are published specs.  Microsoft appears to be taking the stand that it's not only OK but encouraged to write apps that generate report source code.

I had not thought about using report builder with earlier versions.  :)

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