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.