Reporting Services - typical Microsoft

  • Reporting services is "free" to licensed users of SQL Server however if you actually want to create a report you have to by Visual Studio (at about $500 per developer).  I like many of Microsoft's products but I'm getting very tired of the "the car is free but the key cost $50,000" marketing.  Open source looks better and better evertime MS puts out a new product.

  • You can use XML Editor instead of Visual studio


  • Yes, it is a shame that the report designer is only available with Visual Studio, right now it is a pain. I have a load of reports I would like to give to someone else in my company to do, but they don't have Visual Studio, and it isn't worth buying just for this.

    Writing the RDL by hand isn't ideal either as it requires a certain level of proficiency in XML. I am hoping that pretty soon someone will bring out a free report designer that spits out the RDL. We live in hope! The best option right now is probably to get a 30 day free trial for Visual studio.

  • Microsft needs to make this clearer. RS only needs the shell environment. So to develop reports for Reporting Services you only need to have VB.Net (~$99) and not VS .Net.

  • You don't want to buy VS.Net? Have you priced Crystal Reports Developer lately? And that doesn't include the Crystal Reports Enterprise Server if you want to have automated scheduling and distribution. Top that off with the fact that the CR products (except Server) come with NO documentation except some outdated PDF's (they don't even bring the examples in the doc up to date with the current version) and SQL Reporting Services is a real bargain!



  • Microsoft released reporting services early since it was suppose to be a part of Yukon.  The early release does not have the full functionality that it will have when released with Yukon in about a year from now.  The final release is suppose to have all the bells and whistles and not require visual studio to create reports.  Since the reports are stored in xml, it wouldn't supprise me to see some third party packages provide front end for report creation.  It is unfortunate that MS took so long to release a report server.  It would be difficult for most companies to shift gears and rewrite all their old legacy reports or support multiple packages.

  • So what are my alternitives to Reporting Services and Crystal Reports? Are there other quality reporting tools that can be used from Visual Basic. I am tired of using Access for my reports! Also wondering where I can even get Reporting Services to try, is it out yet? Please advise.




  • To reply to your post, you can work with the XML.

    You raise a very interesting philosophical point.  I assume (tongue in cheek) that every time you code, you insist that your employer not pay you.

    That is what you are expecting Microsoft to do.  I think that they have been very clever in their marketing of this.  Yes you can use their product (it means buying appropriate SQL Server license on an IIS box) without other expenses.  You can manipulate the XML format very easily with a text editor, just as you can create entire dot net framework applications with a text editor and free tools from Microsoft.  But if you want to reduce your labor, you must pay the money.

    I don't work for free.  I have to eat, my family has to eat.  I have kids' college to pay for and I want to retire at 80 (given my bad financial choices).  I don't give even a mega company grief when they want to pay their programmers.  Especially when they provide you with a free alternative.

    Russ Loski, MCSD

    (Looking to make money programming)

    Russel Loski, MCSE Business Intelligence, Data Platform

  • Crystal is probably the most popular and mature report writer for VB.  We use it and have had good luck with it.  If I were starting from scratch, I would look hard at reporting services.  It was designed from the ground up to be server/web based and having the source code of the reports stored in xml makes it more open.  You will need to look at where you want to be in the future.  What is the size of your shop and is web delivery where you want to be?  If you don't need web delivery and you have a small shop, Crystal would probably be a good choice since you wouldn't need Crystal Enterprise (mucho $$$$$) and probably don't need a report server.  Crystal Developer is about $500 per developer license and the run time is free.  Keep in mind that Crystal has been purchased by Business Objects, so I don't know what future pricing will be.

  • Russ:

    I don't think the problem is so much the license cost of of VB studio, but how many people do you really want to give a tool with that complexity and capacity?

    Talk about empowering, just do the world a favor and buy them the tool that builds all the virus' out there why don't you.

    On the other hand, those that would be, should be, building reports are business analysts.  Not developers.  Having developers building reports is like having the pilot serving drinks on the plane.  So what would they need VB studio for? Train a BA to use that, NOT.


  • For those of you who may not want to use a .NET IDE to write reports for SSRS, you may want to look at this.  There are other tools out there to create RDL....


  • All good posts but the bottom line is Microsoft produced an incomplete product that requires the purchase of another tool in order to use it.  If product was supposed to be part of my SQL license then I should be able to use it out of the box not have to spend several hundred dollars per developer for a designer (which should be a much simpler tool than a full blown application development tool).

    I don't expect MS to give everything away (although we can go a few rounds discussing MS's monopolies in aother markets that allow them to "give away" software)  but this is something that is supposed to be part of a license that I already paid for.  Besides S/W is cheap to develop, at least that's what all my prospective clients think.

  • I don't see the argument here and I'll explain why. Before the release of reporting services, you got a full-blown license of SQL Server and SQL Server Analysis Services. That's what you paid for. Now Microsoft is giving out a "freebie." So far as I am aware, Microsoft didn't raise the license cost on SQL Server just because they released Reporting Services. If you have VS.NET or VB.NET, you're really set. If you don't, you can create in XML. XML requires only a text editor.


    K. Brian Kelley

  • So where do you find this free Reporting tool?  I found a trial edition but nothing that was totally free?



  • Try here:


    K. Brian Kelley

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