The good people over at packt publishing recently sent me a copy of Learning SQL Server Reporting Server 2008 Reporting Services by Jayaram Krishnaswamy. So here is my first ever book review. Hope you find it interesting –
SQL reporting services has been part of the SQL Server suite for a few years now, and this book covers the latest version 2008. As stated by the back cover of the book, it is aimed at beginners, but also has plenty of useful information for old hands, with all of the topics covered in the book backed up by code examples and screen shots.
As with most books I have read on any reporting engines, a basic knowledge of SQL server, and the SQL language will always help a great deal when reading the book. Also a couple of the topics hit on using the reporting service from your own applications, so you will need some programing know how to get anything from these chapters.
The book is written in a very easy to read way, and unlike some technical books manages to seems light enough to enjoy reading, but everything is still explained in an accurate and concise manner.
There are 2 sections given over to using the new report Builder (something i have never used before), explaining how it is set out like excising Microsoft office application, and information and examples of all the other new features in this version. The section on using Crystal reports is interesting, and although i found it a little short, it is something i have never seen before in a SQL reporting services book, they never seem to touch on the subject at all.
The chapters at the end of of the book are about programing into/around the reporting engine, I found the one about Progammatically Creating a report particularly interesting, it takes you through all the necessary steps to create your own .rdl, using the XMLTextWritter class. Might not be very interesting if you just want to author reports in the builder, but if you wanted to take it to this level the information is very helpful, with full source code in the book.
As well as all the new features for 2008, all the existing one are covered (images, sub-reports, parametrised reports, datasets, formatting, graphs etc) in good detail, with examples and screen shots available for each topic.
All in all not only enjoyed reading this book, i took quite a bit of useful information out it as well, some of witch i think i would struggle to find in other publications. A good read all round.