Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services 2005
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Product Description

Microsoft's Reporting Services product is a vital part of the SQL Server 2005 business intelligence platform, but it works with virtually any data source. This hands-on guide explains how to transform data into insightful and interactive Web-based reports using Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. With coverage of everything from installation to administration, the book demonstrates how to use this powerful server-based reporting solution to improve business decision-making and facilitate company-wide -- even worldwide -- communication.

Customer Reviews:

  • Clear step by step examples
    The way this book is formated is great for people who learn through "Give me an example". When looking up a topic you will find a step by step example with screen shots....more info
  • It Assumes You Are A Little Slow
    I felt like this book thought I couldn't connect the dots. I guess what I should have looked for was more of a reference book. I had no experience with SQL reporting services, but I already knew my way around a SQL query, and although I am mostly a sysadmin by trade, I have dabbled in Microsoft developement products for many years. If you've never seen visual studio and/or you've never touched any kind of relational database or any kind of reporting tools in your life, maybe this would be a good book for you. If you just need the bullet points on how it works and someone to point you in the right direction on some of the more complex things SSRS can do, this book won't work for you.

    Most of what I have learned about SSRS so far, I have learned from the Internet and Microsoft's included documentation....more info
  • Best technical book I've read in ten years
    It's sometimes hard to review a technical book without reviewing the technology the book discusses so I'll start by stating that Microsoft Reporting Services impressed me greatly but Microsoft's documentation is as bad as always. There's room for improvement but it's already better than Crystal Reports. Now on to the book review.

    I am familiar with SQL Server and Crystal Reports so I was looking for a book that didn't spend too much time on stuff I already knew. This book spent the first three chapters discussing database basics so I skipped them.

    I started reading the book in earnest at chapter four which discusses the report wizards. This is a quick way to throw reports together in Visual Studio and Brian Larson presents the information logically and clearly. It became quickly clear that I was reading an exceptional book. I'm guessing Brian had an experienced editor because the book is largely free of the gramatical errors that have been plaguing technical books recently. What impresses me even more is that all the examples worked flawlessly and were meaningful exercises that I will refer back to as I start to implement Reporting Services.

    The book references a database you need to download from the Osborne website. The instructions to do so are very clear and I had no problems whatsoever downloading and installing it. The only problem I had was that the user id in the examples (GalacticReporting) does not have access to the stored procedures. You need to give GalRep the 'Reporting' role. Minor problem.

    Brian, correctly, doesn't spend much time on the wizards and quickly gets into the meat of the application guiding the reader through successively more complex reporting scenarios. At first tasks are performed using point-and-click methods, then using quicker but more advanced methods. Finally Brian started taking shortcuts such as providing stored procedures. I saw Brian using this technique all through the book and I liked it.

    The first real problem I encountered with the book in is chapter 10 in the section on deploying custom assemblies. This is an area that Reporting Services is very weak and I hope to see Microsoft improve in future releases. You have two options - alter the config file or deploy via the GAC. Brian only mentions the first option and very poorly. He doesn't mention the GAC at all whereas I think the GAC is the better option. But in the next section on security Brian is back to his old form and does a splendid job of explaining a subject I normally have a very hard time with.

    The explanation of report caching, snapshots, and subscriptions is exceptionally good and does a great job of explaining these potentially confusing subjects. Again, his examples are well thought out and very simple to follow. As they occur after the section on security he points out what security tasks/roles are required to perform these function which was a great idea.

    I wish Brian had spent a little more time explaining the logging mechanism in chapter 11. He refers the reader to the Microsoft documentation which is actually wrong. The book could have spent half a page explaining how to create and populate the logging database and implementing the sample reports. It would have saved me a lot of trouble.

    The only other issue I have with the book is late in chapter 12 where Brian explains how to implement a custom, forms-based, security model. The example works well especially considering how complex it is, but I could not get the debugger to attach to the authentication dll even though I followed Brian's instructions to the letter. However, having Googled the problem it seems many, many people have problems attaching the Visual Studio debugger to already running threads so I suspect Bill should take some of the blame at least.

    Overall Brian Larson should be very pleased with his work. It's well worth the money and he has done us all a great service. He should buy his editor a beer too....more info
  • Good textbook, poor reference
    I agree with others who say this book is fine as a text but a poor reference. The best way to use this book is read it cover to cover, work out the examples at your computer and take your own notes, because the structure of the book just doesn't lend itself to use as a reference. There is a lot of good information here, but it isn't easy to use outside of the context in which it was written....more info
  • Exceptional clarity and useful real world examples!
    This book delivers a solid understanding of Reporting Services derived from working through genuinely useful, real world examples preceded by clear technical overviews.

    I am a BI consultant always learning new software technologies and as part of this work, read many instructional s/w books. From this standpoint I can state that this book shows great attention to detail (all of the examples actually work). It also incorporates a very useful feature "Task Notes" that further explains the implicit assumptions and underlying factors following each example. This shows that a great deal of care was taken to ensure that the reader is always on the same page as the writer.

    This book is rare in its clarity, technical editing and delivery of concrete skills in return for the effort spent with it. Just keep off my turf when you acquire your skills! (;^ )
    ...more info
  • Solid Intro to SSRS
    This book served as a decent read as well as decent reference material for using SSRS.

    I could have done without the author's attempts at humor with lines such as "Be prepared. You're about to enter... the Matrix!". I would have preferred a "dryer" more serious approach however I can live with the writer's style because the book delivered on content....more info
  • Great book
    I am an intructor and I used this book for a class. It is great for learning from in a structured environment....more info
  • Exactly what I needed
    I am a veteran SQL developer but never got into Reporting services. This book was the perfect balance of getting started and doing real work. After 2 or 3 days I was developing my own reports and deploying them to the company. It contained good (accurate) examples that were very close to what I needed to be doing. It was not fluffed up with nonesense to create more pages like some books are. It was clear, precise and useful. The example that was followed throughout the books was well developed. That allowed me to focus on the reporting not the example....more info
  • Good introduction to Reporting Services
    With the release of SQL Server 2005, many developers and business managers are clamoring to use the new features of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, but are unsure how to get started. This book takes the reader step-by-step through installing Reporting Services, to configuration, to generating a report, to finally customizing Reporting Services to meet a business need. This book is a good introduction to understanding what Reporting Services is all about.

    This book is well organized and divided into three sections: getting Reporting Services set up, generating a report with Reporting Services, and serving up the reports you create.

    The first section takes the reader through a step-by-step process of configuring Reporting Services. Additionally, the author identifies some common errors that might occur during set up and how those issues can be resolved.

    The second section is (in my opinion) the most interesting of the three sections. In this section, the author illustrates how to create reports. Examples are provided which show how to generate all kinds of reports, in addition to jazzing up the end result with graphics and colors.

    The final section details many of the administrative options that you should be aware of when deploying Reporting Services. In addition to some of the administrative details, the author shows how to customize reports with a style sheet and how to get the new report to integrate with a SharePoint site.

    This is a very interesting book, and I would recommend it to individuals who work with SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. There is a lot that you can do with Reporting Services, and this book goes a long way to identifying and illustrating those things.


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  • All You Need to Know in One Well Done Book
    Virtually all the information that a company has is maintained in databases. This includes information from vatious department such as personnel, sales, manufacturing, all of which needs to be pulled together into intelligible reports if they are to be of any use to management.

    This book is written as a complete guide to the setting up of a reporting structure. It eases the boredom some when you realize that the company used as an example is Galactic Delivery Services, an interplanetary package delivery service complete with anti-matter transports and robot employees. Computer software is dull enough, a bit of humor makes the medicine go down.

    The book is what you would expect. It is a complete guide to using Reporting Services from irs installation to tieing the database to the web, security aspects, and everything else there is to know about the product. The author was involved with the writing of part of the package, and this is his second book on the subject. ...more info
  • Sql server 2005 Reportin Service, Brian Larson
    SAVE YOUR MONEY!!! This is a book seems to be targetting retarded. There is a chapter on datbase concepts - if some one does not know, it is unlikely they will be reading reporting services. Too much fluff and descriptions are buried in the fluff. If you skip the fluff, you may find yourself difficult to connect dots. Too much details on formatting fonts, colors which is completly useless. ...more info
  • Data Analyst
    Very good book. It is easy to learn how to create Reports when you go through the samples in this book. ...more info
  • Not for serious developers
    While this book provides a good overview from absolute basics (like how to write sql statements and join tables) to more advanced topics, it does so in a story-telling fashion. In other words, you need to interact with the sample files and step through exercises. This is useless to me. A good reference is way more useful. Like most developers, I need the ability to find a topic in the index and jump to an explanation and some sample code. I don't want to do exercises....more info
  • Great Book
    This book is full of acknowledgement. Step by step teaching of everything related to Report Server 2005....more info
  • I too prefer the technical reference methodology
    I have nearly 15 years of report writing experience using Crystal, Oracle, Access and other less common report writing tools. I need to be able to hit the index, grab a topic and run with it. For example, shading alternate rows is a fundamental report tool. However, trying to find out how to do that in 60 seconds or less was impossible with this book. Further, I found that the order in which topics was presented was a bit "interesting", considering that publishing reports was one of the first topics covered. This may be a great book, but it just didn't fit my needs....more info
  • Great Book!
    This book is an excellent resource for learning Reporting Services from the ground up. It breaks down some very complex aspects of the program into manageable and easy to learn modules. It is filled with examples that make sense and make the learning process more enjoyable. I would highly recommend it to anyone wishing to learn this new technology....more info
  • Save your money....
    There's obviously 2 versions of this book: Version 1 uses the Adventureworks data; Version 2 uses Galactic Shipping data.....Installing the Galactic database and info is IMPOSSIBLE!!! Make sure you get the first version or you will truly be sorry (like I am!!!)....Other than that, the book is great.....but finding the download and installing it is truly more trouble than it's worth.......BEWARE!!!...more info
  • Great book, amazing author...
    Got this book last week but I just started to read and do the chapters a few days back, and I'm not into chapter 6 already and finding it really helpful and easy read. The book is well laid out, and for a beginner like I find the steps so easy to follow.

    Also, the author was so helpful when I emailed him regarding the Galactic DB setup and he responded immediately within 30 minutes! Now, that's a plus factor! Highly recommended for beginners and intermediates but not so much for experts (as my officemate was looking for a peculiar way of doing the report in a matrix data region required by the business but can't find any that advanced format...)...more info
  • A good overview of Reporting Services
    As an experienced report writer (Business Objects and Cognos), I was looking for a good introduction to Reporting Services. This book does a very good job of that. How to write and format reports is covered well and the explanation of report distribution and security is well done. I was disappointed to see that Report Model and Report Builder, ad hoc reporting tools were only covered by an appendix. As I have worked more with these tools, I have found them very shallow, so the appendix coverage is adequate. Overall, this is a worthwhile book to have on your desk....more info
  • Beginners Only?
    As a very experienced developer I needed to learn about SQL Server Reporting Services as quick as possible as for a project I am starting. I bought this title primarily based on the great reviews, I must say I was very disappointed. If you are already a developer or report writer then I would say this book is not for you.

    The book started out alright but when I got to chapter 3 titled 'DB 101 : Database Basics' I kind of figured I may have the wrong book. Next chapters were on various levels of report creation, no explanation of the report to be created or it's features, just a very detailed list of step by step instructions to make the report.

    I know many learn by example but I learned nothing here as I can not take the time nor do I learn from following mindless step by step direction. After a few chapters like this I quit reading the book.

    ...more info
  • Best Application Specific Step by Step Book I Have Ever Read
    Again, this is the best hands on how to book for a software application I have ever read. Though before I explain the reasons why I feel what makes this book so great, please allow me explain those things that often times make a "how to" book not so great. Things that Brian thankfully avoids.

    Please note that the only negative reviews you will find amongst all the reviews here on Amazon are a result of those who bought the book expecting it to be a topical reference followed by code samples. Being such "serious developers" perhaps they should have read a bit more about the book before purchasing it. For example if I order a hotdog thinking I am going to get a hamburger I am not going to say the hotdog sucks just because I had a hamburger in mind! However I digress.

    It has been my experience that the overwhelming majority of "step by step" software/programming books start off in a manner that is easy enough to follow, at first. The first few chapters are well written (most likely the result of the writer/editor knowing that someone browsing the book in a bookstore is only going to read about that far before making a purchase). Then once you get past the first few chapters the author begins to introduce terms that are critical to understanding what is being taught, without these terms ever having been explained in previous material. Or you will notice typo's, or even worse code samples containing typos (Similar to Lisin and Joseph's book on reporting services which I also have and warn you to stay very very far away from). Often times rendering what the author has written as useless. Another trend in "how to books" is that more often than not they read like a "topical guide", never really explaining how to do anything in the proper sequence to actually put to use what it is you are reading. It is like they back up the "information dump truck", spill it all over you, then expect you to understand how to "put it all together and use it". Except for the few gifted individuals who have the heightened degree of intellect to be able to "put it all together". Most people will just feel confused, because without having the opportunity to put what one has read in "Chapter 2" to practical/hands on use one will have forgotten what they have read by the time they get to "Chapter 3". Thankfully none of the above causes for concern/destroying a book are to be found here. Brian's book is 100% hands on, and everything, yes everything is clearly explained and easy to understand. No terms are introduced that have not been explained previously. And the times where you do use a "function" that has not been explained previously he takes the time to explain its significance at the end of the tutorial. So far I have found zero typos. It is almost as though this book has been edited/reviewed by someone who was absolutely certain that there were no "blanks" created by the author where the reader was left to have to "fill in those blanks".


    The first thing you will notice is how very clear and concise a writer Brian is. The book starts with him carefully explaining the fundamentals of database design/theory. Even if you never have touched reporting services, those who have worked with database applications will most likely be fine with skipping the intro sections and jump straight to the tutorials. Though, I read the content for the "beginners" as a refresher and was blown away by how simple and easy to understand Brian's writing style is. I can say with confidence that someone who has never even touched a database before will feel confident to "jump right into" the tutorials after having read Chapters 1 and 3. Naturally the tutorials progress in their degree of complexity, and Brian will not explain every single step in explicit detail in cases where previous chapters have explained that particular step/concept in explicit detail. This illustrates another element of what I like about this book. Brian "holds your hand" at first, though he is confident in what he has taught you previously to where you feel confident to "walk on your own" as tutorials progress. However if there are those steps where you are not sure how to do what is being asked you can ALWAYS go back to a previous chapter/tutorial and familiarize yourself with the steps to carry out a task. I think this offers a great way to learn, if a book was step by step and repeated the same steps to perform certain tasks over and over from tutorial to tutorial how would you ever know which things you need to go back and learn for yourself? Wow what a great way to learn, your weak areas will be exposed in the later chapters, where if need be the earlier chapters will serve to bring you quickly and easily up to speed.

    Simply put this book teaches you how to learn "by doing" in a way that is easy to grasp and easy to follow. And in those moments where you are not sure how to do something you can always go back and re-familiarize yourself with the material. Again, he does not take any liberties with using terms or explanations where he "assumes" you should understand what he is talking about. The text is not overly verbose like much of what is out there. Everything is explained simply, thoroughly, and to the point. If you have little to no experience with databases I believe if you take your time with the early material you will feel confident in moving forward with the tutorials. And again if you get stuck it is easy to go back and quickly find what you are looking for. And if like me you used Access or some other database application previous to Reporting Services you will be creating reports that make you say "WOW" the very first day.

    I hope you found this review helpful. Thank you for reading!
    ...more info
  • Never Have I read a better Tech Book - EVER !
    You, Brian Larson are wonderful. I have not read a better tech book.

    You cover everything, from Beginning SQL syntax all the way to Security and executing reports with custom ASP.NET apps and Web Services. I recommend this to everyone, when they ask me how to learn SQL Reporting.

    - John Johnson


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  • Very good information
    I have been more than happy with this book and have recommended others to purchase it also. I feel this book is easy to follow and great for the experienced and also for the beginner. ...more info
  • A great way to learn the basics
    I just worked my way cover-to-cover and did every exercise. Sure, there are some errors in the book and sometimes it is not as clear as I would like and it does help to be a DBA but I think the book is rather above average in its accuracy. The book is not useful as a reference. But I highly recommend it as a great start. If you are not going to download the problems and do the exercises, then do not buy this book. The value is in doing the exercises. ...more info
  • good information
    This helped me with a special project that I was working on. There is a lot information that I skipped over because I didn't have time to read the whole thing. I did find most of what I was looking for in order to complete my project.
    ...more info
  • Be Aware!
    Be aware that the style of this book is almost entirely to step you through one report project after another, building various kinds of reports step by step. As such it is not useful as a technical reference whereby you can look up a topic in the index and go straight to a "how to" section relating to that topic.

    If you wish to learn by completing multiple projects step by step it is fine.

    I prefer a technical reference style publication....more info
  • sorry I bought this book!!!
    I was very excited when I received this book, I had read the reviews and it sounded like just the ticket for me at my new job. The first couple of chapters were great..then he abandoned all pretense of giving a detailed idea of all the options and possibilities and created a fictitious company and started solving their fictitious problems with reporting services...didn't take me long to realize their issues weren't my issues and he wasn't going to cover what I needed to know because he was sticking with explaining only the features needed to solve his companies problems.

    Now I'm sorry I spent so much time researching this book and money buying it...now I have to continue my search for a book that just lays out the features and options available in Reporting Services....more info
  • The only Reporting book a tech needs.
    This is the only Reporting book needed. I started working with three reporting books, two sucked, this one was excellent. Very complete and easy to follow....more info