Fixes, features added to SQL Server tool

An update for Microsoft's SQL Server Reporting Services breaks from the software company's typical routine for service packs.

Microsoft late last week released a second service pack for its SQL Server Reporting Services, which includes new features in addition to the normal bug fixes for a service pack.

We stopped adding features to service packs, but we broke our own rule this time.


Tom Rizzo, Microsoft product management director, SQL Server

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"We stopped adding features to service packs, but we broke our own rule this time," said Tom Rizzo, a director of product management for SQL Server at Microsoft.

SQL Server Reporting Services, which helps database administrators create, manage and deliver both paper and interactive Web-based reports, now includes native support for SharePoint, Microsoft's collaboration platform.

"A lot of our customers are doing business intelligence portals and are using SharePoint Services or SharePoint Portal Server," Rizzo said. "They want to take reports and put them natively into the environment. We supported that [capability], but not drag and drop."

SP2 for SQL Server Reporting Services includes two SharePoint Web parts: Report Explorer, which generates reports in hierarchical format, and Report Viewer, which displays the requested reports. Microsoft said reports can now be printed from within Internet Explorer, and the company will provide an ActiveX control to support things like full-page preview.

Reporting Services features to be part of Yukon

SQL Server Reporting Services SP2 is supported by Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 SP2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Professional Edition. SP2 can be applied to an existing installation of Reporting Services or Reporting Services with SP1, Microsoft said.

The capabilities in SQL Server Reporting Services will become an innate part of the next-generation database from Microsoft, SQL Server 2005, code-named Yukon, which is on track to ship later this year, Rizzo said. Microsoft in mid-April released a community technology preview (CTP) of Yukon. The company said it is adopting CTPs, which are builds that are not quite as large as a full-blown beta release.

CTPs let developers experiment with the technology more gradually than a beta release. The CTP was the fourth in a series of releases, which started last October, leading up to the launch of the product. The current CTP has the full complement of SQL Server 2005 features, Rizzo said.

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