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SQL Server's reporting tool goes across the board

While announcing when SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 will ship, Microsoft senior vice president Paul Flessner also outlined plans for tools, previews and editions of the company's database management platform.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Microsoft on Tuesday said two of its most highly anticipated next-generation products -- SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 -- will launch in the fall.

I love the idea of having [a common language runtime] built into the database …

Alex Franke, application specialist,

UNC-Chapel Hill


At TechEd 2005, Paul Flessner, senior vice president of server applications at Microsoft, said both products -- which have been much delayed -- will be released the week of Nov. 7.

TechEd roundup

News from Microsoft TechEd 2005

Flessner told IT managers and developers at the conference that the company is adding its Reporting Services tool to all versions of SQL Server 2005. Those editions are Enterprise, Standard, Workgroup and Express. The SQL Server 2005 Report Builder for the client will be extended to all versions except Express.

Flessner also revealed plans for a community technology preview (CTP) for BizTalk Server and said that the next CTP for SQL Server -- the first available to the public -- will come later this month.

In addition, Microsoft released a free download tool, called the SQL Server Migration Assistant, to help companies move off of an Oracle Corp. database.

Reporting tool will be available in all editions

The popular SQL Server reporting capability lets developers program their databases to generate reports. It was first made available to customers for SQL Server 2000 more than a year ago and is also available for those on Oracle and IBM database platforms. Customers were cheered that the feature would be available across the board on all SQL Server 2005 SKUs.

"It will solve some of the problems we face," said Ken Fine, a developer at the University of Washington in Seattle. "There is only one of me and [we] have a need for [well-organized] information."

Fine said he is also interested in moving to SQL Server 2005 for the data mining features, as well as improved failover capabilities.

An easier way to create and share reports

Chris Prime, a systems administrator at Medmarc Insurance Group, in Chantilly, Va., is also interested in using the Reporting Services tool, even though his company's current data warehouse application can create reports on the fly. "But we don't have access to that data directly," he said. SQL Server's reporting capability will make it easier for Medmarc to create and share reports, Prime said.

Many users are cautious about putting such a major release into production environments quickly, considering what a large job it is to migrate.

Alex Franke, an application specialist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, raved about the reporting model and how much easier it will be for business users to generate reports themselves. Also, he said, "I love the idea of having [common language runtime] built into the database and the ability to write code without having to write in Transact-SQL."

Related links

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But Franke is also mindful of the work it takes to move from one version of SQL Server to another. "We've got a lot of databases and it was pretty painful to upgrade to SQL Server 2000," he said.

RFID support will be .NET based

In a separate matter, Flessner said Microsoft support for radio frequency identification (RFID) will be available next year. RFID support will be built on top of the .NET Framework and embedded within third-party applications or used on its own to capture and interpret data from sensors, Microsoft said.

It's unclear how many ways companies will ultimately use RFID, but Microsoft plans to be prepared by connecting RFID technology to applications, according to Steven Martin, a group product manager in Microsoft's business process and integration division.

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