SSRS as a Microsoft server-based report generation software system, can be used to create and deploy a wide variety of interactive and printed reports. The administration is made through a web interface. The SQL Server Reporting Services or SSRS features a web devices interfaces to support the development of custom reporting apps.
SSRS is included in Microsoft SQL Server editions as an install option and is competing with Crystal Reports and other business intelligence tools. The SQL Server Reporting Services initially was conceived as an add-on to SQL 2000 and was released for the first time in 2004, while the second edition saw the daylight in November 2005 being part of SQL Server 2005. The latest edition of business intelligence tool was part of SQL Server 2008 and was released in August 2008.
In SQL Server Reporting Services, reports are defined in RDL or Report Definition Language which is an XML markup language. Thanks to Microsoft Visual Studio latest version reports can be designed with the included Report Builder or the Business Intelligence Projects plug-in. Reports that are defined in Report Definition Language can be generated in multiple formats such as PDF, CSV, XML TIFF, Excel and HTML Web Archive. Reports in Word Doc formats can also be defined in SQL Server 2008 SSRS.
Additional output formats can be offered by third party report generators. Users will be able to view, subscribe to, manage reports as well as manage, maintain data sources and security settings using Report Manager, while it allows reports delivery through e-mail or placing them on a file system. Security can be assigned on an individual item, just like a report or data source or folder of items. It allows overloading of security roles and rights.
The Report Definition Language reports can be viewed using ASP.NET ReportViewer web control in addition to using the standalone Report Server that comes with SQL Server, in this way reports can be embedded straight into .NET Windows apps or web pages. Reports are processed with ReportViewer control in two ways: first through server processing and secondly by local processing, where the control renders renders the file itself.
SSRS also offers specific reports: the designer creates a report schema and launches it on the reporting server, here the user is has the chance to choose proper data and generate reports. After that reports can be downloaded locally.