At the end of 2005, the Reporting Services development team had some tough decisions to make. Unlike most of the SQL Server development team, who had been working on the 2005 release for close to five years, it had only been a year and a half since we shipped the first version of Reporting Services. In that same timeframe, we shipped two service packs, acquired a new ad hoc reporting tool that we delivered as Report Builder, and built a set of report controls that shipped in Visual Studio 2005. The follow-up release, code-named “Katmai,” was scheduled for a relatively quick two- to three-year turnaround.
During this time, we also learned a lot about how people were using Reporting Services. When we started development, our initial assumption was that customers wanted to enable web-based delivery of reports with small to medium-sized data sets. While this was the case for most customers, there was another set of users that wanted to be able to export reports as single documents with up to several thousand pages. As the memory required for generating these reports could be far beyond the actual memory available on the server, supporting this scenario wasn’t a trivial task. In fact, it would require a large development effort that would consume most of the schedule allocated for the 2008 release. At the same time, users had also requested a number of smaller features that would make their lives easier and their reports better. We couldn’t fit both, so a decision had to be made.