In archeology, the Rosetta stone was the key that solved the mysteries of Egyptian
hieroglyphics. I believe that with the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting
Services, code-named Rosetta, Microsoft gives organizations the key they need to
unlock the secrets of enterprise data and unleash the power hidden within.
Looking retrospectively, Microsoft’s reporting strategy has been confusing, at least
for me. Microsoft Access debuted in the early 90s with a powerful report designer that
made desktop reporting child’s play.
Enterprise developers, however, have not been that lucky. The lack of comprehensive
native reporting capabilities continues even today in the .NET framework. True,
some progress has been made with the advent of print-related controls, such as Print-
Document, PrintPreviewControl, and so on, but still, dealing with the GDI+ (Graphics
Device Interface) API is usually the last thing a developer wants to tackle when
creating the next line-of-business application. For reasons such as these, reportenabling
Microsoft-centric solutions has been traditionally regarded as a tedious chore.
To address this problem, many of us defected to third-party tools. Others chose to
fill the void with homegrown, customized solutions. While these solutions address particular
needs, they can also be costly, time-consuming, and difficult to implement.