Reporting Services Design-Time Enhancements

SQL Server 2005 introduces a number of new report features and design enhancements. Report authors who regularly work with Report Designer can add new capabilities to reports, and benefit from an improved user interface for defining expressions, creating MDX queries, and using data from SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) in a report.

Report authoring has been extended to support ad hoc reporting by the business report user or analyst. The new Report Builder tool allows users to create and collaborate on reports by dragging and dropping data items onto a report layout. Reports use predefined and published models as a data source. For more information about this important new feature, see Report Functionality Enhancements.

New Model Designer

Ad hoc reporting is based on models that you define in advance and then publish to a report server. A new type of project, called a Report Model, has been added to create the report models used by the Report Builder client. To work with a report model, you use Model Designer, which is available in Business Intelligence Development Studio. Model Designer provides several wizards to help you specify data sources and data views, and generate models. To learn the basics about model building in Model Designer, see Tutorial: Creating a Report Model and Working with Model Designer.

Report Designer Enhancements

Report Designer in SQL Server 2005 runs in Business Intelligence Development Studio, which functions as either an access point to an existing Visual Studio 2005 installation on the local computer, or as a Visual Studio shell if you do not have an existing Visual Studio 2005 installation on your computer. Report Designer includes several enhancements to the editors and query builders it provides. For more information, see Data View (Report Designer).

Expression Editor Enhancements

The expression editor now includes a list of functions available to report authors, as well as Intellisense features that provide statement completion, real-time syntax checking, and context-sensitive information about inline parameters. For more information, see Edit Expression (Report Designer).

Expression-based Data Sources

Reporting Services now supports the ability to specify data sources dynamically. This lets you to switch data sources at run time based on conditions you specify in the expression. For more information, see Connecting to a Data Source.

New Analysis Services Query Designer

Report Designer includes a new query designer for creating MDX queries. You can use the integrated query designer for Analysis Services to build queries by dragging and dropping server metadata onto a report layout and then preview the results.

Integration Services Enhancements

You can use a new data processing extension to build reports from data generated by a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) package. For more information, see Defining Report Datasets for Package Data from SQL Server Integration Services.

Report Definition Language Enhancements

The Report Definition Language has new elements to support custom report controls and other new features.

General Enhancements

  • Reports now support InteractiveHeight Element (RDL) and InteractiveWidth Element (RDL) elements so that you can specify the page size for logical page rendering extensions such as HTML. To learn more about pagination support for different rendering extensions, see Controlling Report Pagination.
  • The ConnectString Element (RDL) element can now be an expression, enabling dynamic data source connections at run time.
  • A FixedHeader Element (RDL) element can be specified for ColumnGrouping and RowGrouping elements in a matrix and TableColumn and TableHeader elements in a table. A fixed header remains visible on the page during scroll operations that continue off the page.
  • Within the Chart element, a Style Element (RDL) element has been added to SeriesGrouping. The Style element defined border and background style properties for the series legend items and data points in the series.
  • Expressions are now supported in the MajorInterval, MinorInterval, Min, and Max elements on the chart Axis element.
  • GUID is now a supported data type for report expressions.

Report Parameter Enhancements

  • ReportParameter now supports the Hidden Element (RDL) element so that you can define report parameters that are not displayed to users. Hidden report parameters can still be set programmatically during report processing.
  • ReportParameter also supports the MultiValue Element (RDL) element so that you can pass multiple values to a single parameter. Multivalued parameters are accessed in expressions as zero-based arrays in the Value and Label properties. The following examples illustrate the syntax: Parameters!Cities.Value(0) and Parameters!Cities.Label(0).

Sorting Enhancements

  • UserSort Element (RDL) element on a TextBox enables support for an end-user sorting of data in report. Sorting is controlled by SortExpression, SortExpressionScope, and SortTarget.
  • SortExpression Element (RDL) specifies the expression on which to sort. It has the same restrictions as a GroupingFilter expression.
  • SortExpressionScope Element (RDL) specifies the name of the scope (data region or grouping) in which to evaluate the SortExpression. If omitted, the expression will be evaluated and the sort will be performed independently in each detail scope within the SortTarget.
  • SortTarget Element (RDL) specifies the Name of the data region, grouping, or dataset to which the sort is applied. If omitted, the sort applies to the instance of the current scope.

Custom Report Item Enhancements

  • CustomReportItem describes a report item that is not natively defined in RDL. In the previous version, this element supported XML data only. In this release, it provides a definition for third-party controls or any data-bound report item that is not native to a Reporting Services report.
  • AtlReportItem specifies a report item to render instead of the CustomReportItem. This is used when the assembly specified by the custom report item is not installed on the server.
  • CustomProperties contains the CustomProperty settings that are used when processing the custom report item control.
  • CustomData defines the data used by the CustomReportItem. Grouping, sorting, filtering and aggregation are specified through existing DataSetName and Filters elements, and through these new elements: DataColumnGroupings, DataRowGroupings, DataRows, and DataCell.

Extended Properties for the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Data Processing Extension

When you use the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services as a data source type, you can set additional Field object properties. In addition to Field.Value, you can set properties like Field.Color and Field.FormattedValue using standard property syntax:


The following table provides a list of the new properties that you can use. For more information about using the extended field properties, see Using Extended Field Properties for an Analysis Services Database.

Property Type





























See Also


Reporting Services Enhancements
What's New in SQL Server 2005

Other Resources

SQL Server Reporting Services
Installing SQL Server Reporting Services

Help and Information

Getting SQL Server 2005 Assistance