As programmers, when building data-driven Web sites we typically focus our energies on defining what information needs to be accepted by the end user, and ensuring that this data is properly entered into some backend data store properly via a Web interface. After all, if a Web application cannot correctly accept the data it is designed to collect, the usefulness of the site is greatly reduced. However, the usability of a data-driven site is not limited strictly to collecting the necessary information. Equally as important is analyzing and displaying the information in an easy-to-read manner, a task that is commonly referred to as reporting.
There are a number of third-party reporting products available, the most (in)famous one being Crystal Reports. Recently, however, Microsoft released their own reporting solution software, Reporting Services. Reporting Services is an add-on for SQL Server 2000, and has been made available by Microsoft since early 2004. Furthermore, Reporting Services is licensed as part of SQL Server 2000, which means if your company already has a licensed copy of SQL Server, you're in luck - Reporting Services can be installed and run on the same server for no additional license fee.
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