WHAT'S IN THIS CHAPTER?
One of the key components of almost every business application is reporting. Businesses put data into the system in order to get useful information out of it, and this information is generally in the form of reports. Numerous reporting tools and engines are available, and it can often be hard to choose which one is best for your application or system (they tend to work in different ways and have different pros/cons).
Visual Studio 2010 contains a built-in report designer that saves to files using the RDL file specification — and reports built using this designer can be generated using the local report engine, or rendered on a remote report server running SQL Server Reporting Services.
The professional versions of Visual Studio 2010 (and higher) also come with another well-known reporting tool called Crystal Reports. However, this chapter specifically looks at Visual Studio's report designer, and how to use it to design and generate reports (using the local report engine).
When you start designing reports, you will either want to add a report to an existing project or start a completely new project (such as for a reporting application). If it is the latter, the easiest way to get started is to create a new project using the Reports Application project template. This creates a Windows Forms project already set up with the necessary assembly references, a form ...