A recurring concern for IT Pros looking to employ SQL Server Reporting Services is the apparent need to use Visual Studio as the report designer. This is not the case. There are a number of alternatives out there.
Firstly, there are two alternatives that I’m aware of that can be used by normal ‘end users’ to directly create RDL.
- Cizer from http://www.cizer.com/portalcsvs/DesktopDefault.aspx
The Cizer .NET Reporting Suite includes Cizer Quick Query, Cizer Report Builder, and the Cizer .NET Portal, providing both ad hoc and production report design with a ready-to-load Portal interface for personalized reporting using nothing but Internet Explorer on the client.
Global libraries for Reporting, Queries and Parameters provide a repository for pre-tested SQL, baseline reports, and templates, as well as a single point of maintenance for queries affecting multiple reports.
The robust Cizer .NET Reporting security model controls both authentication and permissions, allowing administrators to lock down data to the column-row granular level required by today's database security standards. A Custom Login add-on is also provided to allow applications already using a security model to easily connect to the Cizer .NET database so end-users are automatically authenticated by the database application security model with a single login.
- OfficeWriter from http://officewriter.softartisans.com/officewriter-250.aspx
Use MS Office to Design Reports
Released in September 2004, the Reporting Services Edition of OfficeWriter allows users to design and then publish their Reporting Services reports without ever leaving Microsoft Office. Visual Studio .NET is no longer needed to design reports.
Every Feature of Office 97-2003
With OfficeWriter, Reporting Services customers can now utilize all advanced Excel features such as pivots, VBA, macros, advanced formulas and live charts. In addition, end users can now design and deliver their reports in Microsoft Word, which is currently not supported by Reporting Services.
Secondly, there are BI ‘end user’ reporting tools such as:
that have integrated Reporting Services into their applications.