My webcast series on SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services is now available on demand. The ideal attendee for this series is someone who needs to develop reports, but hasn't used SQL Server Reporting Services before. In the series I assume that you've done some development in .NET, and won't freak out if I show you a SQL SELECT or some VB code, but you don't have to know anything about reporting. It might also be useful to folks who have used other reporting solutions, like Microsoft Access or Crystal Reports, and would like to know about a better solution for building reports.

One of my goals was to show some of the ways that developers can interact with the product. I'm a huge fan of the architecture of Reporting Services, which is really well thought out. (I don't work for the product group, so I had nothing to do with designing the product.) If you're a developer, there are loads of places that you can dive into the product and extend it to meet your needs. As an example, if you need to access a custom data source, you can do so by calling a web service or by writing a .NET DLL that provides the data to Reporting Services. If you want to export reports to some file format that the product doesn't support, you can build a custom rendering extension. If you need to see reports in the Microsoft Bob Word Processor, no problem, build a custom renderer.

Six hours of presentations is just a survey of the product, but there are tons of demos, so I think developers will enjoy it. All the webcasts were rated either four stars out of five, or four and a half stars out of five, so someone must have liked them. Either that, or my strategy of hacking the survey site so only my mother could rate the webcast is looking pretty good.

Session One: Introduction. This webcast gives a flavor of the entire report lifecycle: report design, report management, and report delivery.

Session Two: Delivering reports. This webcast is about ways to get reports to users. I showed an ASP.NET application that integrates with a report by linking to a report URL, a Windows Forms application that called the web service to browse available reports and then displays the report in a browser, building standard and data-driven report subscriptions, and uaing the Windows Forms control from Visual Studio 2005.

Session Three: Report Builder. Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about ad hoc reports. How does a user create an ad hoc report? What does a developer have to do to make the database available to end users?

Session Four: Report Design. I build reports with tables. I build reports with matrices. I build reports with lists. I build reports with charts. I build reports that link to other reports.

Session Five: Extensibility. Our intrepid hero calls custom code from a report. He gets data from a web service. He does a directory of the file system using a custom data source. He even uses a third-party charting control for Reporting Services.

Session Six: Management and Security. We learn about SQL Server Management Studio, and see the security model for reporting services. We also see diagrams of a scale-out architecture for a high-capacity, fault tolerant, enterprise grade reporting solution.

I'll be back in November with two more webcasts on reporting services. On November 2nd, I'll cover the controls that ship in Visual Studio 2005 for displaying reports in Windows Forms and ASP.NET applications. On November 16th, I'll be doing a session on charting in depth.

Update: There's also a list of my SQL Server 2000 webcasts here.