A few days ago, I pointed to a blog entry by Jackie Goldstein in which he discussed his favorite data enabling features in VS2005 and promised that I'd be watching it for comments. Well, Alex Kazovic asked a question:

Do you know if the next Beta of SQL RS 2005 will work with SQL Server Express? Whilst, I’m using the full version of SQL Server, I’m sure there are a lot of people using MSDE or Jet that are thinking of using SQL Server Express, but would like a good reporting deigner.

Good question, Alex. There are two aspects to this question - data you report against and the database that manages the reports that you're running. Additionally, the answer is somewhat different between windows forms and web forms.

In Reporting Services, you can run against any data that has a provider - so yes, you can report against data in SSE, Access, Fox, SQL, Oracle, etc. That's the case today and will continue to be the case.

Reporting Services today is a server based product. So, you license it via a license of SQL Server and it runs as a web front end - and accessible through web services for your own front ends. In VS2005 this changes. There will be reporting controls for Windows Forms that allows you to drop the control on the form and specify a datasource for a given report. That report will run locally (the control has the smarts to run the RDL) against your datasource. Note that these are the same datasources you build forms against - even objects! So, for applications that take advantage of Windows Forms, you'll be licensed with VS to run it locally. If you want to take advantage of server features like scheduled reports, email blasts, etc., you'll have to have a copy of SQL Server and license it as usual. For web applications, the same licensing as today applies.

Hope that answers your question, Alex!

Caveat: As always, this information may change as we get closer to release.