Integrating Reporting Services into Applications
Reporting Services is an open and extensible reporting platform designed to provide developers with a comprehensive set of APIs for developing solutions.
There are three options for integrating Reporting Services into custom applications: the Report Server Web service, also known as the Reporting Services SOAP API, the ReportViewer controls for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, and URL access. Each option provides a different approach for integrating Reporting Services into your applications.
The Report Server Web service is the primary interface for developing against Reporting Services. Whether you are developing code to manage your report catalog or developing code to render reports to a supported format, the Web service exposes all the necessary methods to integrate Reporting Services into your applications. An example of one such application is Report Manager, which is included with Reporting Services; it uses the Web service to manage the report server database.
The ReportViewer controls included with Visual Studio 2005 are used for integrating report viewing into your applications. There are two controls: one for Windows Forms-based applications and one for Web Forms applications. Each control provides the capability for viewing reports that have been deployed to a report server as well as the ability to render reports that exist in an environment where a report server has not been installed.
URL access is another option for integrating report viewing into your applications if the ReportViewer controls are not an option. For example, if you are developing applications that use a version of the Microsoft .NET Framework that shipped prior to Visual Studio 2005 or an application developed with unmanaged code, you'll want to consider URL access for viewing reports. In addition to viewing reports within you application, URL access is useful for sending links to reports to users via e-mail.