One really interesting question I got during my presentation this week, to which I felt I didn't give a particularly well-rounded response, was "Why bother using SQL Server Reporting Services at all?" The question was asked seriously in the context that I had just demoed how to create a really simple table report, which could more easily have been done on a page with a GridView.
Now that I've had time to think about it, there are 3 really good reasons:
- If all you want is a simple table report, the questioner is absolutely correct: do it in a GridView. However, if you want Excel-like charts, then SSRS is the easiest way forward.
- Also, SSRS lets you easily create form-letters (with page breaks, headers and footers in the correct places). You can't guarantee what a web page will output like.
- And finally, SSRS lets you output to PDF.