Book Review: Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services, by Paul Turley, Thiago Silva, Bryan C. Smith, and Ken Withee

This is the third book [1] in a series of books from a coworker about SQL that I have read, and for me, the most worthwhile parts were at the very beginning, where the basic elements of reporting in SQL Server were discussed, and the main audience for different parts of the book was detailed, and the very end, where there was at least some code included in SQL for adding different extensions, and for making sure to avoid using certain reserved words. For the most part, this book is both accessible and remote, a seeming contradiction borne out by the fact that it is full of user-friendly C# and Visual Basic code and screen shots of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services, but unfortunately some readers of the book (myself included) are sufficiently ignorant of programming that much of the book was extremely difficult to read and understand. It would be a miracle if I understood even a quarter of what this book said.

In terms of its content, this book is sprawling, at nearly 800 pages including appendices, much of that filled with screenshots as well as lines of code and explanations. In general, the materials of this book are grouped around a central core of themes, including introducing the software itself and its capabilities, as well as report installation and design and analysis, and also different models of report building, server administration, and custom applications and integration with SharePoint. Some of its material, like the Foreword, is extremely accessible to readers, who would be well-advised to stick to chapters of professional interest and competence. This book contains more information than anyone would want to know about SQL Server 2008 (and no doubt editions of this book for later versions of SQL Server are equally daunting for most readers.

For the most part, if you read this book you are likely to be a fairly advanced database administrator or someone who wants to lose hours designing gauges (no joke). Given the fact that the intended reading audience of this book is so technically inclined, it is almost a shame that most people would be so daunted by its content to miss the fact that it is written with a dry and often funny sense of humor. For all of the technicality and difficulty of the material, it is clear from looking at this book that the authors know their material, and even take advantage of knowledge not blessed to be public yet by Microsoft at the time of writing. Additionally, sometimes the authors knew more about the capabilities of the software than official Microsoft representatives, always a sign that someone is fit to share that knowledge with others. Fortunately, the most essential points of this book are easy enough to understand–Microsoft SQL server is robust, has great capabilities for customization as a part of a comprehensive solution for data management, and offers integration capabilities that are straightforward enough that using them to create insightful reports is not a hopeless task, even for someone like myself.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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