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Enjoy Another Sandwich -- Kent Tegels

Yummy slices of SQL Server between slices of .NET and XML

RDL me this - how do you write reports if all you have is SQL Server Express Advanced Services Edition?

A few days ago via Twitter (, follow me as ktegels), Mr. Lowe (AKA Vendoran) asked "SQL Express with Advanced services comes with SSRS, but does it come with the ability to create/edit rdl in VS?"

The short answer to that question is "it depends." In most of the pay-for-license editions of Visual Studio you can use the Report Viewer controls to do that. For example, you can create a new C# Windows Forms project, then drag and drop a Report Viewer control on the form. After you have created the report you want, you will find an "RDLC" file in that project. RDLCs are, essentially, RDL files designed for use with the Report Viewer control. The good news is that these can be used Report Manager in most cases if you: a.) rename the file with an extension of RDL instead of RLDC before uploading and b.) reconfigure the connection string used by that report to a shared connection defined within Report Manager. However, the Expression Version of Visual Studio does not support this. True, you can look for, enable and use the Report Viewer control, but you will not be able to design a report in the Express SKU.

So what to do, what to do? Your best bet today is download and install the Report Builder 2.0 tool. Robert Bruckner, a member of the SQL Server team specializing in Express/Advanced Services edition, has a blog post ( ) about this tool and a download link. I tried this new tool today. It feels very much like the Report Designer in SSRS2008 - a good thing indeed. When you save a designed report, you get an RDL file.  Based on what Mr. Bruckner says in blog, I believe this tool has been target to help solve the riddle at hand.

I am currently building a VPC with SQL Server 2008 Express Edition with Advanced Services to see if some version of this tool is included with it. If so, it looks like we have a good solution for low-cost reporting in hand.

By the way, if you are using the new AdventureWorks2008 OLTP database, you might want to check out   this "issue" ( I found with "[HumanResources].[vEmployeeDepartment] .Your votes would be appreciated.

Published Tuesday, August 26, 2008 6:04 PM by ktegels



Jason said:

Haha, punny title. :)

August 26, 2008 8:27 PM

ktegels said:

Additional research (I tore the executable file apart) shows that there is, in fact, a BIDS installer in the SQL Server 2008 Express Edition Advanced Services download, so it appears that the default answer there is to use that version of BIDs. :)

August 26, 2008 9:57 PM

ktegels said:

I can now confirm that BIDs is installed as part of SQL Server 2008 Express Edition Advanced Services. Problem solved.

August 27, 2008 10:43 AM
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About ktegels

Kent Tegels passed away on July 31, 2010. Kent was an Adjunct Professor at Colorado Technical University and a member of the technical staff at PluralSight. He was recognized by Microsoft with Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status in SQL Server for his community involvement with SQL Server and .NET. Kent held Microsoft Certifications in Database Administration and Systems Engineering, and contributed to several books on data access programming and .NET. He was a well known industry speaker, and resided in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
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