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· Other ERP Systems (like Oracle Peoplesoft) have utilised easy-to-use transctional report writers for the end-users for many years. I remember (many moons ago) using the DREAM-writer tools (Data Record Extraction and Management) within the One World sofwtare for end-user transactional and reporting analysis. It was a simple and easy tool for end-users and most impotantly it saved on ISV customisation time and money.
1.) Allow the user to select a query from the AOT (or a pre-determined list of allowed queries).
2.) Allow the users to set criteria on that query (to sub-select the data).
3.) Allow the user to determine any sort order for the results.
4.) Allow the user to select the fields required for report output.
5.) Allow the user to define any calculations or summarisations required.
6.) Execute the query and generate a .Net XML dataset.
7.) Combine the XML dataset with the RDL definition of a standard pre-defined report.
8.) Render the combined file within a local ReportViewer control (inside the Rich-Client).
Interesting approach. What's your opinion on using SSRS' Report Builder?
The "Report Builder" product (distributed free with SQL Server) is a powerful and flexible report writer for "end-users" but you don't normally give direct access to the OLTP database to end-users in this fashion. If you did this then you would bypass the framework (and security). SSRS Report Builder is fine for the OLAP database (cubes) but it has bugs with date handling. For transactional reporting you must use Visual Studio for report development or a solution like the one that I'm proposing that allows end-users to re-use the queries within the AOT.