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 built on Reporting Services. There are two options for integrating Reporting Services into custom applications: URL access and the Reporting Services Web service, also known as the Reporting Services SOAP API. You must decide how your application will use the report server technology and what functionality you will be providing your users before you can settle on a programming approach. Certain facets of Reporting Services programmability are better suited for particular integration scenarios. For example, if your application requires only that users view and navigate individually rendered reports, you should consider using URL access. Direct URL access provides report navigation functionality in a Web browser or supported HTML viewer. It is the fastest, most efficient way to render reports. URL access does not use the Web service interface, but rather provides direct access to the server. URL access is straightforward, quick, and efficient. It is your best choice for integrating the viewing of reports into your applications.
The Web service provides similar rendering and viewing capabilities through a variety of Web operations. However, the Web service provides additional functionality for managing the contents of a report server through an extensive set of Web methods that are not available through URL access. For scenarios in which the management of reports, subscriptions, data sources, and other report server database items is a requirement, the Web service is the best integration choice. The Web service is a single entry point to the full report-management functionality of the report server.
In some cases, integrating Reporting Services into your custom business applications requires a combination of the two programming approaches. Report Manager, the report access and management Web application that is included with Reporting Services, is an example of one such application. Report Manager is a comprehensive report viewing and management tool. Report Manager uses Web service methods to enable users to create and manage reports, folders, linked reports, report history, schedules, data sources, and subscriptions. Users can also use Report Manager to set properties, report parameters and to manage role definitions and assignments that control user authentication. Whereas the Web service is used to provide access to management functionality in Report Manager, report viewing and navigation is accomplished through URL access. Report Manager is one such application that uses the versatility and comprehensiveness of the Web service methods for report management and the efficiency of direct URL access for report viewing.
The following table describes the topics in this section.
|Choosing Between URL Access and SOAP||Describes how to decide the best approach to integrating Reporting Services report navigation and management functionality into your existing business applications.|
|Integrating Reporting Services Using URL Access||Describes how to integrate Reporting Services report navigation into your existing business applications using URL access.|
|Integrating Reporting Services Using SOAP||Describes how to integrate Reporting Services report navigation and management into your existing business applications using the SOAP API.|