OK, I've been a bad boy recently and haven't been blogging like I should. But kind of in my defense, I've been preparing the big Katmai review, which should be released next week. It was supposed to be this week, but it got trumped by Windows 7. Fine.
Microsoft has released Report Builder 2.0, which is the version the company is touting for Katmai. The Katmai DVD still ports 1.0, and if you want all the new functionality Microsoft is pushing, you'll have to upgrade Report Builder separately.
So what do you get with the new 2.0? Well, you get the ability to create direct data connections and queries instead of having to create and publish a report model like you do in 1.0. You also get a really nice chart wizard and access to the new tablix item. While I've only played with it a little bit, my contact at Microsoft on the SSRS team tells me there's practically no reason to go into Visual Studio to write reports anymore. I really hope that's true. I can't wait to see how this plays out. But from what I'm seeing so far, it looks promising. You also have access to the .RDL files created by the report, and you can open that in Visual Studio if you really want to. Hey, it's a good way to learn how to code.
I think that this will be an excellent tool for end-users, but devs may still find themselves getting their hands dirty in Visual Studio. While I haven't actually tested this scenario, my guess is that altering individual cells based off of data (using functions) probably isn't something that's supported in Report Builder. I could be wrong, but that just sounds like the kind of thing that wouldn't make the cut. I'll test it out, though, and let you know what I find.
One thing's for sure, though: I always seem to be the exception. If there's a specific case where you end up coding something by hand, it's always the case I'm coding. I never seem to be able to use end-user tools.
Download Report Builder 2.0 from Microsoft's Web site.