Microsoft bought ActiveViews, a small company last April for its ad hoc reporting capabilities. Those functions, with a re-written interface, will now be poured into a "self-service ad hoc report builder" for business users.
The first bits of the Reporting Services Report Builder will surface in beta 3 of SQL Server 2005, code-named Yukon, by year's end, the company said.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said the inclusion should not affect the latest projected ship date for Yukon, which is the first half of 2005.
Bill Baker, general manager of SQL Server Business Intelligence, will announce the news at the annual PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) conference on Wednesday.
The report builder, "unlike competitive ad hoc tools," will make use of the semantic layer that is part of SQL Server Reporting Services, according to a statement. Those words may chill the hearts of third-party reporting vendors like Business Objects or Cognos. When news of Microsoft's decision to build in its own database reporting services leaked, shares of these stocks took a nose dive. Business Objects subsequently bought reporting competitor Crystal Decisions. Microsoft still offers Crystal's technology with some of its software.
Nearer term, the company is breaking out a subset of its existing reporting services capabilities for download by Microsoft CRM 1.2 and Exchange Server users. The new SQL Server Report Packs will offer customers templates of common reports that are easily customized. They will be available for download Wednesday from Microsoft's Web site.
Microsoft's SQL Server reporting services, which initially were to have debuted with Yukon, were subsequently pulled into the current SQL Server 2000. Microsoft has also said the reporting services will be offered with Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, Microsoft CRM and the Visual Studio 2005 toolset, code-named Whidbey. Both Whidbey and Yukon are now due in the first half of next year.