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Chapter 6. Report Layout and Formatting > Converting Reports from Other Formats...

6.8. Converting Reports from Other Formats and Products

Because each report is defined in a single Report Definition Language (RDL) XML file, a report can be generated from a custom application or report migration utility. Microsoft has made a point to document the RDL specification and encourages third-party vendors to build report-generation tools. We have worked with several consulting clients, using internally developed tools at Hitachi Consulting to convert Crystal Reports files to RDL-based reports. With more than 5 years of report migration experience on many projects, we've learned how these reporting products differ. Our report migration tool suite has gone through several version cycles as features and capabilities have been added. Certain report design elements can be converted straight across, while others require redesign because of the architectural similarities and differences between the two products.

Compared to some other report tools, a key difference is that Reporting Services uses a modular approach for report design and data rendering. Rather than the report binding to a query and defining groups, headers, footers, and detail rows, all this functionality is provided by the individual data range report items. And since a single report can contain any number of distinct datasets and data ranges, this changes the way report design is approached. In the end, report conversion tools are helpful to reduce redundant report redesign, but we have found that no tool can effectively replace experience and expertise with differing report platforms.


  

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