Reporting Services, Report Builder, and ReportViewer Controls

I had been asked a number of times what is the difference between Reporting Services, Report Builder, and ReportViewer Controls, so here’s a quick recap:
  • Reporting Services: This is the server-based reporting platform as part of the Microsoft BI stack that allows you to create reporting solutions against multiple data sources.  More information can be found at:  As part of the Visual Studio 2008 Business Intelligence Development Studio, you can create your reports in a development shell which ultimately creates Repot Definition Language (RDL).
  • Report Builder 2008: Report Builder is an Office-like tool that allows you to create reports with all of the functionality of BIDS (graphs, tables, etc.) but with more pivot-like functionality.  More information can be found at:  RB will also create 2008 formatted RDL.
  • ReportViewer Control: These controls are part of Visual Studio 2008 to develop ASP.NET web-based applications.  These controls create a different form of report definition language (client) called RDLC.  You can convert RDLC to RDL as noted in this page:  But, note that Visual Studio 2008 ReportViewer Control is compatible to 2005 RDL while Report Builder 2.0 and SSRS 2008 (Visual Studio Business Intelligence Development Studio) generate 2008 RDL which are not compatible with each other because SSRS 2008 has a new rendering engine that utilizes Tablix.

Just in case you’re interested in Reporting Services enterprise scalability, check out the Building and Deploying Large Scale SQL Server Reporting Services Environments Technical Notes series at


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