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ISV to Extend SQL Reporting Services to Generate Word, Excel Reports

SoftArtisans, which already sells a reporting product that generates and delivers reports in Word and Excel, announced plans on Thursday to extend its functionality to support Microsoft's new SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services.

The company joins a long list of companies working to embed or extend Microsoft's Reporting Services, which launched last month. The Reporting Services technology allows users of SQL Server 2000 to create reports from their SQL Server databases and other sources and deliver the reports in multiple formats to a broad set of users.

SoftArtisans's reporting product is called OfficeWriter, and the company lists J.P. Morgan Chase, General Motors, Nike and AOL among its customers. SoftArtisans President David Wihl said OfficeWriter has many complimentary features that make the company's integration with SQL Reporting Services a win for SoftArtisans, Microsoft and customers.

The technology supports ASP, ASP.NET and J2EE. The Web server SoftArtisans uses to generate reports does not run Office software, although it creates reports in the native Office formats of .doc and .xls. The company says its servers can deliver 100,000 editable Excel and Word reports per hour, and the company's HotCell Technology allows end users to directly update the database from the report documents.

"Reporting Services Version I has a great architecture. With OfficeWriter, customers will be able to preserve their existing Excel and Word documents, use Office as a designer instead of Visual Studio .NET and still take advantage of all of the rich report management of Reporting Services," Wihl said in a statement.

SoftArtisans plans to release a new version of OfficeWriter in March, well in advance of the planned integration with SQL Server Reporting Services. Meanwhile, Microsoft is at work on a second generation of Reporting Services for release with the "Yukon" release of SQL Server sometime in late 2004 or early 2005. The feature set for that release isn't yet finalized.

Other Microsoft partners embedding or extending SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services include ActiveViews, Aspirity, Comprehensive Software Systems, Configuresoft, Fenestrae, Geac Computer, Hitachi Consulting, IntelligentApps, Intellinet Technologies, OutlookSoft, MaxQ Technologies, MIS, Professional Advantage, ProClarity, Solutions Consulting Group, Silvon Software, SPSS, Trax Retail Solutions and Unisys.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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