Differences Between Data Processing Extensions and Standard .NET Data Providers (Report Builder 2.0)
A data processing extension is a component installed with Report Builder 2.0 that retrieves data from a specific type of data source. Unlike a data provider, a data processing extension provides extra functionality to support report design and report processing. A .NET Framework data provider is a component available from Microsoft or third-party sources that supports System.Data interfaces that allow you to retrieve and to modify data from a specific type of data source.
For the list of data processing extensions that are installed with Report Builder 2.0, see Example Connections (Report Builder 2.0).
Installing custom data extensions on the report authoring computer is not supported. However, because you can choose data sources from a report server in Report Builder 2.0, you can view and change reports that use custom data processing extensions that are installed on the report server.
Understanding a Data Processing Extension
A data processing extension is a component of SQL Server Reporting Services that supports a subset of the System.Data interfaces. ata processing extensions require only read-only access to a data source, so that the interfaces for write and update are not implemented. Each data processing extension can provide custom features to support report processing. For example, a data processing extension might support the following types of features:
Hiding credentials in a connection string
Supporting multivalue parameters
Retrieving aggregates calculated on the data source
Retrieving data properties as well as data values from the data source
Understanding a Data Provider
A .NET Framework data provider (sometimes known as a driver) supports a standard set of System.Data interfaces for reading, writing, and updating data on a data source. A data provider can be used when there is no data processing extension available for a specific type of data source. Many third-party standard .NET Framework data providers are available.
Because Reporting Services has an extensible data provider architecture, you can build a custom data processing extension to include the extra functionality supplied by Reporting Services data processing extensions. For more information, see "Implementing a Data Processing Extension" in the Reporting Services documentation in SQL Server Books Online. For third-party data processing extensions, see the documentation that comes with the third-party data processing extension.
A .NET Framework data provider or custom data processing extension must be installed and registered before it can be used to retrieve data from a data source. To edit and preview a report locally on your computer, the data processing extension must be installed and registered on your computer. To edit a report and view it on the report server, the data processing extension must be installed and registered on the report server. For more information, see "How to: Register a Standard .NET Framework Data Provider" and "Deploying a Data Processing Extension" in the Reporting Services documentation in SQL Server Books Online.