Project Crescent is a fully-interactive, browser-based data visualization surfaced using Silverlight interactive and animated controls. It’s Reporting Services, only sexier. A Crescent report is designed directly from SharePoint in the web browser. Users connect to data through a BISM model and jut select the tables & fields they want to see in different types of report elements. It supports tables, grids, panels and a variety of charts. Data is filtered and sliced by simply clicking on regions and data points. ike PerformancePoint dashboards, report content changes in-place and data regions are synchronized when when any one is used to filter the data.
Crescent is designed for the user, not for the IT professional, and doesn’t support expressions or parameters. It’s super easy to use and has a lot of business value right out of the box but it doesn’t afford the same flexibility and power of professional Reporting Services. Crescent reports are stored in RDLX format which is an extension of the RDL XML schema. There probably won’t be a migration path from Crescent reports to RDL reports right away but this will likely come in the near future. We’re also likely to see the Silverlight controls extended to RDL reports for no other reason than report designers will demand the same cool and dynamic behaviors.
Another part of the self-service reporting experience in Denali is a new feature, somewhat similar to report subscriptions, called Report Alerts. Like Crescent, this is only available from a SharePoint 2010 Enterprise environment and uses the SharePoint event model rather than the SQL Agent. The concept is that users are notified when the data feeding a report changes and meets some specific criteria. This may be useful when a metric falls below and threshold or target. Plans call for alerts to support both RDL and Crescent style reports.