My first thought was to use the CSV renderer and add a config entry in the ReportServer.config file to use a tab as a field delimiter.
However, in SSRS 2005, Microsoft clears any whitespace when reading the config file for the CSV renderer, meaning that the tab character does not work.
So I set about researching how to create a tab renderer.
The first article I read stated that you would have to visit Redmond, WA and sit with an SSRS developer to even think about developing a rendering extension. I didn't buy this and kept searching.
There isn't a lot out there on rendering extensions, but I did find several references to the following assemblies:
So with that, I started to develop a prototype solution to the tab rendering problem.
My first decision was to only render tables and matrices. The SSRS CSV renderer tries to render textboxes, which only leads to malformed CSV files. And since most of the time the tab delimited export is going to be loaded into Excel, I decided to just focus on the table and the matrix control.
More to come in the next post...