I recently had to create a PDF on the server-side and deliver it to the client via ASP.NET. There are several open source PDF APIs out there so the options are vast. But I chose to leverage SQL Reporting Services instead of learning another API. Plus, why program a report when you can design it using proven tools?
Using SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio, I created a reports project, developed a report called Report1, and deployed to SQL Reporting Services. Here is a great article if you want help creating your first report. Tutorial: Designing Your First Report in SQL Server Reporting Services.
Next, in my ASP.NET application, I added a Web Reference to http://server/Reportserver/reportservice.asmx and named it ReportsWS, which generates all the proxy classes needed to interface with Reporting Services from my code. Now I just have to write a little bit of code to generate the report and deliver the PDF. In the example below, you can also see how to pass parameters to the report named StartDate and EndDate.
Using rs As New ReportsWS.ReportingService()
rs.Credentials = New System.Net.NetworkCredential(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("RSUser"), ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("RSPassword"), ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("RSDomain"))
Dim sReportPath As String = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("RSReportPath")
Dim sReportName As String = "Report1"
Dim ResultStream() As Byte
Dim StreamIdentifiers() As String = Nothing
Dim optionalParams(2) As ReportsWS.ParameterValue
Dim OptionalParam As String = Nothing
Dim optionalWarnings As ReportsWS.Warning() = Nothing
optionalParams(0) = New ReportsWS.ParameterValue
optionalParams(0).Name = "StartDate"
optionalParams(0).Value = "1/1/2007"
optionalParams(1) = New ReportsWS.ParameterValue
optionalParams(1).Name = "EndDate"
optionalParams(1).Value = "12/31/2007"
' Create and set the content type string
Dim contentType As String = "application/pdf"
ResultStream = rs.Render("/" & sReportPath & "/" & sReportName, "PDF", Nothing, "<DeviceInfo><StreamRoot>/RSWebServiceXS/</StreamRoot></DeviceInfo>", optionalParams, Nothing, Nothing, OptionalParam, OptionalParam, optionalParams, optionalWarnings, StreamIdentifiers)
Response.ContentType = "application/octet-stream"
Response.AddHeader("Content-Disposition", "attachment;filename=" & sReportName & ".pdf")