Crystal Reports V10
Advanced Developer Edition
San Jose, California
Probably most developers have used Crystal
Reports in one incarnation or another by now. As one of the oldest
banded report writers around, and one that's packaged with Visual Studio
and Visual Studio .NET, it's got plenty of market penetration. This
significant upgrade is the first version since Business Objects bought
Crystal Decisions as a way to round out their business reporting
platform (for some interesting reading, check out their
Product Roadmap white paper which discusses their plans to combine
the two product lines; I wish more companies would be this diligent
about publicizing their post-merger plans).
In addition to integrating with VS .NET or running standalone,
Crystal provides for a variety of runtime deployment scenarios, from a
reporting engine that you can bundle with desktop applications, through
Web reports that run directly on your Web server, to a separate
reporting server that communicates with the other tiers of your
application through Web services. Of course you'll find connectivity
with a wide variety of data sources, grouping, sorting, crosstabs, OLAP
reports, and other standard and high-end reporting features here.
Version 10 introduces some significant new developer capabilities.
Java developers will have a much improved experience, thanks to a 100%
Java version of the reporting engine, as well as integration with
JBuilder and BEA WebLogic Workshop. There's also a new custom JSP tag
library to make it easy to integrate reporting with Java applications.
On the .NET side of things, there are a batch of new data sources,
improved and simplified merge modules to ease the pain of deploying
Crystal with your .NET applications, and more export formats. There are
also a bunch of little fit and finish improvements that make working
with the designer easier. For instance, I found the default size for new
fields to be much more reasonable with Crystal 10 than it was with
Crystal 9. The WebForm viewer has been enhanced with extra
With either the Java or .NET solutions, the upgrade to the standalone
reporting server has been streamlined and simplified to a single line of
code (and writing the appropriate check, of course).
Crystal 10 has also paid some attention to making it easier to
maintain a library of reports and quickly develop new reports in your
enterprise. Business Views abstract domain-specific information from a
variety of data sources, and are designed to let your DBA provide an
abstraction layer between the reports and the raw data sources. The
Repository, introduced in version 9, has also been upgraded and made
more flexible; you can store text objects, images, SQL commands, and
custom functions for use across different reports.
Overall, it's nice to see a full release coming so soon after the
Crystal acquisition, as well as clear messaging about the future of the
product. It looks like Crystal Reports will continue to be a viable
player in the enterprise reporting field for a long time to come.