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After many months of availability in our successful Pre-release and Beta program, Crystal Reports for Eclipse (CR4E) is finally available to the public. My personal opinion is that CR4E is going to change the way reporting is done in Java and J2EE projects. I’ve listed my reasons below:

  1. For the first time a report creation tool as powerful as Crystal Reports is embedded inside the Eclipse platform. Not only is Crystal Reports available inside of the Eclipse IDE but it is specifically built for the Eclipse platform and it takes advantage of many of the features of the platform. Eclipse developers will find it easier to learn how to create reports because many of the workflows that they are familiar with to create other types of eclipse content are the same.
  2. CR4E successfully decouples the presentation layer from the business logic of getting the data. This allows report designers to not have to worry about the underlying database queries when they decide to make modifications to the report.  This model also allows developers to offload the report design task to report design professionals (e.g. graphic artists) allowing the developer to focus on application development.
  3. CR4E is specifically created with the Developer in mind. It is built to allow developers to quickly embed reports into J2EE applications. All of the tooling that a developer would need to quickly and easily embed reports into custom java applications is available in the product, removing the need to learn a number of new APIs..
  4. I spent a number of years in the Business Objects support organization helping developers create custom reporting applications.  Many of the calls we received were educational and discussed how to write certain types of code to manipulate the report at runtime. CR4E contains tooling that takes care of most runtime code scenarios for you. This allows the developer to focus more energy on other parts of the application.
  5. Another major cause of support calls has been deployment scenarios. Taking advantage of the same Eclipse tooling and some tooling added by Business Objects, CR4E will inspect your project to make sure that the WAR file you create will contain all of the required libraries that will enable your application to run on another server.  We call this feature “Deployment Assistance”.
  6. Last but not least, ITS FREE. For developers who are looking into open source reporting solutions because of the price point CR4E is the product for you. CR4E is completely free.  An upgrade for higher through-put and 2 free support incidents is available for $495. If you compare the upgrade price with other open source vendors upgradeable reporting solutions I think you will find it more than affordable.

For more info on CR4E and locations to download it for FREE, go to http://diamond.businessobjects.com/eclipse

Until Next Time

Rob

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