Read the Press Release
After much interest in the Preview and Beta of Crystal Reports for eclipse we are glad that it is now Generally Available. The last 12 months have been very exciting for me and the rest of the Crystal Reports for Eclipse (CR4E) team here at Business Objects. There has been a huge response from both the media and Java developers alike following the announcement last year. This was followed by a hugely successful Tech Preview and Beta Program, which resulted in over 50,000 unique downloads. I am here today to keep the buzz alive. Not only does the launch of Crystal Reports for Eclipse mark the first time that a Java version of the world’s most powerful report designer has been made available, but it also marks the first time that Business Objects has offered a Production quality product free of charge. That’s right, Crystal Reports for Eclipse, will provide Java Developers with a powerful set of development and runtime tools which is fully licensed for Production use, absolutely free of charge. This is not a limited time offer, no time bombs, nothing…just download and deploy.
Now every Java developer can find out why Crystal Reports has been awarded some of the top awards by the Java Community (such as our most recent victory for “Best Java Reporting Tool” in the JavaPro’s 2006 Reader’s Choice Awards)
So what exactly is Crystal Reports for Eclipse you ask? Well it’s a number of things. Obviously, it includes a brand new Java Report Designer built on the Eclipse framework (as I mentioned above). This new Designer allows Java Developers to create new Crystal Report files (or edit existing ones) directly within their IDE. We have extended a number of the core Eclipse projects to provide a familiar look and feel to existing Eclipse users. Additionally, given that we already had a powerful Java Runtime engine that has been proven and tested in mission critical applications since we released it 3 years ago, this provided our Developers to take some liberties and spend more time on quality and usability of the product. The result is a Designer that I am sure most people will agree is heads and shoulders above any of the competitive products currently available on the Java market today. It really is amazing when you remind yourself that this entire project was completed in a little over a year. Ok, so we have the Designer, but what else?
Here is a list of the other features you will get when you download your free copy of Crystal Reports for Eclipse:
- POJO Data Source support – This feature enables developers to design reports off of in-memory Java classes. Just take the class and drag ‘n’ drop it onto the report design surface. Then start designing reports the same as you would any other data source
- Crystal Reports Web Project Wizard – this feature will enable developers to create a web project which already includes all of the required runtime configurations. Additionally, developers can optionally choose to add a sample database and reports to the project to get up and running in no time
- Java Reporting Component facet – easily add the Crystal Reports runtime environment to any new or existing web applications. Now you will never have to worry about ensuring that all your JAR files have been added
- JSP Page wizard – Drag ‘n’ drop a report onto a JSP page, or create a new JSP page via the context menu of a report. This wizard will provide developers with a dialog page allowing them to choose a number of different stub code which will be custom generated based on the selected report. Does your report require parameters, do you want to change the database at runtime, or export directly to PDF…the wizard will generate all of the required code to complete the requested actions, all custom to the specific report. You can literally get away with never having to write a line of reporting code again
- Java User Function Library wizard – this feature enables developers to expose Java logic to their Crystal Reports formulas. Does your organization have a large amount of code already invested into calculating a discount ratio? Don’t fret, wrap this logic up in a User Function Library using this easy wizard and your Crystal Reports files will be able to access this same logic
- Deployment Assistance – Never have to worry about ensuring the proper JDBC drivers are available at runtime. When a report is added to a project, the tooling will ensure that the required runtime libraries are present (including database libraries) when the application is built.
- Built-in pointers to the Business Objects’ Update Site – never have to worry about whether you have the latest version or not. Use the existing Eclipse Update Manager mechanism to check for updates and install them automatically. This feature also has built-in rollback capabilities in case you opt to go back to a previous version
- Update your projects with the latest runtime – have you just downloaded a hot fix, but are not too sure if you have already added it the updates to an existing project. Use the Crystal Reports File Versions feature accessed via the Properties Menu of a project to quickly and easily see which file versions are currently in your project and compare this with the file versions installed in the tooling. If they are out of synch click the Update button to easily update your application to the latest version.
- Global Property Settings – do you find that you are always turning off the logo on the viewer, or enabling the refresh button? Well, now Developers can set their global settings for the Crystal Report viewers within their workspace preferences. Each time a viewer is added to a JSP page these preferences will be honored and the appropriate code modifications will be added
- Integrated Help – Access a complete and robust report designer guide as well as developer walkthroughs, API docs and Best Practices via the built-in Eclipse Help System
As you can see from the feature list we have shown little restraint when it came around to seeing what we could squeeze into the first release. Building on our 13+ years as the leading reporting tool in the Microsoft development environment, has allowed us to provide Java developers with the most comprehensive reporting product on the market today. Supporting your end-to-end workflow is very important to us. We realize that integrating a reporting solution in a custom application is much more than providing you with just a designer.
We will be launching a number of video tutorials and walkthroughs covering most of the common scenarios and FAQs a user may have about Crystal Reports for Eclipse. All of these will be released on our new Diamond Community Site at http://diamond.businessobjects.com/eclipse
So what are you waiting for download your copy of Crystal Reports for Eclipse today.
In the meantime, I will be hanging around the forums and doing a number of these news postings. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any comments you wish to share.
Sean Johnson, Product Manager