The Crystal Reports for .NET SDK has been extended to provide a report creation and manipulation API for component/embedded applications. The Report Application Server (RAS) API has been around for a while but was only available for server based applications, the change is that embedded/component applications can now call the RAS API functions without the need for a server. This enables component applications to leverage a rich set of reporting functionality, allowing higher levels of end-user interaction, dynamic report manipulation by end-users, automated report generation or batch report modifications.
If you want to find out more about the RAS API including a demo of the functionality, check out the joint Microsoft/Business Objects webinar on Beyond the Basics with Crystal Reports for Visual Studio available here.
The Q&A from the session follows:
Q: Is XCOPY deployment possible for an application that uses reports developed in Crystal Reports
A: Yes, but & One does need to install the Crystal Reports redistributable msi first. Once that is installed you can XCOPY a CR application to the machine.
Q: Will the slides be available?
A: You will be receiving an email post-event with a link to the archive which includes slides and audio. I was told roughly a week.
Q: Visual Studio 2005 is able to work with Crystal Reports Professional XI R2 SP2? (any specific versions of Crystal Reports is needed?)
A: You need Crystal Reports Developer XI R2 then apply SP2. Crystal Reports Developer has the upgraded Visual Studio integration and the API.
Q: Which kind of complex rules are you talking about?
A: When creating a selection formula one can specify a SQL like criteria that allows one to include customized functions and complex formulas to determine the filter. This is typically for advanced report designers as it is effectively can be like coding. I recommend looking at the Formula Workshop documentation for the report designer. Whatever you can do there you can do programmatically. Also, Brian Bischof has included some book content online http://www.crystalreportsbook.com/Crystal_Reports_XI.asp?Page=4_2 as well as this chapter that explains a lot more http://www.crystalreportsbook.com/Chapter06_XI.asp
Q: Is this web or form based?
A: The RAS API can work with win, web or no UI applications.
Q: Is this web or form based report viewer?
A: The demo is a ASP.NET 2.0 application.
Q: Any database preference for API … we are using Oracle
A: The RAS API supports all the same databases that Crystal Reports supports. The full detailed list can be found here: http://www.businessobjects.com/pdf/products/crystalreports/crxi_feat_ver_ed.pdf . Search the file for Data Connectivity.
Q: Can I get the web based application or the report viewer used in the demo?
A: The viewer in the demo is a customized one and isn’t wrapped up to be shareable friendly – yet. I can distribute on a request basis until we get it cleaned up. But be warned that I just did a bunch of updates to get it to work in a component/VS2005/ ASP.NET 2.0 environment. firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Is this API different than the one that ships with Visual Studio 2005?
A: Yes, the API in Visual Studio provides a subset of the functionality. Most report creation and modification functionality is only available via the RAS API.
Q: IS Conditional formatting possible?
A: Yes. You can either add conditional formatting to the report, such that a section is hidden or exposed based on the data. Or you can even manually hide or expose sections via the API at run-time.
Q: Kuhan talks about Crystal Reports Designer, does he really mean CR Developer?
A: Crystal Reports Designer is included in Crystal Reports Developer XI R2. Any report created by an application using the RAS API will work in the Crystal Reports Designer.
Q: What version of Crystal XI includes the RAS API?
A: Crystal Reports Developer XI R2 + SP2
Q: Does the trial version of XI work with SP2?
A: You need to download Crystal Reports Developer XI R2 to work with SP2. Crystal Reports Developer XI R2 works with Visual Studio 2002, 2003, 2005 projects.
Q: Could the reports be restricted on some functionalities, like both print it or open it? I would like to know more about file management flexibility
A: There are several options here.
1. Business Objects server products can provide this functionality, specifically Crystal Reports Server and Business Objects Enterprise. End-users can go to the portal to view reports and an admin can restrict them from saving rpts, printing, exporting, refreshing data, etc..
2. Disable it in the viewer toolbar. If you create a .NET win or web form application, you can disable export and print buttons.
*Currently, you cannot restrict a standalone report file to prevent printing and exporting.
Q: Would u create sample report using .net?
A: Yes the API is available for .NET.
Q: Can you still create reports through VS w/out additional licensing?
A: The Crystal Reports that comes with Visual Studio does not have the RAS API, you would need to purchase Crystal Reports Developer XI.
Q: Is Crystal Reports XI the same as the Business Objects XI platform?
A: Yes/No. The Business Objects XI platform has reporting capabilities inside it. However the main suite – Business Objects Enterprise (BOE), provides much much more than reporting including Enterprise Performance Management, Enterprise Information Management, Query and Analysis, Data Mining, and infrastructure components like scheduling and scaling (too name a few).
More on BOE here: http://www.businessobjects.com/products/businessobjectsxi/default.asp
Q: Does XI R2 SP2 Mod & Creation API include form alignment for pre-printed forms?
A: You can set custom page size and change the alignment of any object in the report programmatically. I have seen report designers scan in the form and place it as a background to the report then place the output fields over the fields on the form. Then suppress or remove the background image when done.
Q: Can existing CRXI R2 reports be migrated to the VS 2005 platform using this API?
A: CR Developer XI R2 upgrades the CR components inside of VS2005. If you are asking whether it is possible to migrate to a VS2005 version using only the CR provided out of the box. Then it is possible but not supported. The CR inside of VS2005 is a subset of CR Developer XI R2 so you may find things don t work.
Q: Publishing to Web not working for many using reduced code examples in VS2005 Where is help?
A: The updated samples are available here.
Let me know if this doesn’t solve your problem.
Q: do you have any webcast related to creating report using .net?
A: We have lots of samples, downloads and some webcasts on Diamond. Check out
Q: Where’s the code?
A: Haven’t released this applications code yet, see above question. There are lots of samples on Diamond. http://diamond.businessobjects.com/codesamples