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Matching Crystal Reports with your Needs

Crystal Reports 2008Explore the differences between Crystal Reports Basic included with VS 2008 and the full Crystal Reports 2008, so you can match your application requirements to the right reporting solution.

Crystal Reports, the worlds most popular reporting tool, has made it even easier to match your needs and requirements with the versions of Crystal Reports that are now available. There are currently 3 editions of Crystal Reports available: Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio, Crystal Reports 2008, and Crystal Reports for Eclipse.

If your looking for the right edition of Crystal Reports and you’re a Java developer the answer is simple, use Crystal Reports for Eclipse which is available as a free download. Currently .NET developers have 2 options: Crystal Reports Basic which is installed in the box with Visual Studio 200X and Crystal Reports 2008 which an upgrade from the Visual Studio edition.

You will notice that Business Objects is no longer offering Standard, Professional, and Developer versions of Crystal Reports which makes life easier for everyone. The features of all these versions have been rolled up into one version called Crystal Reports 2008.

Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio

With the inclusion of Crystal Reports inside of Visual Studio for many years, millions of developers have learned the advantages of turning to a professional report design tool to handle data formating and display. Although the .NET development community is much more advanced in this aspect, surveys have told us that often one of Crystal Reports biggest competitors is developers implementing their own reporting frameworks.

Why are reporting tools so important? Reporting tools are important because presentation counts! Often formatted data can comprise up to 80% of the interface of your application. As I learned from a recent project where I didn’t have access to Crystal Reports, connecting to databases and providing highly formatted, WYSIWYG printable and exportable forms with drill down and data search, is not easy. I can’t even image the time it would take to manage updates and bugs.

Using a report engine and development tool like Crystal Reports Basic gives you the basic features highlighted above but it also allows you to de-couple the presentation logic from the underlying code, allowing modifications to the reports without requiring changes to the implementing code.

Crystal Reports Basic is the perfect tool for .NET developers who are looking to embed highly formatted complex reports into their Windows and Web applications while connecting to a variety of data sources. Having over 13 years of experience partnering with Visual Studio, Crystal Reports boasts the worlds most popular and stable report file format.

Developers using Crystal Reports Basic can look forward to some of these standard features:

  • Ability to crunch millions of rows of data
  • Easily navigate 1000s of pages of content
  • Export to a variety of formats including xls, html, pdf, word, any many others
  • Search through millions of rows of data to display the right page

Other features include embeddable .NET Viewer controls which handle paging, group drill down, charting, exporting, printing, and search. Using the embedded report designer developers can quickly and easily create reports without needing to worry about SQL query generation. Adding report parameters, filters, custom functions, summaries, and cross tabs are as easy as the click of a button.

Upgrade OptionsCrystal Reports 2008

Crystal Reports 2008 is an upgrade to Crystal Reports Basic and is truly the most exciting release of Crystal Reports ever! Crystal Reports 2008 is the most advanced reporting solution on the market today.

The development of Crystal Reports 2008 built on years of experience in the field focused on few key areas:

  • Provide stunning data visualizations
  • What-if scenario modeling
  • Integrated operational reporting
  • Interactive report exploring
  • Reduced report design time
  • Third Party technology integration

The Crystal Reports Viewer now supports integration with Flash and Crystal Xcelsius content to provide stunning gauges, and charts that make data visualizations more compelling and easier to understand.

With integration with Crystal Xcelsius report designers can now embed what-if models based on report data to help report consumers move beyond historical data and begin to analyze how changes to key measures could affect the results in the future.

Crystal Reports 2008 allows for integration with Flex applications and web services to provide powerful data mashups allowing you to do almost anything within your reports.

A whole slew of new features like interactive sort controls, optional parameters, and a parameter panel allow end users to interactively view and reformat their reports without the need to redesign their reports or hit the database. These new features allow report designers to create less reports that serve more people and use cases.

Combinations of these new features provide report designers with a tool that is easier and faster at creating complex reports. Financial reports with Cross-tabs can now be written ten times faster with easy right click features to add calculated rows and members.

Interactive Viewing with Crystal Reports 2008 All these features are available to .NET developers who install a copy of Crystal Reports 2008 on their Visual Studio 2008 machine. Crystal Reports will silently update your Crystal Report runtime to the newest version.

All these new features must come at a big cost? Well, actually no. Crystal Reports 2008 runtimes files are 70% smaller than their Crystal Reports XI counterparts. And with upgrade pricing at $295 USD for Visual Studio developers its almost a steal for the value.

For more Crystal Reports 2008 resources see the Diamond Community.

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