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Crystal Reports 2008 – Simplify Management of XML Export Formats

<p>+I work for SAP Business Objects, in Technical Customer Assurance.  My speciality is the Software Development Kits (SDKs) that we provide with our Business Intelligence products – BusinessObjects Enterprise, Web Intelligence, Desktop Intelligence, Crystal Reports and Crystal Xcelsius.  </p><p>In my blog, I’m going to discuss subjects that I personally find interesting – little known or not-well-documented corners of the SDK, new functionality or new SDKs, or interesting issues that I’ve come across in a SAP Incident or SAP Developer Network forums.  </p><p>You’re more than welcome to suggest any topic (SAP Business Objects SDK related, of course…) that you’d like me to discuss – I have a dozen or so items on my blog to-do list, but I’m always on the hunt for anything interesting with our SDKs.+ </p>

A short blog describing how you can simplify the management of XML export formats with Crystal Reports 2008.

If you’re using the new Crystal Reports 2008 XML Export functionality to customize the export format via a XSL Transformation file, then this blog would be of interest to you.  

h5. New Crystal Reports 2008 XML Export Functionality

One of the great new features of Crystal Reports 2008 is greater control over the formatting of XML exports.   You can create a XSL Transformations (XSLT) file that defines translation of Crystal Reports elements to export elements, import the XSLT into a Crystal Report in the Designer, and then select it to be applied when exporting the report to XML.

The report ‘XML Exporting.rpt’ file, included in the samples available here on the BusinessObjects donwload site, gives a example of a XSLT that transforms Crystal Reports into a simple HTML format (if the download links are broken, try going to and click on “Business Objects” then “Business Objects Downloads”, then select “Crystal Reports – 2008 – Samples” and choose “Crystal Reports 2008 sample reports – Features”). Manage XML Exporting Formats…).  The xsl:include element is instructing the XML engine to import the file ‘my_cr_xslt.xsl’ found on my desktop.    <xsl:include href=”” />

and import that into my Crystal Reports, then deploy the ‘my_cr_xslt.xsl’ to my Web Server.

A commonly accessible location from which I can control the XML Export formats of multiple reports, on multiple machines!

I call it ‘Unmanaged XML Export Formatting’, since the XSL isn’t being managed by the Crystal Reports Designer or BusinessObjects Enterprise.



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  • I am new/naïve Crystal Reports 2008 user, and know very little about XML:  Is there an easy way to create a XSL transformation file that would define the translation of my crystal report into an Excel spreadsheet?  Right now I export my data using Excel data-only and then apply formatting before delivering to users.  Since from within Excel I can save my formatted Excel file as an xml file it *seems* there should be a way to extract a transformation file that I can then use with the Crystal Reports XML exporting formats feature.   I can then just deliver the XML file to users and skip having to open Excel for the formatting step.  Can this work?
  • I’m a longtime Crystal Reports user, but new to XML and XSLT.  I’ve downloaded and reviewed the XML samples.  When I try to mirror the XLST info for another report (importing into the report), I keep getting errors.

    Is there a starters guide to how to designate Crystal elements in XSLT?  Help is not useful on the XSLT. 

    I have a desired format for the exported XML file, but cannot seem to get Crystal to export anywhere close to my simple template.