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What is the Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio 2008 Edition?

 Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 released to manufacturing November 19th , 2007 and with it so did the latest version of Crystal Reports & or was it the latest version?

It is a bit of a trick question and one that has led to much confusion for Crystal Report developers over time. The trick is that there are two different editions of Crystal Reports. The Crystal Reports that is included with Visual Studio (on the CD) and the Crystal Reports that is attained separately from Business Objects or a partner/reseller. To help differentiate the two, the Crystal Reports inside Visual Studio name was changed to be Crystal Reports Basic. The official name of the latest version being Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio 2008.

I should mention that there were more editions of Crystal Reports available from Business Objects before but for simplicity these editions have been amalgamated into one product called Crystal Reports. So no more CR Standard, CR Professional or CR Developer it is just simply Crystal Reports. The latest version of this edition shipped October 15th,2007 and is called Crystal Reports 2008.

The next question is, why do I care?

Crystal Reports Basic (and previous versions in Visual Studio) are a functional subset of Crystal Reports. e.g. One can upgrade from Crystal Reports Basic to Crystal Reports 2008 but it is not possible to go the other way. Even though Crystal Reports Basic was released after Crystal Reports 2008, one cannot upgrade to a Crystal Reports Basic project as this would break the edition subset rule.

Here is a diagram to highlight the relationship, with the arrows pointing in the allowed migration paths.

For more details on migration, check out,

You may have noticed that there was no upgrade line from Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio 2008 to Crystal Reports 2008. That is because, at this time the Service Pack for Crystal Reports 2008 to support Visual Studio 2008 has not been released. It will come soon and it will be part of Crystal Reports 2008.

Added: The latest service pack for Crystal Reports 2008 allows upgrade from Crystal Reports Basic for Visual Studio 2008.

Don’t begin to think that Crystal Reports Basic is an inferior reporting tool. It is still one of the most powerful reporting tools out there to meet the demands of developers reporting needs. However, there are many additional features (in CR2008) for developers that will ultimately save them a lot of time.

Some additional features are:

  • Improved designer experience
  • Change parameters in the viewer without database requery
  • On-report Sorting
  • On-report Filtering
  • Additional licensing
  • HTML Preview
  • Report Creation & Modification API
  • Flash support
  • additional charting types
  • & and much more

If you’re interested in Crystal Reports 2008, check around the site, there are lots of articles and webinars.

To summarize, Crystal Reports Basic and Crystal Reports 2008 are different ‘editions’. Crystal Reports Basic is the latest ‘version’ of the Crystal Reports edition that ships with Visual Studio and is included in Visual Studio 2008, though it is not the latest ‘version’ of Crystal Reports (Crystal Reports 2008 is). It is also important to note, that it is only possible to upgrade from the Crystal Reports edition within Visual Studio to Crystal Reports full product editions, such as Crystal Reports XI and Crystal Reports 2008.



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