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 Introduction:

 

 Even though the Crystal Reports Report Designer Component (RDC) has been retired in Crystal reports 2008, there are still many misconceptions about the RDC. In this Blog I’d like to capture my historical knowledge, clarify some of the misconceptions, provide links to more resources and point out ways to proceed beyond the RDC. From my experience, the RDC was used for the most part in Microsoft Visual Basic applications and thus this Blog is more specific to VB programmers. For the most part I also limit the this Blog to Crystal reports XI release 2 as this is the last version to ship the RDC.

 

 History:

 

 The RDC succeeded the Automation Server in version 7 of Crystal Reports (CR). Last version of Crystal Reports to ship the RDC is XI release 2 (11.5). Note that “patch” support for the XI r2 RDC ends March 31, 2009 and support will cease completely in June 2010. See the following for more details:

https://websmp206.sap-ag.de/~form/sapnet?_SCENARIO=01100035870000000202&_SHORTKEY=01100035870000711958

The RDC is a COM solution, built more specifically for VB 5 and then VB 6 as well as C++, though theoretically the RDC should work on any COM compliant development language. Something to keep in mind; any issues encountered in environments not specified in the “Supported Platforms.doc” have to be duplicated in a supported environment before being escalated for a possible fix. “Supported Platforms.doc” for CR XI release 2 can be found here:

http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/7081b21c-911e-2b10-678e-fe062159b453

 

 RDC References in your project:

 

 The three basic files of the RDC SDK are the craxDrt.dll, craxDDrt.dll and the crviewer.dll. In version 9 of Crystal Reports, the file names were craxDrt9.dll, craxDDrt9.dll and the crviewer9.dll. The craxDrt.dll, craxDDrt.dll can be considered as the “engines” that perform the real work of the SDK. The crviewer.dll is an ActiveX viewer control that displays the actual report at runtime. Since there are two “engines”, craxDrt.dll and craxDDrt.dll, which is better to use? If you are not using Report Creation APIs (RCAPIS), use the craxDrt.dll. CraxDDrt.dll should only be used if your project calls for the use of Report Creation APIs and entails further licensing issues (more below). Your project should thus reference at most, two dlls; craxDrt.dll (craxDDrt.dll if using RCAPIs) and crviewer.dll. In version XI r2, the references in a VB 6 project would look like this:

craxDrt.dll              Crystal Reports ActiveX Designer Run Time Library 11.5

craxDDrt.dll           Crystal Reports ActiveX Designer and Design Run Time Library 11.5

crviewer.dll            Crystal ActiveX report Viewer Library 11.5

Even though you will see other Crystal Reports references in the VB 6 references list, you do not need to use any of these. And in actual fact, you are not licensed to use these in development. This includes any and all Business Objects references.

 

 Crystal Reports RDC Runtime Deployment;

 

 Up to version 9 of Crystal Reports, runtime file deployment could and typically was done using the Microsoft Deployment & Packaging Wizard. Merge module deployment was introduced in version 9 of Crystal Reports. Note that the Deployment & Packaging Wizard does not support merge modules. Merge modules are the only supported deployment option from Crystal Reports 10 onwards. As the Deployment & Packaging Wizard uses .DEP files you can create your own .DEP files. You should be able to find basic RDC .DEP files in the bin directory of your specific Crystal reports version. Do not try to use / create .dep files for CR XI r1 or r2. It will not work! It is imperative that you know which version of Crystal reports RDC is being referenced in your project. Each version of Crystal Reports has a specific set of merge modules and these must agree with your project references. Your application will not work if you deploy incorrect merge modules. A central place where you can download merge modules is here:

http://resources.businessobjects.com/support/additional_downloads/runtime.asp#06

You can also search the SAP downloads page:

http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/businessobjects-downloads

 

 Licensing:

 

The RDC runtime is freely redistributable to as many computers as you wish. However, the RDC RCAPIs are NOT free to be distributed. In a nut shell with CR XI r2, if your application uses RCAPIs you have to ensure that each site that will be using your application, obtains a version of Crystal Reports developer. RCAPI licensing does vary by version of Crystal Reports and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not contravening your license. See the documentation for your product or contact sales for more details. You are not licensed to develop applications using the craxDDrt.dll that ships with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET. Specifically these are:

Version 9.1.x which ships with .NET 2003 and .NET 2003

Version 10.2.x which ships with .NET 2005

Version 10.5.x which ships with .NET 2008

 

 Future direction:

 

 As the COM technology is being phased out by Microsoft, Crystal Reports is following in footstep. The successor to the RDC is the CR SDK for Visual Studio .NET. For basic applications that do not use Report Creation APIs, use the Crystal Reports SDK for .NET. If your application needs RCAPIs, use the Report Application Server (RAS) SDK. The RDC is not supported in any version of Visual Studio .NET. For more information regarding migration options see the migration diagram:

Report Designer Component – Past, Present & Future

For basic detail on porting your RDC application to RAS, see the “Upgrading Report Designer Component (RDC) SDK Applications to the Report Application Server (RAS) SDK.pdf” here:

http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/d0479adb-6b3f-2b10-1e9c-eb81a15768e8

More information on the Crystal Reports SDK for .NET is here:

https://boc.sdn.sap.com/node/14834

https://boc.sdn.sap.com/dotnet/samples

https://smpdl.sap-ag.de/~sapidp/012002523100006252812008E/net_web_smpl.exe

https://smpdl.sap-ag.de/~sapidp/012002523100006252822008E/net_win_smpl.exehttps://smpdl.sap-ag.de/~sapidp/012002523100006252822008E/net_win_smpl.exe

http://www.businessobjects.com/global/pdf/dev_zone/VS2005_Walkthroughs.pdfhttp://www.businessobjects.com/global/pdf/dev_zone/VS2005_Walkthroughs.pdf

More information on the Report Application SDK for .NET is here:

https://boc.sdn.sap.com/developer/library

https://boc.sdn.sap.com/dotnet/samples

https://boc.sdn.sap.com/samples/84/1194

http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/10b840c0-623f-2b10-03b5-9d1913866b32

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1 Comment

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  1. Michal Jezewski

    Please consider revising and upgrading all links to the documents with more information. They are all dead after sdn site has been redesigned – very annoying !!! 

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