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Using SAP Crystal Reports 2011 To Protect Your Report Designs - Update #2

SAP Crystal Dashboard Design 2011 - Portfolio Update #4

 

One of the items I discussed in SAP Crystal Solutions 2011 Portfolio Update #1 was that SAP Crystal Reports 2011 no longer contains developer tools.  This blog goes into more detail on that topic.

This doesn't mean there's nothing in SAP Crystal Reports 2011 for developers - in fact, it's quite the opposite.

To review, we provide, for free, report designers and runtime engines for both .NET 4.0 and Java.

SAP Crystal Reports for Visual Studio 2010, and SAP Crystal Reports for Eclipse both include:

  • Simplified report design tools.
  • Runtime engines
  • APIs
  • IDE tooling

So how does SAP Crystal Reports 2011 add value to these developer packages?

At a high level, it's by:

  1. Saving time in the report design process.
  2. Taking full advantage of the functionality in the runtime engines.
  3. Protecting your report design

Saving Time

Crystal Reports has for years included editable preview.  This means that report designers can modify a report while viewing it with data.  Other report design tools force you to alternate between an editable layout pane with no data, and a read-only pane with data.  I find in my regular use of Crystal Reports that this feature alone is worth the upgrade from SAP Crystal Reports for Visual Studio 2010.

Other time saving features of SAP Crystal Reports 2011 include:

  • Custom templates for applying the same layout to multiple reports.
  • Repository access for component reuse (requires a server based on the SAP BusinesssObjects BI 4.0 platform).
  • Workbench tool for managing your projects.
  • Easier design workflow for charts and cross tabs

Take Full Advantage of the Runtime Engine

This table shows a list of features that exist in the Java and .NET runtimes that require SAP Crystal Reports 2011 to create.

Features of the Java runtime that require SAP Crystal Reports 2011 to Create the RPT File

  • Flash objects in a report
  • Cross-tabs with calculated rows & columns
  • Blank lines in a cross-tab
  • Bar-codes 
  • Measure page size in pixels
  • Formula-driven page margins
  • Portrait or landscape orientation by section
  • Optional parameters
  • On-report sort controls for interactive sorting
  • Parameter panel for interactive filtering and formatting
  • Web service data access

Features of the .NET 4.0 runtime that require SAP Crystal Reports 2011 to Create the RPT File

  • Flash objects in a report
  • Cross-tabs with calculated rows & columns
  • Blank lines in a cross-tab
  • Bar-codes
  • Exports that support saved export options.  Avoid training your users on what export options to use - simply save the default export options within the RPT file using SAP Crystal Reports 2011.
  • XML exports with optional integrated XSLT transform.  If you have a requirement for a custom export format, then this feature is especially valuable.  You can write your own XSLT transform and save it with the RPT using SAP Crystal Reports 2011 to create any format you wish.

Protecting Your Report Design

In Using SAP Crystal Reports 2011 To Protect Your Report Designs - Update #2, I go into more depth on the new RPTR feature and how it can help ISVs protect their report designs.

In short, RPTR is a new read only report format that can only be created by SAP Crystal Reports 2011.  This format cannot be opened by any report designer - including SAP Crystal Reports 2011.  However it can be opened by our .NET runtime engine included in SAP Crystal Reports for Visual Studio 2010, and other viewers.

This means it's ideal for sharing reports in your applications when you want to prevent downstream users from modifying the report designs and reducing the potential for support issues.

Conclusion

I hope that helps you understand how we're making it easy and simple to use SAP Crystal Reports for your development projects.

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