Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Crystal Reports for Eclipse Unveiled

At the Business Objects International User Conference today I had the opportunity to demonstrate the latest build of our Crystal Reports designer built on the Eclipse framework. For those of you who missed it I have included some screenshots below.

In developing the Crystal Reports embedded report designer we have taken advantage of as many existing Eclipse functionalities whenever possible. For example, we re-use the existing Database Explorer view currently included in the Eclipse Web Tools Platform Project as the UI for our database connectivity.

As well, we extend the Navigator, Outline and Properties views to ensure a familiar look and feel for Eclipse users.

Below is a screenshot depicting the Crystal Reports perspective and some of the associated views. Most existing Crystal Reports users will likely notice a lot of similarities to the current release of the Crystal Reports designer.

(Click on the picture to see a larger version)

However, existing users will also notice a few enhancements in comparison to the current Crystal Reports designer. For example, users can now compress and expand sections of the report with a click of the mouse. This functionality makes it a lot easier when dealing with reports containing a large number of sections.

Another enhancement is the Formula Pane. As seen in the image below, all of the formulas currently stored in the report can be accessed on a single pane within the editor. This includes custom formulas, conditional formatting formulas as well as record selection formulas. All of these formulas are easily identified by their descriptive headings and can be collapsed and expanded for easier readability and navigation. Of course, no formula editor would be complete without syntax checking. As you can see in the screenshot below, syntax errors are displayed just as they appear when coding other solutions in the Eclipse IDE. Finally, users can still easily add fields, parameters or other report elements to formulas by dragging and dropping the element from the Field Explorer view into the Formula Pane. This way the developer will never have the wrong syntax when referring to a specific report element.

(Click on the picture to see a larger version)

Finally, the last screenshot displays our Data Pane. This is the pane which report designers will use to create the field linking between the database tables residing in the report. Unlike a lot of other reporting solutions, Crystal Reports removes the complexity of hand-coding the SQL statement used in the report. Instead, the Crystal Reports engine will generate the required SQL based on the database joins established in the Data Pane and the database fields referenced in the report itself.

(Click on the picture to see a larger version)

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about this recent announcement. I encourage everyone to sign up to receive the preview release so that they can be informed as soon as the software is made available. As always, we encourage feedback and comments on all blogs we post.

Talk to you soon!

-Sean Johnson
Product Manager, Business Objects Corp.


At 7:18 PM, November 09, 2005, Blogger 6-figs05 said...

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At 7:19 PM, November 09, 2005, Blogger allegren said...

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At 9:01 AM, November 10, 2005, Anonymous Jessica King said...

I had the opportunity to see this new Eclipse plugin in action at the Business Objects Insight 2005 Conference yesterday. After what I saw, I can't wait to download and use it. I'm excited about this announcement of Eclipse integration and a better Crystal/JAVA developer community.

At 4:28 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Chaitu said...

Its a good step ahead for development. But if i am an application based on eclipse, does it provide a way for me to allow my user to view crystal reports on my GUI?

At 4:29 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Chaitu said...

what i mean is.. is there a way for a user of my application (eclipse based) to view built in reports?

At 6:17 AM, November 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any plan to do some stuff with the BIRT Project from Actuate in the future ?

At 8:20 AM, November 14, 2005, Blogger JT said...

We have no plans to support the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project. At this time, BIRT is largely an Actuate-driven project to develop a 'commercial' open source reporting tool that competes in the reporting space.

Note that we will continue to evaluate a number of Eclipse projects to see where we can both add our support and gain value for our customers.

At 1:00 PM, November 14, 2005, Blogger Sean said...

re: development support

Currently, our latest release of Crystal Reports (XI R2) does include a swing-based Crystal Reports viewer. This viewer enables developers to build rich-client Java applications with embedded Crystal Reports files. A Developer could use this solution today to build an Eclipse-based GUI with a built-in Crystal Reports viewer.

That being said, as with all of our existing IDE integrations we recognize that designing reports is only one piece of the developer workflow. Our goal with the Crystal Reports for Eclipse release is to support the Developer and their workflows wherever possible.

At 3:55 PM, November 27, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so excited to try this new product out! Will Crystal Reports for Eclipse support all of the platforms that can run JRE (i.e. Linux)?

At 12:35 PM, November 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Will this allow me to manipulate Crystal Reports objects in Java in a similar way to the Crystal Reports 8.5 ActiveX Designer Run Time Library that I currently use in VB6.0? I'm looking for a full API for Java.

At 7:16 AM, December 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can we found out more about the Swing viewer included with Crystal XI R2. Thanks.

At 3:27 AM, January 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wanna using this release in windows application not in web application .. can i??? :((

At 3:51 PM, January 24, 2006, Blogger JT said...

re: posts removed
I had a question about why 2 posts were delted here. We removed them two posts because they were blatant advertising/spam. Our goal is to have an open discussion and talk about the good, not so good, and the ugly if that's what it takes to share the whole story on Crystal Reports for Eclipse.



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