Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What's next for Crystal Reports for Eclipse?

I know that we haven't even hit Beta for our initial offering but already we have started talking about we can do next. For those of you who are familiar with Business Objects, you will know that we have a pretty extensive suite of software offerings. Whether it's our Query and Analysis tools, our Performance Management offerings, our award winning BI platform or our Data Integration software, there are a number of opportunities for us to explore when deciding what type of tooling we want to offer Eclipse Developers next. One of the ideas I have my heart set on is to provide some developer tooling around our Crystal Xcelsius product. I'm not sure how many of you have had an opportunity to try this product yet but the "cool" factor is way up on this one. Crystal Xcelsius falls under what we call "Interactive Visual Analytics" and was added to our suite with the acquisition of Infommersion last fall. Essentially, the product allows you to import Excel spreadsheets (or connect to data provided via web services) and build rich interactive visualizations around the data. The output can then be integrated into web pages, Powerpoint presentations or PDF documents.

Below are some screenshots of the output produced with Crystal Xcelsius. Clicking on the image will bring up the actual output allowing you to fully interact with the visualizations. (note: Macromedia Flash is required to view the links)

What did I tell you...pretty cool! Not only do these visualizations spice up your website, but just imagine what they do for your powerpoint presentations. It is pretty impressive to be able to handle the "what-if" scenarios in the middle of a presentation without having to generate a new report.

Anyways, if you are interested in learning more about the samples above or seeing more samples applications in action you can check out the Crystal Xcelsius showcase here. As well, we do have evaluation copies of the software which users can download. If you don't believe me when I say it is extremely easy to create quality visualizations like those above then I suggest you give it a try on your own. You can download an evaluation of the software from here.

As I mentioned above, if I get my way we will soon see some tooling around this product showing up in Eclipse. I can foresee a lot of developers quickly falling in love with the "cool factor" associated with this product, as I have. Anyways, my apologies for going off on a Marketing tangent. As always I openly invite any comments or feedback. Let me know if you think developers will use a product like Crystal Xcelsius...or if you think I am out to lunch! :)

So, there's a little glimpse of what I am thinking about for future releases of Crystal Reports for Eclipse. If anyone else out there has ideas about what they would like to see in future releases feel free to comment on the post.

Well, it's back to work for me. Until next time...



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