Crystal Reports for Eclipse 1.0 Released... free of charge

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News: Crystal Reports for Eclipse 1.0 Released... free of charge

  1. Crystal Reports for Eclipse 1.0 has been released to the public. Although Business Objects has had a powerful Java reporting runtime engine on the market for years, this release marks the first time that a Java version of their report designer has been made available. On top of this, Business Objects has announced that the Basic version of Crystal Reports for Eclipse will be free for any Java developer to download and use in production. So what exactly is Crystal Reports for Eclipse? Well, for one, it is a version of the report designer re-written from the ground up on top of the popular Eclipse platform. Business Objects is using the Java Reporting Component (JRC) as the back-end engine for the designer. This is the same runtime engine that has been available to Crystal Reports Developers for the past four years. This engine has been updated over the years and is currently deployed in countless numbers of mission critical applications, proving its stability and performance. Crystal Reports for Eclipse includes the latest version of this engine. Additionally, as with all previous versions of Crystal Reports, this new designer will allow developers to create new Crystal Reports as well as editing existing reports. However, Crystal Reports for Eclipse is much more of a developer tool than simply a report designer. Business Objects has introduced a number of other useful features within the Eclipse IDE to make the process of integrating reporting into any application a painless one. Here is a sampling of the features that are included with Crystal Reports for Eclipse:
    1. Crystal Reports Web Project Wizard - this feature will enable developers to create a web project which already includes all of the required runtime configurations. Additionally, developers can optionally choose to add a sample database and reports to the project to get up and running in no time.
    2. JSP Page wizard - Drag 'n' drop a report onto a JSP page, or create a new JSP page via the context menu of a report. This wizard will provide developers with a dialog page allowing them to choose a number of different stub code which will be custom generated based on the selected report. Does your report require parameters, do you want to change the database at runtime, or export directly to PDF...the wizard will generate all of the required code to complete the requested actions, all custom to the specific report. You can literally get away with never having to write a line of reporting code again.
    3. POJO Data Source support - This feature enables developers to design reports off of in-memory Java classes. Just take the class and drag 'n' drop it onto the report design surface. Then start designing reports the same way you would as with any other data source.
    4. Java Reporting Component facet - easily add the Crystal Reports runtime environment to any new or existing web applications. Now you will never have to worry about ensuring that all your JAR files have been added.
    5. Java User Function Library wizard - this feature enables developers to expose Java logic to their Crystal Reports formulas. Does your organization have a large amount of code already invested into calculating a discount ratio? Wrap this logic up in a User Function Library using this easy wizard and your Crystal Reports files will be able to access this same logic.
    6. Deployment Assistance - Never have to worry about ensuring the proper JDBC drivers are available at runtime. When a report is added to a project, the tooling will ensure that the required runtime libraries are present (including database libraries) when the application is built.
    7. Built-in pointers to the Business Objects' Update Site - never have to worry about whether you have the latest version or not. Use the existing Eclipse Update Manager mechanism to check for updates and install them automatically. This feature also has built-in rollback capabilities in case you opt to go back to a previous version
    8. Update your projects with the latest runtime - have you just downloaded a hot fix, but are not too sure if you have already added it to an existing project? Use the Crystal Reports File Versions feature accessed via the Properties Menu of a project to quickly and easily see which file versions are currently in your project and compare this with the file versions installed in the tooling. If they are out of sync, click the Update button to easily update your application to the latest version.
    9. Global Property Settings - do you find that you are always turning off the logo on the viewer, or enabling the refresh button? Well, now developers can set their global settings for the Crystal Report viewers within their workspace preferences. Each time a viewer is added to a JSP page these preferences will be honored and the appropriate code modifications will be added.
    10. Integrated Help - Access a complete and robust report designer guide as well as developer walkthroughs, API docs and Best Practices via the built-in Eclipse Help System
    Business Objects provides three easy ways for Eclipse developers to download and install the tool:
    • An easy all-in-one build which includes the entire Eclipse 3.2 SDK, the required Eclipse plug-ins, and the Crystal Reports for Eclipse product. Additionally, the required configuration settings have been made to the Eclipse install to ensure the product runs smoothly
    • Update Site - Developers can connect to the Business Objects' Update Site to allow Eclipse to manage the installation process.
    • Eclipse Add-ons - already have an existing install of Eclipse 3.2? Download the Eclipse Add-On package and just extract the files to your Eclipse folder.
    For more information on the available download types, as well as where to download from, visit http://diamond.businessobjects.com/node/440. A few weeks after the release of the Basic version of Crystal Reports for Eclipse, Business Objects plans to release Crystal Reports for Eclipse Professional. The Professional edition will offer a more powerful runtime engine, include a free support package and include the required licensing for deployment in a clustered server environment (e.g web farms). This will be offered at $495/server. For more information on costs and rights for both versions of Crystal Reports for Eclipse, read the article on pricing and licensing. Message was edited by: joeo@enigmastation.com
  2. Hi Sean, Can you clarify a couple of points about the Business Objects license for crystal for eclipse? I read the FAQ, which was definitely cleaner and simpler, but still had some questions. 1) Deployment. The post suggests that you can develop and deploy ("Business Objects has announced that the Basic version of Crystal Reports for Eclipse will be free for any Java developer to download and use in production" - from your post), and the license agreement at one point says "install and use", but the license itself is restricted to [Development Only], explicitly prohibiting deployment. I excerpted just to keep the text from getting really long. "4.9. Crystal Reports for Eclipse....Unless otherwise explicitly agreed to in writing each license of Crystal Reports for Eclipse acquired by you has been acquired in the form of a Development License. If you have acquired a Development License of Crystal Reports for Eclipse you may not use the Product in a production environment nor may you use or deploy for production purposes any applications, modules, reports, scripts, or other works prepared, modified, or supplemented using a Development License of Crystal Reports for Eclipse." Does it have something to do with the different "flavors" of CR for Eclipse? Maybe the specific wording of the license doesn't match the intent? 2) Agreement to Audit. Are downloaders and users required to agree to an audit, within up to 3 years after the terms of the agreement? That's what the agreement implies. "12. AUDIT. During the term of this Agreement and for three (3) years after termination or expiration, Business Objects may audit, upon reasonable notice to you and at Business Objects’ expense, your books and records to determine your compliance with this Agreement." 3) Restrictions. Section 7.f. The license agreement says that crystal for Eclipse can't be used to create anything that competes with any Business Objects offering. It's not limited to [commercial] competing offerings, either. "7. RESTRICTIONS. Except as expressly permitted by this License Agreement you may not: (f) use the Software to develop a product which is competitive with any Business Objects product offerings" Given Business Objects' breadth of product line, with applications that do financial reporting, customer analysis, HR reporting, etc., what can and can't an application developer create? It would appear that many useful, mainstream reporting applications are prohibited given the no-compete clause. Since I excerpted, just a reminder for readers that the full license is here: http://diamond.businessobjects.com/node/449 I'm sure there will be some crystal reports and/or eclipse users who will be interested in this new module, and more clarity and fewer restrictions in the license would help a lot. -Lance Walter Pentaho www.pentaho.org
  3. Hi Lance, At the very bottom of the article there is a link to the licensing and pricing for the Crystal Reports for Eclipse product. In case you missed it you can find the document here: http://diamond.businessobjects.com/system/files/CR4E_Eclipse_PricingAndLicensing.pdf We do have plans to make the product available from other sites (e.g. www.download.com). When the product is downloaded from these external sites a small watermark will be applied to the bottom of each page of the report, asking the user to register for free to remove this message. If your product does have a watermark then it is essentially in Dev/Test mode. You can register for free at the Business Objects' site to download a keycode plug-in which will remove this watermark as well as remove any Dev/Test restrictions. You can find more information about removing the watermark here: http://diamond.businessobjects.com/node/431 If you downloaded either the all-in-one build or the Eclipse add-on plug-ins from the Business Objects' site then this Dev/Test restriction has already been removed. Essentially, the user now has a fully functional copy of Crystal Reports for Eclipse Basic edition. Please feel free to ask more questions if the answer was not clear enough. Regards, Sean
  4. Thanks Sean. That helps. It still leaves a couple of open issues. a) Why are downloaders of this free Eclipse plugin required to submit to an audit by Business Objects? And if the audit term is 3 years beyond the termination of the agreement, when does the agreement terminate? b) How does a developer know if they're building something "competitive to any Business Objects offering?" The agreement seems to draw no distinction between building something commercially competitive (which I could understand) versus an internal application, or even report samples that a developer might want to share with a community? I ask because licensing a restrictions matter a lot to developers and the open source community as well, and certain forms of open source licenses can contribute to complexity for developers and users. To be honest, given that this is not an open source license, and business objects owns all of the IP, you might have the opportunity to offer developers a license that was even simpler and less restrictive than some of the open source license types out there. But the terms of this agreement would suggest that you're asking the average java developer downloading a free Eclipse plug-in to agree to the exact same license terms as a huge Fortune 500 business objects end-user customer. ?? Thank you, Sean. -Lance Pentaho
  5. What about Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools - BIRT - instead? I see a lot of effort in enhancing it... How does it compare to CR?
  6. What about Eclipse Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools - BIRT - instead?
    I see a lot of effort in enhancing it... How does it compare to CR?
    Well, I think that there are a number of key differentiators between this product and other Java reporting tools. I think from a developer tool perspective, the Crystal Reports for Eclipse product has a lot more tools to support the building and deploying of applications which include the Crystal Reports file. In fact, most of the 10 features listed are unique to Crystal Reports. As many of you know Crystal Reports has been bundled with Visual Studio for over 13 years. During this time we have been able to build a comprehensive understanding of how developers want to use reporting in their applications. The features available with this initial release are an indication of that knowledge. Understanding, that in the end, this is still a developer tool and not just a report designer. Most other vendors will only compare themselves with our report designer. Even at this level I am confident that most users will find our report designer heads and shoulders above our competition. We worked closely with the GEF team and WTP team to ensure that we could provide the absolute best design time experience available. You can watch an overview video of some of the features available in the product here: http://diamond.businessobjects.com/node/418 Aside from the items listed in the original post, Crystal Reports also has the unique ability to support the same report files in both .NET and Java applications. No other reporting vendor can make this claim. This means that the same report files can be deployed without making any changes to either a .NET or Java application. Additionally, Crystal Reports is the #1 professional report designer in the world. A number of developers use our development tools because their end users already have copies of the Crystal Reports designer. This allows the developer's end user to make any necessary modifications that they may need without involving the developer. Most other Java reporting tools are strictly used by the Java developer. In these scenarios, maintenance of the application often becomes a headache because it requires the developer to make all of the changes to the report format, even the smallest ones. I will be the first to point out that this is not an open source plug-in. It is a commercial plug-in, but offered at no cost. Our Java runtime engine has been in production for over 4 versions now and has been deployed in a countless number of mission critical applications. On top of this we have received a number of awards from the Java community for our engine, as well as being chosen by the top 3 Java IDE vendors to bundle within their products (IBM, BEA, and Borland). At this time, our engine is still considered a key differentiator against our competitors, which will likely limit the possibility of the source code being made available anytime soon. Still, I believe that with this decision the developer gets the best of both worlds. They get a commercially indemnified and supported version of the world's best reporting engine at an open source cost. Regards, Sean
  7. We were forced to integrate CRXI into one of out web application more than half year ago and it was very painful experience - very poor documentation if any, things not working (setting parameters...). On the other side the developers from the forum for this plugin helped us a even in questions related more to CR and java than to plugin itself (thanx). So my question is how is it with examples and help ? Did the work on the plugin resulted in better java engine ? saki (at) chare dot eu
  8. We were forced to integrate CRXI into one of out web application more than half year ago and it was very painful experience - very poor documentation if any, things not working (setting parameters...). On the other side the developers from the forum for this plugin helped us a even in questions related more to CR and java than to plugin itself (thanx).

    So my question is how is it with examples and help ? Did the work on the plugin resulted in better java engine ?

    saki (at) chare dot eu
    Hi, To answer your question...Yes, the work we have done on Crystal Reports for Eclipse has resulted in improving our Java engine. Most of the issues we had in the past with Crystal Reports and Java was not so much with the Java engine itself, but rather configuring the old designer to work with Java data sources. Since the original designer is built using C++ it uses JNI to connect to all Java data sources. This designer will read an INI file to determine the necessary JVM settings (e.g. classpath, etc.) This can be quite confusing. However, with the new Crystal Reports for Eclipse designer none of these settings are required. Additionally, the report designer uses the exact same engine for design time as the developer will use at runtime. This will ensure that what you see in the designer is the same as what you see at runtime. On top of all this the Crystal Reports for Eclipse product includes a number of features which assists the developer with building their application. You can literally build a custom reporting application in 5 minutes without writing a single line of code. As for examples, we are currently producing a number of video tutorials (around 20 or so) which users can follow to see exactly how to use the product. There are currently 3 or 4 of them already published on our Diamond site (http://diamond.businessobjects.com/eclipse) I would recommend that you give it a try. I am sure that you will be impressed with what the Crystal Reports for Eclipse product will offer you if you have worked with our XI product in the past. Regards, Sean
  9. Sean, The POJO support is great. When do you think you will include support for HQL/EJB3 Queries/JDO queries? While some "reports" are done using Complex objects (pojos) most reports are done via "report queries". While BIRT doesn't have this JasperReports does. ;) I'll have to take a look at this version of Crystal. I've just not yet had time. Looks good. Mark
  10. Hi Mark, I am in the process of scoping out future updates for the product. We have discussed getting better support for hierarchical data sources to include a wider variety of sources included ORMs and their supported query languages. I would love to touch base with you to get a good understanding of your use cases and exactly how you would want to use Hibernate or JDO. Would you be open to the idea of me emailing you directly for your feedback? Regards, Sean
  11. Hi Mark,
    I am in the process of scoping out future updates for the product. We have discussed getting better support for hierarchical data sources to include a wider variety of sources included ORMs and their supported query languages. I would love to touch base with you to get a good understanding of your use cases and exactly how you would want to use Hibernate or JDO. Would you be open to the idea of me emailing you directly for your feedback?

    Regards,
    Sean
    Yes, I would. Let me know where to email you.
  12. Hey Mark, You can email me at sean dot johnson at businessobjects dot com. Thanks, Sean
  13. Sent and email from my gmail account. Mark
  14. :) See my blog from July 20, 2005. http://jroller.com/page/mknutty?entry=eclipse_and_crystal
  15. There is also Windward Reports[ Go to top ]

    For those looking at reporting packages, please look at Windward Reports too. I think you will find it incredibly easy to use as you design the reports in your word processor. Also, if you would like a bit of comedy - please check out Cubicle War. thanks - dave