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This chapter is from the book

New Features in Crystal Reports 9

Crystal Reports (CR) 9 includes many extraordinary product enhancements from its earlier release, version 8.5, and could quite possibly represent the greatest single improvement of the Crystal Reports application from one release to another. Table 1.1 outlines the key enhancements by feature value and provides a brief introduction to each feature. The specifics of each feature will be addressed throughout the topics of the book, as they are related to the appropriate hours.

Table 1.1 A Quick Reference of the New or Enhanced Features Within Crystal Reports 9

Feature Value

Feature Name

Feature Description

Productivity

Report Component Repository

A central library of report components that report designers can share among all reports within the report design process. These components include text objects, images, custom functions, and commands. A sample repository, including prebuilt functions and objects, is provided with the CR 9 release.

Productivity

Report Parts and Navigation Improvements

Report parts provide a mechanism to deliver report content to wireless devices and integrate content into Web applications, portals and Office XP. Select pieces of information (parts) in a report can now be delivered to the specific device required by business users—report information is no longer bound to the page view. Report parts can interact with the parent report or other report parts via links. Enhanced navigation within and between reports allows for linking between report objects (parts) .

Productivity

Custom Functions

Custom functions permit report designers to define their own functions that can be used and shared between multiple reports. Custom functions are mapped to data fields to create formulas in reports, and these functions can then be stored within a Report Component Repository.

Productivity

Unicode Support

A feature to support International standards to save time and space for required code, and includes the ability to run reports created in any language version of the product on any language version operating system. All International languages are represented in one 16-bit character set, and the previous 254-byte character limit has been removed.

Productivity

Wireless Report Viewing

CR 9 now offers three new wireless viewers: WML, simple HTML 3.0, and Pocket PC. These viewers will support the HTML, cHTML (compact-HTML), IPAQ, Windows CE, WML, and Palm OS languages.

Productivity

Query and Database Engine Re-architecture

Improved SQL (Structured Query Language code) generation from the graphic design interface, capability to create and add queries from inside the designer, support for additional database join types, new database connectivity options, and an improved user interface.

Usability

Formula Enhancements

New formula workshop user interface, improved error tracking, and auto-complete formula creation feature.

Usability

General Usability Enhancements

New object-oriented report and repository Explorers, new and improved report wizards and experts, custom templates, Microsoft Excel financial functions, application menu and toolbar improvements, and the capability to lock objects and set read-only properties.

Usability

Charting and Cross Tab Enhancements

New chart types (Gantt and Gauge), formatting improvements for date/time and numeric x-axis values. Cross Tab support for running totals, vertical and horizontal summary display, percent summaries, Top N, suppression of rows, and relative position within a section.

Usability

OLAP Reporting Enhancements

Increased support for OLAP data sources, new OLAP worksheet, filter and page dimension parameters, and a drill-down feature in report preview view.

Usability

Interactive Report Viewing

Zero-client report viewing for the report consumer. Advanced searching, navigation, and enhanced exporting. While viewing reports, business users can perform Boolean searches and link to the parent report from search results, zoom and highlight, and export reports to Microsoft Word and Excel formats as well as directly to email.

Power and Flexibility

Exporting Enhancements

New Excel and HTML exporting, improved support for RTF and PDF formats, and improved support for exporting images and charts.

Power and Flexibility

Report Application Server

New functionality that enables report consumers to interactively view reports. This includes improved control over x/y object placement, full section formatting, view-time security, and support for alerting and consolidation reporting.

Power and Flexibility

Java, COM and .NET Application Interfaces

Separate object models are provided to support Java, COM, and .NET development environments. These interfaces are focused on providing application programmers with tools to integrate reporting into custom applications created in the Java, COM, or .NET environments.


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