What is Crystal Reports – Everything about SAP Business Intelligence Software from Coding compiler. Crystal Reports is a business intelligence software that can be used to generate and publish reports based on a variety of data sources. Crystal Reports is now owned by SAP and is released under the name Crystal Reports for Enterprise (CR4E).
SAP Crystal Reports for Enterprise (CR4E)
With Crystal Reports Business Intelligence software, reports can be generated from a variety of data sources such as databases or text files. The software was originally developed by the company Crystal Services in 1984. Through a partnership with Microsoft, it quickly became widely used.
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In 1994, Seagate acquired Crystal Services. After 2003 Business Objects acquired the software, Business Objects was acquired by SAP in 2008. Meanwhile, SAP offers Crystal Reports under the name Crystal Reports for Enterprise (CR4E).
One of the strengths of Crystal Reports is the wide range of access to different databases and data sources. The data can be integrated directly into the reports and updated dynamically. For this, connection techniques such as ODBC ( Open Database Connectivity ), OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) or JDBC come (Java Database Connectivity).
The reports contain elements such as graphics or tables and are easy to format and publish. Among other things, various web technologies are available for publishing. Programmers have an automation tool that lets them embed the reports into other applications. All graphics or texts are objects that can be arbitrarily placed and formatted. For example, converting reports to HTML makes it possible to publish on the Internet.
Crystal Reports and SAP
Crystal Reports from SAP is a powerful and flexible tool for generating and formatting reports. There are numerous selection and formatting options. Another strength is the deep integration of Crystal Reports into the SAP BW data warehouse
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In addition, the software makes it possible to process non-SAP data in addition to the SAP data and to visualize it in individual reports. Further application possibilities result in interaction with SAP BusinessObjects.
In SAP-based enterprise environments, Crystal Reports is a de facto standard for report generation. The software generates dynamic and well-formatted reports from a variety of data sources and delivers them in a variety of formats and languages. Data sources turn into interactive information that can be accessed online or offline from applications, mobile devices, or portals.
Data sources usable with Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports can access a variety of different databases and data sources and extract information. These include, for example:
- relational database management systems (RDBMS) like the various SQL databases
- Spreadsheet programs like Excel from Microsoft
- XML files
- formatted text files
- Data sources that can be addressed via ODBC (Open Database Connectivity), OLAP (Online Analytical Processing), or JDBC (Java Database Connectivity)
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Output options of Crystal Reports
Crystal Reports also supports numerous options and formats in terms of output options. For example, reports can be provided in the following form:
- as text files
- as XML files
- as CSV files
- as HTML files
- in pdf format
- in Word format
- in Excel format
- as RPT files (in Crystal Report format)
In addition, the reports can be dynamically integrated into applications. For this purpose, technologies such as ASP.NET, Windows Form or WPF are used.
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The Crystal Reports Designer – the central tool for creating reports
The Crystal Reports Designer is the central tool for creating and generating reports. The previously defined parameters can then be varied by users without changing the basic data. Users install the designer on their machine and use it to display data from the various data sources in the desired formatting. The software uses either ODBC, JDBC or OLAP standards or specially installed driver software to extract the data.
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Finished reports can be saved in the own Crystal Reports format RPT. Whenever the report is called again, it retrieves the data from the source systems. Changed data in the databases automatically change the reports. In addition to viewing the reports on the screen, there are various ways to output the reports. They are exportable in various formats or can be printed directly on paper. Even the output in Adobe Flash formats is possible.
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The main features of Crystal Reports
The key features of Crystal Reports are:
- simple, intuitive and flexible report design
- various output options in different formats, offline and online
- extended support of Microsoft Excel files
- various connection options to different data sources and databases
- Integration with Adobe Flex and Adobe Flash
- Create interactive reports for mobile devices
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