Visual Studio 2008 comes with a bundled version of Crystal
Reports called Crystal Reports Basic 2008. CRBasic's version number is 10.5 and
is based on the same version (10) that came with Visual Studio 2005.
The full blown Crystal Reports 2008 standalone application
is version 12. You can upgrade from CRBasic 2008 to CR2008 for about $300 US. While
the original version of CR 2008 did not integrate with Visual Studio, this was
corrected with the service pack described below. Now CR 2008 integrates with
Visual Studio 2008 and provides a CrystalViewer control, though the standalone
designer boasts some features that are not available with the embedded
designer. If you install this version, the CR 2008 designer and control in VS 2008
will be updated.
CR 2008 has a lot of new features that enhance the design time
experience as well as the end user experience. You can find a lot of marketing
materials on the Business Objects web site that lay out the new features. As an
example, here is a Product Sheet with a good overview: http://www.businessobjects.com/pdf/product/catalog/crystalreports/cr_2008_whats_new.pdf
Some of my favorite new features are the end user parameter
panel with the ability for end users to sort and filter without hitting the
database again. Figure 1 shows the use of a simple parameter filter that allows
the end user to filter AdventureWorks customers by SalesPerson. I also am
thrilled that you can finally select and copy multiple objects at a time in the
Figure 1: CR2008's new Parameter Panel lets users
apply filters at runtime
Report Compatibility between CR 2008 and CRBasic 2008
The CR 2008 (version 12) runtime is not backward compatible
with the CR 2008 Basic (version 10.5) runtime. If you have reports that were
created in CR 2008 Basic, end users will need the runtime version 10.5.
I ported my report files from CR for VS 2005 to CR Basic
2008 to CR 2008 with no problems.
My previous article (linked to above) discusses report
compatibility in more depth. You can find more detailed information about
backwards compatibility with earlier versions in CR's documentation.
Service Packs & Fix Packs
Both versions have Service Packs. CR Basic 2008 Service Pack
1 was released in early September 2008, just after VS 2008 SP1 was released. This
service pack fixes a handful of critical problems. Some of these stemmed from
upgrading reports directly from VS 2002 and VS 2003; others were related to viewing
reports that use ADO.NET as their data source.
CR2008 Service Pack 0 (yes, zero) was released in March. One
of the problems that this service pack fixed was the inability to view reports
that were designed using strongly typed ADO.NET datasets (XSD's). This was the
showstopper that I discovered and discussed in my previous article. There will
be a Service Pack 1, which is planned to align with a future release of
Business Objects Enterprise.
In addition to the XSD problem, CR2008 SP0 provides support
for both 32bit and 64bit systems. Rendering big reports also became blazingly
fast with this service pack.
There are two "Fix Packs" (similar to Hot Fixes)
for CR2008. The second, FixPack 2, includes the single fix in Fix Pack 1 which
is the same ADO.NET data source issue resolved with SP0. There is a PDF listing
that fixes in FP2. It is not yet on SAP's downloads page, but someone from SAP kindly
uploaded the file to 2shared.com [http://www.2shared.com/file/3900521/7ef5e48d/BOXI30_CR2008_FixPack2_Fixed_Issues_en.html].
Some of the additional fixes in FP2 were related to
previewing reports in .NET Web forms and then a slew of fixes related to
Business Objects Enterprise XI.