Lessons Learned: Sorting out Crystal Reports 2008 Versioning, Service Packs and Deployment
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by Julia Lerman
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CR Basic 2008 vs. Crystal Reports 2008

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 designer.

Figure 1: CR2008's new Parameter Panel lets users apply filters at runtime

crystalparameters.png

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.


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