This article, along with at least another 2 parts, will attempt to dissect a sample application I will build throughout the articles. We start with Crystal .NET basics, then work up to incorporating new .NET 2.0 features and Crystal .NET features into the sample. A link to the first version of the actual sample will be included in part 2. Setup instructions are there as well.
My background as a developer includes being responsible for developing many applicatins that include reports. That introduced me to Crystal, starting with version 8.0. I then had a lot of experience with the .NET version when Visual Studio .NET came out. ASP.NET introduced a lot of great improvements for clasic asp web developers. Crystal's .NET version had some improvements as well, but also introduced some drawbacks especially in the printing space.
With the new version of .NET looming, I began looking for some documentation on the new version of Crystal, included with Visual Studio.
The sample applciation
In looking at the new version of Visual Studio (formerly code-named Whidbey, now called Visual Studio 2005), I wanted to look specifically at what the new features this version of Crystal has. This new version is based on the Crystal Reports 10 engine. Since I have a lot of experience with Crystal .NET and the Crystal 8.5 version, I was hopeful that some issues I had found difficult had been solved.
I thought the best way to discover these issues was to develop a sample application in VS 2005. Besides giving me some experience with Crystal .NET, I'd get some more experiences with the new server controls and data access components.
I chose to make this sample something that may help me in my Fantasy Football league, since I really need help! I finished last in my league this year, so next year, I need a boost. Other FF aficiandos may want to use this sample as a basis, but change the stastical analysis parts to something that actually wins leagues! By the end of this series of articles, this sample should be something useful for me in my fantasy league. As far as your fantasy league, you'll probably need to make your own modifications. Keep in mind that these beginning articles are a starting point sample application, not a finished product.
Back to the Crystal .NET tools included with VS 2005. As I mentioned above, I had issues with the old version of Crystal .NET for VS 2003. Some of those issues were , in no particular order:
- Allow printing using the client printers from the Crystal Viewer
- Simplify programmatically logging onto a the database.
- Simplify applying Parameters to stored procedure data sources.
- Allowing WYSIWYG reporting previews in Visual Studio when designing a report.
Some but not all of these issues appear to be solved. I will cover them later in this article.
This application was developed on a AMD 1Gighz laptop with 256M RAM, Windows XP Professional, SQL Server 2000, and the Visual Studio 2005, Beta 1 Refresh.