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Can I Upgrade My Crystal Reports?

Crystal Reports you say? What version? It’s embedded in your application? How is it embedded? What does it do? Do you know what Developer Libraries they used? SDK? What? Who? When?

To be honest, the reason I joined Crystal Decisions all those many years ago was because of Crystal Reports. I’d used Crystal Reports may times in the past and I’d always been amazed at how easy it was to use. I was an old ISAM guy, so the fact that this tool could write SQL was pretty cool. (of course now I know that it’s not as good at writing SQL as other tools, but ignorance is bliss.) When I found an opportunity on HotJobs for a Presales Consultant I jumped at the chance. I’d always worked at small companies with < 150 employees and now – wow – I could get a chance to help sell a product that just about everyone in IT has heard of.

Why has everyone heard of it? Because it’s everywhere. The one good thing about Crystal Reports is that Greg Kerfoot knew the power of market share, so he bundled packaged, included, gave away, OEM’ed, shipped, advertised Crystal Reports in every way, shape and form. It really became a household name. A true reporting standard. Long before anyone ever thought of the term Business Intelligence, Crystal was blazing a trail, which brings me to my question at the start of this blog.

Can I Upgrade My Crystal Reports?

The great thing about Crystal is that it’s everywhere. My first few months at Crystal Decisions I learned that customers had developed all kinds of crazy ways to use Crystal Reports and I needed to understand how they might use it so I could help them… especially as the web was now in full swing and people were wanting to web-enable their old Visual Basic applications.

Well, here is a summary of what I’ve learned over the years regarding Crystal Reports. There were a lot of different SDKs (Software Developer Kits) that were introduced over the years. As technologies changed, so did the libraries available to developers for creating applications. Here is a timeline of these changes.

The Bad News

The RDC, the most popular of the SDKs available for Crystal Reports has been depreciated and will not ship with XI 3.0. Although we introduced a new web-client centric SDK in 2002 with the advent of Crystal Reports 9 and Visual Studio .NET many customers have been slow to modify their legacy applications. When moving for RDC to one of the new APIs, you must rewrite your application.

Just like all other code migration from Visual Basic 6 to the .NET Framework, recoding is necessary when migrating from the Report Designer Component in Visual Basic 6 to Crystal Reports .NET. This is because of the new .NET APIs, which vary from the COM APIs.

One of my favorite stories was from back in the Crystal Reports 8 days. I remember visiting a customer who was complaining the Crystal was crashing. I went onsite and in those days if a machine has an IIS server on it, you could access Crystal Reports through the ActiveX viewer by referencing the report in a shared directory. This customer was running 120 concurrent users on a single CPU machine!! They had purchased a $500 piece of software and were serving up reports to thousands of end-users. No wonder the machine was falling over. That poor DLL was getting hammered. (Fortunately in Crystal 8.5 we limited the number of concurrent threads to 5 and no one complained that “Crystal was crashing”. Now it was time for us to collect… because before the 5 concurrent users had been a paper license).

Here is an example posting on Diamond for someone who can’t find all his old RDC features in the new RAS SDK.

The Better News

Crystal Reports continues to provide a RAS SDK as part of the Crystal Reports Developer Addition. This RAS SDK can be used to both embedded as well as managed report environments. An embedded environment is when you manage all the Crystal Reports content yourself through your application. This may be convenient but means there is a lot more work for the developer to do around managing content, scalability, etc.

Note: Consider carefully whether you will use embedded or managed reporting for your development product because the SDKs calls will vary slightly depending on which you use. In any case, make sure and encapsulate your logic around user authentication and opening reports. If you do need to change from embedded reporting to managed reporting, HERE is an excellent whitepaper that walks you through the process.

Originally we followed Microsofts lead my offering a web farm/web garden license, but that just got confusing. Now we make it a lot easier.

If you use Crystal Reports in an unmanaged mode, you will have a limited number of threads you can use. In some cases we offer packages with increased threads (For example we used to offer Crystal Enterprise Embedded which provided more capacity. This is no longer available outside of our OEM channel.) In all other cases, you will need to move to a managed reporting model. That means you will need to move the processing of the Crystal Reports off your application and onto a secondary service which will handle the report processing for you.

The introductory version of this server is called Crystal Reports Server.

The Best News

The best news is that once you move to managed reporting you can upgrade to more and more capabilities within our server product family. Crystal Reports Server is the introductory product. The other levels are:
  • BusinessObjects Edge Standard
  • BusinessObjects Edge Professional
  • BusinessObjects Edge Premium
  • BusinessObjects Enterprise Professional
  • BusinessObjects Premium
  • BusinessObjects Premium … plus add-ons
For Midmarket and Enterprise customers respectively.
And Remember the old ActiveX Viewer?
It used to be the only viewer. But now it’s a new day. I strongly recommend you try to stay away from the ActiveX viewer if possible. Although it’s not officially deprecated, it is legacy technology and it not supported with some of our latest developments (e.g. web services SDK). If you can avoid using it, I would. If you can’t, I’d like to know why.
  1. October 4th, 2008 at 04:49 | #1

    thanks for that?

  2. Nam Hoang
    August 24th, 2009 at 12:30 | #2

    Hi David,

    I found your blog very useful. I have a few questions I hope you can help. I am with the Alberta government and I am responsible to upgrade crystal report 9 to use crystal report 2008 server. I have tried looking for resource how to best to upgrade but unfortuntely it is difficult to find good sources of information. Can you recommend any links to good information on using the crystal report 2008 server? Thank you for help.

    From,
    Nam Hoang

  3. August 25th, 2009 at 08:18 | #3

    There is a huge difference between Crystal Reports and Crystal Reports Server. Crystal Reports lets a developer build a report and save it as a .rpt file. The Crystal Reports Server software allows that .rpt file to be published into a managed environment where web users can view, export and refresh the data from the report without having Crystal Reports on their desktop!

    Crystal Reports have been delivered via the web since early 2000. Here is a list of additional features you get with Crystal Reports Server. http://bit.ly/16S8Hn

    If you would like to see more, don’t be afraid to contact someone from the sales team. On the same page, http://bit.ly/16S8Hn, you will find a link that says “Locate a salesperson”. They can explain the entire process for upgrading, etc.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions.

  4. Lawrence L
    August 28th, 2009 at 03:37 | #4

    Not sure if my email to you made it thru, but here is my question david. much appreciated.

    if I have a BOE XI R2 / 3.1 server running in full 64 bits, would it still be ok if I deploy crystal reports from a 32 bit client machine thru Crystal Reports the program?

  5. August 28th, 2009 at 08:18 | #5

    BOE XI R2, even if deployed on 64-bit hardware and 64-bit Windows OS, is compiled into 32-bit binary. BOE is not yet available in native 64-bit mode, therefore the 64-bit issue is irrelevant. There is no problem saving a Crystal Reports to BOE through the Crystal Reports program or through the publishing wizard.

  6. Lawrence L
    August 30th, 2009 at 20:38 | #6

    Thank you Dave. Appreciated your help with this!

  7. MALA
    May 25th, 2010 at 02:44 | #7

    Can I check with you is it possible Crystal Report XI Developer can upgrade?

    • May 26th, 2010 at 11:06 | #8

      If you purchased maintenance with your copy of Crystal Reports, then you can upgrade to the next version at no additional cost.

  8. MALA
    May 25th, 2010 at 02:46 | #9

    MALA :Can I check with you is it possible Crystal Report XI Developer can upgrade?

    • June 16th, 2010 at 13:54 | #10

      It depends if your Crystal Reports licenses is current on maintenance. If it is, your upgrade is free, if not, you will need to repurchase the new version.

  9. Michael
    June 15th, 2010 at 17:20 | #11

    In our current environment, we are using crystal reports in unmanaged mode with Crystal reports 9, ASP and ActiveX Viewer.

    We have licenses for both CR XI R2 and CR Server XI R2. We are looking to upgrade our intranet report application to .NET and CR XI R2.

    We plan to use both Crystal Reports and MS Reporting services. Therefore unmanaged mode is working for our scenario.

    Is there any way to use Crystal Reports XI or Crystal Reports Server XI in unmanaged mode to support more than 3 simutaneous threads?

    It seems like Crystal Reports Server embedded version serve our needs but it only available for OEM partners? Is there any other solutions beside this?

    We purchased maintenance with our copies of Crystal Reports XI and Crystal Reports Server. Where can I get the free upgrade of next version?

    Thanks in advance,
    Michael

  10. June 16th, 2010 at 13:48 | #12

    Michael,

    Thanks for explaining your situation so clearly. Unfortunately in your case, unmanaged reporting is no longer a possibility; however there is a near equivalent. You can use “managed reporting” with the default GUEST username. The guest username is a default user that exists on every BO system and by default it has no password. THEREFORE, I suggest you upgrade your Crystal Reports SERVER and use the new “opendocument” feature in XI which allows you to easily access reports via a URL (as you did in your unmanaged environment).

    Hope that helps.

  11. vipin
    December 22nd, 2011 at 12:02 | #13

    Hi I am using crystal report 10.5 and we have now moved to
    64 bit platform with Visual studio 2010 , i am trying to migrate crystal report ,
    my old template to new 64 bit . i am able to some reports created as a new template but my old template
    if failing , it says
    {“Database Connector Error: ‘ [Database Vendor Code: 8114 ]’
    Error in
    File temp_288e56fe-eca4-43aa-80d7-c89724874189 {3287A6AC-9092-4805-9D3C-7B49669B4D98}.rpt
    :
    Database Connector Error”} System.Exception
    any idea about how to migrate this old 32 template to 64 bit form. i have just reopened the templates
    using latest version but not helping

    • David Taylor
      December 22nd, 2011 at 17:16 | #14

      The problem isn’t with the template, it’s with the database drivers. Your current Crystal is 32-bit but it attempting to connect to a 64-bit data connector. This isn’t possible. If Crystal is 32-bit, it can only connect to a 32-bit driver. If you are using Visual Studio 2010, you will need to upgrade to Crystal Reports for Visual Studio. This is a 64-bit version of Crystal Reports. It is available for download here: http://www.businessobjects.com/jump/xi/crvs2010/default.asp

    • David Taylor
      December 22nd, 2011 at 17:19 | #15

      There are also additional details here on SDN: http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/boc/support

  1. September 26th, 2008 at 17:48 | #1