Appendix A. Reporting on Crystal Reports

In This Appendix

  • Getting a clear look at Crystal Reports

  • Comparing Crystal Reports and WebI

In case you missed it, the title of this book is BusinessObjects XI Release 2 For Dummies. (Hey, we’re just staying focused here.) However, BusinessObjects XI is not the only query-and-reporting tool on the market — and not even the only such tool that Business Objects offers. And thereby hangs a tale: Back in December 2003, Business Objects acquired Canadian company Crystal Decisions, and with that acquisition, the company added Crystal Reports to its range of business-intelligence software.

This appendix provides a brief overview of Crystal Reports, especially with regard to how the software compares to and complements Web Intelligence. For a more detailed guide to the workings of Crystal Reports, we recommend Crystal Reports 2008 For Dummies, by Allen Taylor, also published by Wiley.

What Is Crystal Reports?

Crystal Reports is a software tool that allows users to obtain rows and columns of data from compatible data sources — including most common databases, spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel, XML files, and even text files — and then arrange and format that data in the manner most appropriate to creating a report.

Sound familiar?

The people who build Crystal Reports reports (is there an echo in here?) are called report designers. These stalwarts share the fruits of their labor with others, who can then look at the finished result using a range of report-viewing ...

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