When Business Objects rolled out XI Release 2, I wasn’t expecting them to upgrade the Crystal Report designer as well, but I was surprised. There is now a Crystal Reports XI Release 2 that you can apparently download for free. This is required if you need Visual Studio 2005 compatibility or if you need to connect to universes in BO Enterprise XI Release 2. It should not be used at ALL with BO Enterprise XI Release 1.
If you do update your Crystal Reports there are several new features and changes. If you are interested in the details you can read the documentation for the new release online. The most interesting part of this is the “What’s New” section, where you will find a handfull of interesting additions. Here are three that caught my eye:
Duplicating Field Objects – Many reports require entire sets of similar formulas, for instance the same formula may be needed for 12 different months. You can now right click a formula and select duplicate and Crystal will add another formula identical to the first but with a number on the end to distinguish it from the original. You can now edit the formula and rename it to whatever you want. This can be done with Running totals, SQL Expressions and Formulas.
Swapping Fields – Hold down your Shift key down as you drag a field from the Field Explorer and Crystal will replace an existing field with the new one. Crystal maintains the placement and formatting properties of the original field.
Conditional Widths – There is now a condition button in “Object Size and Position” which allows you to set the width of the object based on a formula.
While these are nice, I haven’t yet decided to upgrade. Part of me thinks “if it ain’t broke…” and there is also the concern that the upgrade will come with a new EULA and more restrictions.
If you decide to upgrade you should be aware of some potential problems. For instance, R2 is not compatible with BO Enterprise R1. So you should NOT upgrade if you are still using BO Enterprise R1. Also I would test it for compatibility on a separate PC. You can get errors if you try to install R2 on the same PC as R1. They don’t play nicely together.