There are many ways to deploy Crystal Reports to users. I normally lean toward the simpler and less expensive options, like locally installed viewers, or scheduled delivery of PDF output. But there are environments where a server based option is necessary. The ‘official’ options from SAP are Crystal (Reports) Server and BO Enterprise. You can read about these on the SAP website. But there are other, less expensive products out there that many users never see. These are third party products that allow you to centrally manage your report deployment from your server.
There is a page on my blog that lists and compares these products, and I update it every January. This year the list includes:
Ripplestone – a traditional Web portal
Report Runner Web Portal – a traditional Web portal
RVweb – a traditional Web portal
rePORTAL – a traditional Web portal
RV for Windows Pro – a server-based viewer
ReCrystallize Pro – a Web launch page generator.
Report Launch – a bridge between BO server products and server based applications.
The features vary and they are aimed at different types of users. The blog page mentioned above contains a brief rundown on what each product does and provides links to all of the product web sites. I have also posted a feature matrix (xls) that shows some of the specifics for comparison, including prices. If you have any feedback to share on these tools I would be happy to hear form you.