Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Java IoT, Eclipse

Java IoT: Product Review

Reporting Solutions Using Crystal Reports for Eclipse

Modeled for ease of use, with an intuitive report design and toolset

SAP (Business Objects) has recently released Crystal Reports for Eclipse version 2.0 to provide reporting solutions for Java-based applications. This is available as free to use (within an organization) and has the advantage that it is built on the most tested and reliable component (Java Reporting Component in Crystal Reports) that has been in market for quite a few years now. This article discusses the features of CR4Ev2.0, usability of its designer and API, and starting off with an overview of Crystal Reports product architecture.

Crystal Reports - Product Overview
Crystal Reports is delivered in three editions with features added upon with each edition and its core feature diagrammatically depicted in Figure 1.

Crystal Reports Developer and Server editions have SDKs for Report Integration that aid in report viewing, printing and exporting in applications, customizable report viewers and report creation APIs. In case of Developer editions, the report processing resides within application and in Server editions it can be offloaded to a Reporting Server.

There are two sets of SDKs available for each of SAP (Business Objects) supported technology platforms (Java and .NET) and for Java these are namely:

  • Java Reporting Component (JRC): This is used to perform report processing within application.
  • Report Application Server SDK (RAS SDK): This is used to work with Report Application Server where report processing is done on the server and Java application uses RAS SDK for communication with the server.

JRC shares many classes with the RAS SDK, and the JRC-specific classes are thin wrappers around RAS classes.

CR4E vs JRC
JRC was introduced in Crystal Reports 9 and is a reliable component in Crystal Reports product. Crystal Reports have refined this component and bundled it as a separate package known as CR4E, which contains Crystal Reports for Java (CRJ) and Crystal Reports Designer components. The designer component is available as a plug-in to Eclipse and is used for designing and previewing reports. The Crystal Reports for Java component is used for the runtime generation of reports within Java applications.

RAS SDK is the client component for the RAS server-client reporting solution, where the SDK communicates with the RAS server for report processing. With the CRJ SDK, the same classes as that of RAS SDK are used but report processing requests are sent to an in-process Java Report Engine.

A great enhancement of CRJ over JRC is the introduction of RAS-type report creation and modification capabilities. With the CRJ, it's possible to programmatically modify a report on-the-fly: create new fields, introduce new data connections and tables, modify images, add lines and boxes, etc. Anything that can be done to a report using the CR4E embedded designer can also be done programmatically using CRJ as the designer uses the same SDK.

Few points in comparison between CR4E and JRC are jotted in Table 1.

Features of CR4E
Already, few features of CR4E are exposed through its comparison with the JRC above, the following makes the list complete:

  1. Ability to integrate reporting into Java-based web or desktop applications.
  2. Provides SDK that enables report creation and modification within Java code.
  3. Helps Java developer switch on to the Report designer role easily in reporting projects.
  4. POJO can also be used as a data source for reports.
  5. Accesses all major databases from within Eclipse IDE as report template data source.
  6. Supports for all major operating systems and browsers.
  7. Comes with extension SDKs to extend and enhance the default Eclipse editor.
  8. Use of Eclipse Update Manager to check and install updates automatically.

Aspects of CR4E Designer
CR4Ev2.0 is provided as a plug-in for Eclipse IDE and works for an Eclipse version greater than 3.4.1. Figure 2 captures the commonly used aspects in the designer and same is detailed further.

Layout tab: Layout tab is the designer view and has the palette with all reporting controls. The controls from palette can be dragged & dropped onto the designer area at the required position.

Preview tab: Preview tab is used to preview the report designed in layout view and the report can also be directly edited in this view. The data source for the report is changed using the ‘Set Datasource Location' menu item under ‘Crystal Reports'.

Datasource Explorer wizard: This wizard is used to create a connection profile for the datasource used in the reports. The CR4E supports relational databases, flat file, web services, XML and POJO as datasources.  Once the connection profile is created, the required objects in datasource can be dragged & dropped onto the data view (tab).

Field Explorer wizard: This wizard displays the database objects in the data pane for use in the report. Also, parameters and formulas are created using this view and then placed on to the report layout.

Usage of CR4E APIs
After creating report templates using CR4E designer, the common reporting need is to generate reports dynamically from report templates based on the parameters passed to it. This scenario is walked through below to demonstrate the use of CR4E APIs for generating reports from a standalone Java application (see Figure 3).

The use of CR4E API programmatically in each of this task is explained below:

1)      Initiate
Report processing is done by Crystal Report Java component (and not by Report Application Server) and this component is initiated as below:

ReportClientDocument boReportClientDocument = new ReportClientDocument();
boReportClientDocument.setReportAppServer (ReportClientDocument.inprocConnectionString);

2)      Load
Next task is loading the report template for report generation as below:

boReportClientDocument.open("SampleReport.rpt", OpenReportOptions._openAsReadOnly);

3)      Read

This task is a two-step process; one is to set the connection information for datasource and next is to set the values for input parameters in the report.

a)   Set connection information: In most cases, the datasource configured in report template during report design will not be the same one used by the report generation application. So, the datasource connection information for the report template needs to be replaced thro' the following lines of code:

dbController.replaceConnection(oldConnectionInfo, newConnectionInfo, pFields, replaceParams);

dbController - DatabaseController object that is retrieved from ReportClientDocument object for managing database connections

oldConnectionInfo - ConnectionInfo object that is retrieved from  DatabaseController object and contains details of existing datasource such as database URL, Server Type, username, password etc.

newConnectionInfo - New ConnectionInfo object that is constructed to replace oldConnectionInfo object

b)   Set input parameters: Data displayed on the report is restricted based on the parameter values supplied to the report, same is programmatically done below:

ParameterFieldController parameterFieldController =
boReportClientDocument.getDataDefController().getParameterFieldController();
parameterFieldController.setCurrentValue("","a","123");

4)   Export
The final step is to export the generated report in required format as in lines of code below:

PrintOutputController printOutputController =
boReportClientDocument.getPrintOutputController();
ByteArrayInputStream byteIS =    (ByteArrayInputStream) printOutputController.export(ReportExportFormat.PDF);

The report stream can be written to a file etc. as needed.

An important point to note during development using CR4E is that it contains both JRC and CRJ APIs and both the APIs have most classes with same name so import statement is critical in determining which APIs are used.  To use CRJ, import classes under package name:

com.crystaldecisions.sdk.occa.report.application and for JRC, package name is com.crystaldecisions.reports.sdk

Conclusion
The design and development of reporting solution using CR4E is done using the designer plug-in for Eclipse and Crystal Reports for Java components that are enhanced from reliable Java Reporting Component of Crystal Reports. Modeled with ease of use, intuitive report design and toolset, simple licensing and support from SAP (Business Objects) helps CR4E to be considered as a reporting solution for Java projects.

Reference

More Stories By Ravi M

M.Ravi is a Senior Technical Architect, specialized in providing architecture and design solutions on broad of spectrum of areas such as JEE, SOA, ESB, BI, CRM & SAS.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
dhamikd 03/14/10 10:12:00 AM EDT

Very much useful writing and very much explanative, where I was confused with JRC and Crystal Report for JAVA. Also the steps you have mentioned for loading and exporting a report was very much useful for me. Other than SAP site, Im seeing another useful write up. If possible, could you please clarify my doubt?
I want to load a report that was designed by Crystal Designer v10 and data source is Access / Excel (DAO) where ms access database has been used. Now I want to load the same report, but data source should be POJO. Could you please guide me how can i go for this. thanks.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...