If you ever wonder, if Crystal Reports can be used on the cloud in Windows Azure, well the answer is you can.
These two links provides some guidance on this matter:
http://scn.sap.com/people/coy.yonce/blog/2011/05/02/sap-crystal-reports-and-microsoft-sql-azure (this one is in English)
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/luispanzano/archive/2011/04/11/crystal-reports-en-windows-azure.aspx (this one is in Spanish but Bing and Google Translate do a nice work here ;) )
Crystal Reports was a tool very used by VB6 developers.
Sometimes when you are migrating a VB6 applications, you find a lot of reports created with this tool.
What should you do? Should you rewrite them on another technology?
Well that really depends on project requirements, but Crystal Reports has good support for VS2010, both for 32 and 64 bit environments.
So you don't need to throw away your reports you can still use Crystal Reports.
However that hard thing to do is where to find Crystal Reports for VS. Do you need to buy some software for that?
I have found that you can download Crystal Reports for VS2010 is just that the links are a little hidden. My friend Victor send me the following information which has been very useful for this task:
a) For Deployment Environment:
1. Download the Redistributable Package for Visual Studio according to the platform (32 bits or 64 bits). And install it. You will find the installer in the following link:
2. Give access to the user executing the IIS process to the path for the Temp Folder (C:\Windows\Temp or the corresponding folder on windows installation).
3. Download the "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack", where you can find the "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client ". Download the corresponding installer according to the platform of the server (x86, x64 or IA64).
b) For Development environment:
1. Download the "Complete Package" for development on Visual Studio 2010. Please be sure that if you're on a 64 bits machine, you check the "Install 64 bits Runtime" before you click on finish when you complete the installation.
2. Be sure that the current user running on your machine has access to the Temp Folder (C:\Windows\Temp or the corresponding folder on windows installation)
3. If you don't have the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client Provider (sqlncli10), download the "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack", where you can find the "Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client ". Download the corresponding installer according to the platform of the server (x86, x64 or IA64).
4. To create a new report please be sure you use a "OLE DB (ADO)" Connection and that you're using the "SQL Server Native Client 10.0" Provider, and use the right login information. If the report was previously created with a different provider, please change it on the "Set Datasource Location", editing the Provider field.
Crystal Reports was one of the most popular reporting engines in VB6, and still holds a strong market presence with its .NET version. However, the object model in the .NET version of Crystal has changed so dramatically from the VB6 days that automating this conversion is not be cost-effective in most cases. These are the options when dealing with Crystal Reports in an application to be migrated to .NET:
- Use COM Interop: we have successfully migrated many applications with Crystal Reports through COM Interop. However, this only works when the report objects are populated using Crystal’s own querying engine (for example, sending a SQL string to Crystal so it can retrieve the data directly from the database), instead of providing an already-populated RecordSet as a data source for the report. This is because once the application is ported to .NET, its RecordSets will become ADO.NET DataSets (or Helper Classes inheriting from DataSet), which will not be compatible with the legacy version of Crystal. This can be fixed this by disabling the conversion of ADO to ADO.NET, but this is not desirable in most enterprise applications, and may compromise future maintainability and enhancements.
- Replace with Crystal .NET or another .NET-compatible reporting engine: this is also a popular option among our clients, as it removes the legacy Crystal component. On the other hand, this replacement is manual and will require adjustments to the report layout, if converting to the .NET version of Crystal, or even a rewrite of the reports if migrating to other engines.