Crystal Decisions Refines Reporting Tool

Tool adds new Java support and integration capabilities.

Crystal Decisions on Monday released the latest version of its reporting tool, Crystal Reports, adding new Java support and integration capabilities.

This version, Crystal Reports 9, is designed to take the application to a wider market, according to company officials in Palo Alto, Calif.

Developers will now be able to integrate reporting capabilities from Crystal Reports into Java applications—support that previously existed only for .Net and COM apps.

Using the new Report Application Server technology in this version, developers can also integrate reporting into Web applications so that users can modify reports at runtime without increasing system overhead.

Report content can also be integrated into workflow applications for access through wireless devices, portals and MS Word documents.

Developers can also share and reuse report components across multiple reports. Integration with Crystal Decisions enterprise class information delivery platform, Crystal Enterprise, has also been improved in this version, officials said.

Jodie Heflin, a consultant at Lucrum Inc., whos working on an information delivery project at Cinergy Corps Cinergy Services business unit in Cincinnati, has been using version 9 in beta for the past two months.

Cinergy uses Crystal Reports for financial reporting at its generation plants. The reports show whether its more profitable to generate more electricity or buy power from suppliers.

Heflin said she likes the new cross-tabs capability, which allows data to be displayed horizontally, as well as vertically. "It makes the report look more like a spreadsheet instead of just having all the values displayed vertically," she said.

Heflin also praised version 9s OLAP capabilities as more "robust" and said the new version handles "parent-child relationships" between data sets better, making it easier to keep track of where data originated.

Crystal Reports 9 is available now in four editions. Pricing starts at $195 for the Standard Edition. Professional Edition is $495, Developers Edition is $595 and Advanced Edition is $1,995.