Dealing with Crystal Reports

13. September 2011 03:43 by jpena in General  //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (0)

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.