A Crystal Report Writer must have not only the technical knowledge of how to create a custom Crystal report, but they must have the business and communication skills to gather the proper requirements.
The first thing a Crystal Report Writer must do is to gather the report requirements from the end user. Mockups, screen shots, parameter specifications etc., are very helpful. A general understanding of what information and questions the report answers for the end user is a must.
Next, the technical work begins. Crystal Developer is the application that Crystal reports are produced in. The file is a .rpt file. After this file is produced, you can view the report on your local machine; however, what if you want others to view the report? You must have a place to publish the report to for others to view it (unless you just send them a .pdf or the .rpt file for them to view in their copy of Crystal Developer). Normally, Crystal is embedded in an application, so you just publish it to that particular app. There is also Crystal Enterprise which provides a web portal to publish your reports too, but this software costs extra. SQL Server Reporting Services is an alternative that comes with SQL Server a no additional cost.
Within Crystal, you have to create a dataset that must connect to a datasource (such as SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, ..etc). After you are connected, then you can pull in your tables so that you can write logic against them to produce a proper report dataset. If you bring in more than one table, you have to “link” or join the tables together properly. Crystal will try to do this for you, but it is not always correct.
Now that you have your dataset, you can begin writing Crystal syntax for formulas, formatting etc., for you report. Reporting Guru recommends that you put as much logic as possible down at the database level. This allows you to reuse logic on different Crystal reports or different report engines such as SQL Server Reporting Services. You can arrange the columns as needed on the report palette or use Crystal objects such as crosstabs.
Now that the report is complete (rpt file), you must publish to a location. As previously stated, you must have a custom application or Crystal Enterprise to publish the report to.
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